The Pope’s Performance Is Deplorable

Pope Francis has once again proven he is not going to be a proponent of change in the Catholic Church. Consider the following quote from the New York Times: “The Vatican on Monday flatly rejected what it cast as the notion that individuals can choose their gender . . .”

The Church has officially dashed the L.G.B.T. community by declaring, “acceptance of flexible ideas of gender pose[s] a threat to traditional families and ignore[s] the natural differences between men and women.”

Francis is digging in his heels every time he makes a new announcement about non-traditional life styles and age-old unproductive dogma. His promise to be more “tolerant” has not been kept. His supposed crusade to lead the Church out of the dark ages has not commenced. His commitment to clean up the horrible and disgraceful actions of his priesthood has fallen flat. The only thing the leader of the Catholic Church has proven is that he is cut out of the same cloth as his predecessors, and his only concern is the reputation of the Catholic Church.

Perhaps the pontiff is getting bad advice from his advisers and colleagues about what his flock expects of him, or maybe he really is a conservative who has no intention of cleaning up the missteps and sins of his fellow priests. In order to get the pope back into the good graces of his followers he needs to aggressively change many perspectives of the Church. The following are a few obvious examples.

The genie is out of the bottle relating to sexual abuse. Thousands of young boys have been raped and abused over the past century. Many lives have been destroyed. Who knows how widespread this behavior has been since the Church was founded over 2,000 years ago? Additionally, it has become public that even female worshippers and nuns have been the subjects of attacks along with young priests by older priests.

Every one of these accusations needs to be investigated and guilty priests must be defrocked immediately. When possible these criminals should be turned over to civil authorities for appropriate punishment.

The Vatican should form investigative groups around the world that can work on this project full time. Emphasis must be placed on exposing the abusers who are still living, rather than chasing ghosts. This process would surely be a great embarrassment to the Church and take many years to conclude. It is only then that the individuals that were abused will be able to find some closure in their lives.

Related to these crimes are those affiliated to Church leaders who protected sexual criminals. They are equally culpable with the abusers themselves and should be sanctioned similarly. This group will likely include pastors of small parishes as well as bishops, cardinals and even popes. Enablers are guilty of sexual abuse by allowing known offenders to run rampant among innocent churchgoers.

The Church needs to change its holier than thou arrogance and update its tenets. The list of changes that needs to be made is extensive.

Birth control is a perfect issue that demonstrates how antiquated the Church is, and how it does not address the needs of a changing world. To begin birth control is not a sin. Practitioners of it will not be sentenced to eternal damnation. It is a necessary, healthy and effective way to stop bringing unwanted children into the world. Moreover, it’s a critical method in lesser-developed countries to combat excessive population growth, starvation, poverty and disease. Many Catholics in impoverished areas do not practice birth control because their priests have taught them that it is a sin.

Abortion is an essential element of a woman’s basic right to care for her body. Policies (legally and spiritually) that allow aborting fetuses, before they are viable, are a perfect way to end the unproductive abortion controversy. The Church should lead this effort, especially since half its members are women. It’s barbaric to say it is a mortal sin to control the size of one’s family.

The number of gays and lesbians coming out seems to be increasing at frenzied pace. The right to choose one’s sexual preference is not in the domain of Church. There is no conceivable damage to society when two loving people of the same sex want to share a life together. The Church’s dogma on this issue is not empathetic and creates turmoil. The pope’s dismissive attitude towards this group of people is shameful.

It is becoming more obvious every day that many individuals are struggling with their sexuality. They feel they don’t fit into society because neither of the current sexual categories (man or woman) accurately represents their perspectives. The pope’s callous response to people sorting out their sexuality is truly unfortunate and ignorant.

And finally the Church has taken advantage of its status over the centuries to accumulate hundreds of billions of dollars. It has the gall to continue to solicit poor parishioners for more contributions. Just like well-endowed universities and colleges, the Church should begin a program to liquefy holdings and return the proceeds to its needy members around the world.

The Catholic Church is at a crossroads. It will either become a relic of the past or regain its influence. This will be dependent upon how priests interface with parishioners. It will also depend upon resetting antiquated ideas and reconsidering the definition of sin.


The Pope Should Deal With His Own Issues

During a visit to Monaco Pope Francis had some choice words for President Trump and his efforts to build a wall to put a stop to illegal immigration into the US. The pope must think a good offense is the best defense even as he attempts to quell the response to widespread sexual abuse within his Church.

Francis has become a man of platitudes, and not so much action. For instance, “[he] warned on Sunday that those who close borders ‘will become prisoners of the walls they build.’” In 2016 the pontiff suggested, “Mr. Trump ‘was not Christian’ for his belief in building walls, rather than bridges . . .”

