When Pope Francis takes up liberal causes, media outlets generate a lot of clicks from the spectacle. While it’s good to have the head of the Catholic Church saying progressive things about immigration, climate change, and LGBT people (although he has some work to do in that arena), the “liberal” pope can’t seem to get that outraged when it comes to pedophile priests.
Late this August, the State Department got a chilly response from the Holy See when it asked that diplomatic immunity be lifted for an unnamed priest so he could be charged with possessing child pornography. Sure enough, the “high ranking” priest was scuttled to Rome where he resides behind Vatican walls, safe from prosecution by a non-Vatican court.
“The Holy See, following the practice of sovereign states, recalled the priest in question, who is currently in Vatican City,” said a statement issued by the Vatican press office this Friday. “Having received such information from the United States government, the Secretariat of State transmitted this information to the Promoter of Justice of the Vatican Tribunal. The Promoter of Justice opened an investigation and has already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case. It should be noted that, as provided by the laws in force applicable to all preliminary inquiries, the investigations carried by the Promoter of Justice are subject to investigative confidentiality.”
The Pope has spoken tough when it comes to pedophile priests in the past, but there’s been little action.
From The Daily Beast:
The Vatican has shown a remarkable capacity for opacity when it comes to the sinister crimes of clerical child sex abuse. Granted, this priest is not known to be accused of directly abusing children. But if he is in possession of child pornography, as the United States alleges, he might as well be, since child pornography is almost always filmed under horrific circumstances.
The whisking away of problem priests is nothing new. In 2015 when Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic Josef Wesolowski was accused of sexually abusing boys, he was allowed to hole up in Rome to avoid charges from a secular court. He later died before having any chance to face a special Vatican trial.
Pope Francis is getting increasing scrutiny over the protection of pedophile priests. This March, a sex abuse survivor published a scathing open letter in a widely read Catholic newspaper, saying a “lack of resources, inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance” is perpetuating the lack of accountability.
In other headlines, Francis has been laying it down hard in President Trump, saying the threat to reverse DACA goes against the “pro-life” bona fides the President now claims to have. But more and more people are beginning to wonder if “life” has the same meaning when it comes to children victimized by the priests they trusted.
Featured image via Flickr