Pope Francis – not so Silent
Over two thousand words was spoken by Pope Francis on August 20th on the sex abuse crisis, five days before Vigano released his letter. Apparently, the Pope’s two thousand words now count for “silence” among his many critics.
In this long letter, he calls upon the laity in words that echo the late Fulton J Sheen to help save the church. He leaves vague how this will be done, but mentions ‘condemning and combatting’ perhaps remembering how the laity rose up against corrupt prelates in Chile and marched, chanted, made signs, and stormed churches in protest of evil clerics.
He asks of us to encourage our own solidarity with the victims via prayer and fasting. For those who don’t think this is necessary, it still is. I have that among among critics of Pope Francis- they often ignore stories of the victims in order to focus on their anti-papal message virtually alone. Therefore don’t have solidarity with the victims but more with their culture war where they (often Americans) feel that the Pope threatens their standing with conservative American culture. They see this more as a temporary shift in the war of conservatives versus liberals rather than what it is- them abandoning the stories of the victims because it makes their ‘American’ side look bad. Why would they do this? Well in order to justify an eventual schism against the Pope they will need to put all of the blame on the Pope and the Vatican and try to deflect as much attention as possible from the wrongdoing, pederasty, and cover-ups among their own American hierarchy that would lead them after either a soft or hard schism. This putting politics over people is why they need to pray and fast more- in order to have actual solidarity with the victims instead of only using them as an occasional political chip to employ in their continual criticism of his papacy.
He called upon us to courageously to join forces to combat these atrocities and said no longer should it be left up to clerics to decide how to respond to sex abuse. This combatting could take the form of secular justice but it may also necessitate the laity rising up against priests, rectors, bishops, and cardinals who were part of the coverup and being willing to hold up signs and to loudly condemn them in a form of activism. He is not calling for peace or a coverup anymore, he has encouraged the sort of public action which will turn bishop against bishop and cardinal against cardinal as the forces of the laity is unleashed.
The Papacy during the decades of this crisis has been at the far tail end, only hearing the stories their bishops have told them and only exercising the authority over their bishops that the bishops allow. The Pope rather than like being a powerful CEO who can fire whole departments isanmore like a isolated prisoner of the Vatican whose ability to pursue justice and protect victims is limited by an increasing desire of autonomy and de-facto schism among many national groups of Bishops.
He also apparently wants to bring lay authority into the church to help combat the sex abuse crisis and called for ‘active participation of all of the church’s members’ – no longer should bishops be able to cover it up but we would have lay people looking over their shoulder. Breaking with the customary slap on the hand for priestly wrongdoing, he called for everyone to be ‘supporting all of the judicial measures that may be necessary.’ This would be a radical ‘reform’ of the church to give laity a form of judicial power in the church- its potential for future abuse as well as co-opting by masonry is quite obvious just as obvious that it is necessary to try to give the laity more authority because ‘leaving it up to the clerics to fix’ is an obvious historic failure.
And finally he seems critique to those who think they can oppose the sex abuse crisis just by opposing the Pope and a handful of bishops, he chastises them saying ‘Solidarity demands that we in turn condemn’ – telling those that if they are truly in this to combat sex abuse then they need to be condemning the cases as they arise instead of ignoring them in their own Don Quixote like fixation to “fix” the church by having the Pope resign.
You can read the full length Letter to the People of God Here.