It is no secret that the Roman Catholic Church has a history of protecting clergy who abuse minors. From priests getting shuffled to and from various parishes to avoid prosecution, to Vatican City granting them asylum, the Church as an organization has gone out of its way to protect abusers and endanger congregants.
For a while, though, things seemed like they were slowly, excuse me, very slowly, moving in the right direction. Lawsuits have been brought before the church and the intensifying spotlight on the seemingly endless scandals brought hope to some that progress could be made to protect future children from the abuse we have seen in the past. This article from late 2015 shows that in 65 years the Catholic Church in the U.S. alone paid a whopping $4 BILLION in costs related to priest sex abuse scandals.
But it would seem once again that progress is not achieved as easily as we had hoped. And that brings us to the pope.
Pope Francis: he is a darling progressive pope to some, but I would say that, just as an example, his continued stance against contraception use to combat the HIV-epidemic in Africa is one of the many reasons why I think his “progressive” status is not truly earned. He picks and chooses when to be just progressive enough, especially to us here in the west.
He has once again shown his true colors as a representative of the corrupt church organization that he leads. He has recently lessened the penalties on many priests who have raped children. He has done this with “emphasis on mercy,” according to one church official. One of the cases that is being cited most right now is the instance of Reverend Mauro Inzoli, who was sentenced to be defrocked for his conviction in an Italian court of multiple sex crimes against children as young as 12.
Rather than remove this man from the church, Pope Francis’ merciful sentence is that this priest, as well as others who have committed similar crimes against children, endure a lifetime of penance and prayer.
These men have repeatedly raped and molested children, some of them dozens of children, and their punishment is to say prayers? They were already supposed to be doing that, were they not? They are priests, after all. Reciting prayers should be a bullet point on the resumé.
And now today, the Washington Post is covering here the story of Marie Collins, an Irish woman who was sexually abused by clergy. She was sitting on a Vatican panel that was to advise Pope Francis on how to protect minors in the church from sexual abuse. She has quit the panel because of what she described as "Vatican stonewalling". Her sentiment here is all I think we need to sum it all up, "I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope." That is tragic and completely unacceptable.
This kind of protection and “mercy” that is showed again and again to these clergymen who commit some of the most heinous crimes imaginable against children is one more reminder why the church is an outdated institution that needs to be abandoned for the betterment of people in general. How many children must have been abused in the years before the church had to answer for its crimes? And even now, in the 21st century, we still must fight tooth and nail to shine a light on these criminals.
We must do better.