Pope Francis the 1st has been in office for a couple of weeks now and a lot of people point to the things that he’s doing differently than Pope Benedict as a sign that he’s not your father’s Pope. Of course, as I talked about on The Bitchspot Report podcast a while back, that doesn’t prove he’s actually any better, just that he’s a bit different, just like Benedict was different than John Paul II. I made the point that if he wants to be actually better, he needs to turn over all records of pedophile priests to the authorities and change the religious systems that encourage these actions, such as priests being able to marry.
However, where Benedict had a lot of intimate contact with the seamy underbelly of the Catholic Church, where he had a record of covering up sex abuse scandals and it was pretty clear what his intentions would be before he put on the funny hat, Francis’ record is much more understated. He isn’t a Ratzinger or a Dolan or a Mahony or a Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, but is he the right guy for the job that needs to be done?
Judging by his record, I think we all need to be skeptical.
If we look back at his behavior before he became Pope, when he was a Cardinal in Buenos Aires, he had pedophile priests under his watch, just like pretty much all Cardinals and Bishops do, and as is a very common story, he paid them very little mind. Certainly, he never showed any emphasis on taking care of the victims of priestly abuse, there are records showing he refused to meet with children and their families victimized by pedophile priests, he would not offer personal apologies to the victims and he refused to provide financial compensation to the victims, even in cases where the priests were convicted and jailed for their crimes.
Take, for example, the case of Father Julio Cesar Grassi, a Buenos Aires priest who was under the direct control of Cardinal Bergoglio. Grassi was convicted of having molested three young boys in 2009, but he remains free pending an appeal and currently lives near the Felices los Niños children’s charity that he founded. Grassi and Bergoglio were close friends and there is some question as to how much Bergoglio knew about his friend’s predilections and extra-curricular activities, although there is no direct evidence to suggest he was aware of the molestations and chose to overlook them. However, as with other cases, Cardinal Bergoglio refused to have anything to do with the victims, refused to provide compensation or even sympathy. You’d think that in a case where he was good friends with the molester, he might feel some personal obligation to just say he was sorry to the families, but no, he remained totally stone-faced toward them, he would acknowledge no responsibility of the church to care for the victims, or even to admit that the priests, employees of the church. were responsible.
So no, I don’t think we can place our trust in Pope Francis to do what needs to be done to turn the Catholic Church around. He will, as his predecessor before him, simply continue to pretend there is nothing wrong, hide pedophile priests and hemorrhage huge amounts of money while pointing his fingers at the gays or at the atheists or at the “cafeteria Catholics” and ignoring his own part in the problem.
I guess we can expect no better from “the whore of Babylon”.