The New York Times published a story that’s emblematic of the Catholic Church’s resistance to dealing with abuses within its ranks, and the complicity of high-ranking officials all the way to the pope himself.
The story involves a man by the name of Juan Carlos Cruz who was abused by a priest in Chile. His attacker was Fernando Karadima. The crime occurred several decades ago.
Mr. Cruz documented his accusations against Karadima in a letter addressed to Pope Francis in 2015. He explicitly detailed his experiences and said that a bishop named Juan Barros Madrid, “witnessed” the affair and covered it up. Supposedly one of the pope’s top advisors delivered the letter directly to the pontiff.
Catholics around the world believe the pope should aggressively address despicable acts perpetrated by members of the priesthood that could span over hundreds of years. Like his predecessors the pope has chosen to sweep accusations under the rug and divert critics by addressing other temporal issues in an effort to “protect” the Church.
The current global revolution that is exposing abuse by men has now engulfed the Church. Chileans are outraged not only by the abuse of Mr. Cruz but also by the bishop who protected the abuser for many years. The pope has publically expressed his support of Barros to the dismay of his follower.
The Church’s sex scandal has become far greater than anyone had imagined it would, and dwarfs the imbroglios that are plaguing the US. It’s possible that members of the clergy have abused thousands of young boys over the years. And yet the Church continues to downplay the massive scandal. Most disappointing is the ambivalence of Francis relating to this situation.
It’s useful to compare other cases of abuse to the Chilean crimes. For years Harvey Weinstein molested young women and was in effect protected by his Hollywood associates. Weinstein threatened anyone who might possibly expose him. Those people who covered up this man’s disgraceful behavior are now suffering the consequences of doing so. In fact even women who were abused have expressed regret that they did not step up earlier to protect those that were ravaged after them.
Another comparable episode to the Chilean ordeal occurred at Penn State University. A man affiliated with the football team preyed upon young boys for a long while. Coach Paterno and Penn State officials covered up the scandal. They and the institution have paid a dear price for turning a blind eye to this criminality.
The fact is priests were, and may still be, molesting young boys. The Church has historically identified these perverts, counseled them and then reinstated them where they again practiced their dirty deeds.
The individuals that protected these criminals, including pastors, bishops, cardinals and popes are culpable and should be prosecuted. They enabled known molesters to attack innocent children once again, or twice again, or more.
Francis indicated that he would deal with this blight on the Catholic Church. He has not and is doing everything possible to once again “protect” the Church.
Only when every molester, abuser, rapist and pervert is named, defrocked and prosecuted will the Church find redemption. Francis is doing a disservice by continuing to ignore the sins of his fellow holy men.