Opinion & Analysis
Letter from Rome8:59 PM, March 25, 2019
Vatican City:As the abuse crisis deepens, Pope Francis sets his face like flint.
Pope Francis is now in his seventh year as Bishop of Rome and chief pastor of the Universal Church. His pontificate, which began in March 2013 with such promise and hope, now seems to have been struck a mortal blow by an institutional crisis that looks to be spiraling out of control.
While there are still too many men in the Catholic hierarchy who continue to put their heads in the sand, it can no longer be denied that the phenomenon of clerical sex abuse (and its cover-up) is global in scope.
The organizers of last month's abuse "summit" at the Vatican made it their primary goal to convince all the world's bishops of this fact.
But let's be honest, is it really possible that prelates from Africa and Asia (and even Italy!) — where the abuse crisis continues to be downplayed or ignored — could be persuaded in the course of only four days of something that it took decades to drill into the heads of their confreres in places like the United States, Germany, Australia and Ireland?
In the dizzying and fast-paced age of social media and instant communication, we learn each day that yet more priests and bishops — in every part of the world and none excluded — are being accused of sexual, spiritual or psychological abuse against a child, an adolescent, a religious sister, a seminarian or another vulnerable person.
And we see that in almost every case, the immediate instinct of the hierarchy is to cover-up the abuse — the abuse of clerical power.
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