The crisis over clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has continued to unfold. The past couple of weeks have consisted of constant reports exposing the church’s negligence in dealing with the sexual assault allegations that have been made against priests. Pope Francis visited Ireland this past weekend and made numerous apologies for the abuses that happened and the church’s poor handling of it. By now it appears that there have been allegations claiming that Pope Francis knew all along.
Former top Vatican, Carlo Maria Viganò published a letter on Sunday claiming that the pope had worked alongside Vatican officials in efforts to cover up the church’s abuses. He wrote that the pope knew about all the abuse former cardinal of Washington, Theodore McCormick had participated in for years, and had been covering it up all this time. He called on Pope Francis to resign along with the rest of the “cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses.”
Pope Francis refuses to comment on Viganò’s letter though. But as a result of the letter, there’s been a lack of trust among both Vatican’s and Catholic Church members towards the pope who many believe mishandled the sexual abuse allegations that have been happening in the church for years. Many suspect that this has now impacted his credibility in the matter.
The pope’s effort to win back the Irish Catholics trust is in large part do the fact that a lot of these allegations have come out of Ireland. Whether Pope Francis is actually guilty of knowing and covering McCarrick’s abuses we still don’t know. But many found his response defensive and others find it suspicious that he didn’t actually deny it.
“I will not say a single word about this,” he told reporters. “I believe the statement speaks for itself. And you have sufficient journalistic ability to make your conclusions. It’s an act of trust.”
In July, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCormick, after the allegations that he had sexually abused adult seminarians and minors for years was announced. He sentenced him to a “life of prayer and penance.”
While the pope has made certain steps towards social justice such as reaching out and welcoming the LGBTQ community and defending women who have had abortions, he has spoken out enough and done enough about the clergy abuses crisis. In fact, many sex-abuse victims who initially supported him have expressed their disappointment in that.
How Pope Francis chooses to handle the sexual-abuse crisis moving forward will not only impact how the Catholic Church deals with it, but will also greatly impact his reputation and the trust or lack of trust faithful Catholics will have towards him from this day on.