It’s outrageous that the pope suggested that Trump’s legitimate actions to protect the US are un-Christian while his entire priesthood is under indictment for sexual predatory acts against children, nuns and priests. And his hierarchy has systematically worked to shield abuses, and those that cover them up for the “good of the Church.”

According to the UN Refugee Agency there are 68.5 million displaced people in the world including 25.4 million refugees. These numbers don’t account for those who are attacked for their religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. There are countless places throughout the world that put people in danger. Unfortunately there are not enough destinations available to provide sanctuary for these people.

Illegal immigration has skyrocketed in recent years. Estimates indicate that the US has experienced a wave of illegals that is at least 15 million people or about 5% of the total population of the country. These interlopers are looking for asylum and/or a better life, and seemingly, will do anything to escape dangerous and unpleasant living conditions in their homeland.

The problem is not less in other places throughout the world. Europe, another prime destination for displaced individuals, has encountered serious immigration issues. Even if governments are willing to accept a certain number of refugees, indigenous people are often times unwilling to accept the impact of increased immigration that could lead to a loss of jobs, draining of financial and social resources of the host country, the establishment of ghettos, a disruption in the political balance and an increase in violent activity.

The US is by no means the only country that is struggling with the humanitarian and political implications of illegal immigration. But, do wealthier nations have a moral obligation to assist those seeking sanctuary and a more conducive living environment?

Of course there is an obligation, but it’s not open ended. In the US the government has turned a blind eye to wave after wave of illegals that have overwhelmed our country. They are needy, hungry, must be sheltered and require medical assistance, all of which they can’t pay for. The result is that taxpayers must pony up money to subsidize illegals.

This use of resources has put a great strain on many border communities and beyond. Our cities barely have the financial wherewithal to repair infrastructure and to take care of our homeless. Now a new group needs support. It’s a daunting problem that requires great patience, foresight, determination and courage to say no at some point.

Illegals should not be allowed to jeopardize the tranquility of US citizens. And, the US has needs that are not being met because more and more tax money is being diverted to interlopers.

This growing problem in the US and around the world is not something that will go away. And to have pontiffs flinging insults, even while they are under duress, does not make the situation easier to deal with.

The pope often speaks about income and wealth inequality while it hoards billions, and perhaps trillions of dollars, of real estate and art treasures. The church should tend to its own problems and let the rest of the world deal with their issues.

Did Pope Francis Protect A Priest Who Abused Young Boys?

Pope Francis is under fire. He’s been accused of covering up aberrant sexual behavior of a high ranking member of the Catholic Church even after the priest was sanctioned by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict. The accusation comes from another priest who is an opponent of the pope. Some are questioning the intentions of the accuser.

Since he became pontiff, Francis has assured his worldwide flock that sins of priests perpetrated against children would be reckoned with. But what does this mean? In most developed countries sexual abusers are ostracized on the spot and stripped of their positions, if not prosecuted.

Apparently Francis’ plan is to ask for forgiveness and play down the increasing number of crimes that are being reported. But now, in the light of the aforementioned accusation, the pope’s plan may not pan out. The sexual abuse revolution throughout the world has begun to embrace the young boys who were abused by clerics for centuries. And, long-time Catholics want more than lip service.

Crimes against women are despicable, and brave women are identifying offenders every day. The objective is not money or fame. Rather these women want their sisters to know what they experienced years and even decades earlier, and to ensure that abuses end immediately.

In the case of the Church, pedophilia has been running rampant as more and more boys/men are coming forward to tell their horror stories. What makes actual abuse so gut wrenching is that supposed “men of God” used their positions and spiritual influence to obtain sexual favors.

And so the question now being asked is how could the Church allow known predators to continue to be priests while they were raping young boys? Why would Catholic pastors, bishops, cardinals and maybe even popes transfer pedophiles to new locations where they could continue to sate their warped libidos?

Pope Francis has said, or at least strongly suggested, he will deal with this scandal. Perhaps he misjudged the scope of the problem, or maybe he believes the reputation of the Church is more important than admonishing evildoers under his employ.

Francis’ plan, directly and implicitly, refers to the priests who covered up the abuses and moved offenders to different locations. From his latest comments the pope seems to think that this group should be forgiven and receive another chance. This follows because allegations indicate he may be part of the problem.

The dilemma is that Francis cannot bring to task the priests that relocated offenders if he also did the same thing. Forgiveness and “letting bygones be bygones” will not be acceptable in the current environment. The Church will need to do much more to end this multi-century crime wave.

If Francis covered up an offense, and an abuser was relocated and committed similar crimes, the pope is culpable. What would ensue is anyone’s guess, but, for sure, Francis’ administration will be under severe distress and many will call for his resignation.

Francis is charming and many people lauded his ascension. My question is what has he done differently than previous popes? Is he just an extension of the past and antiquated dogma and tradition, or a real reformer? We may never know because now Francis is part of a scandal investigation.