Sexual abuse PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 September 2018 12:16

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

 

San Jose, CA. — I am, like most Ateneans, a practicing Catholic. And I’ll die being one. The Catholic church is under grave scrutiny, not for its riches but because some of its priests (a little over one percent) are, or have been, sexually abusing some of their parishioners — an indisputable fact. (Exhibit one: El Presidente.)

Pope Francis, like all Holy Fathers before him who wore the pontifical robes, is a man of God — as all priests are supposed to be regardless of order or society. However, for as long as man is man, he will always be imperfect.

It is said that in 2015, Pope Francis received a letter from a Chilean man, Juan Carlos Cruz, chronicling how a priest sexually abused him, and how other priests concealed the sin — one of them Fr. Juan Barros, a priest who was appointed by the pope as bishop of Osborne, Chile.

I am taking the liberty of reprinting hereunder excerpts of an article written by Christopher J. Hale, a political strategist who helped lead Catholic outreach for President Obama and the co-founder of the Catholic blog Millennial published in TIME magazine in its February 19, 2018 edition.

“Francis’ surprise 2013 election (as pope) came on the heels of a four-minute speech he gave before the conclave in which he decried the church’s vanity: ‘When the church is self-referential, inadvertently, she believes she has her own light.’ Francis called this the ‘worst evil’ that could befall the church, and his ascendance served as a rebuke of that self-regard. He was expected to reform the church. In great many ways, he has — from a new focus on the environment and poverty to an emphasis on simplicity and sobriety among the clergy...

“But all that progress is for naught if Francis doesn’t finally address the sexual abuse scandal head-on. His legacy is at stake — and more important, so is the viability of the Catholic Church itself and its gospel mission. A church that systematically covers up the abuse of children by its ministers is a church without a future...

“In the Gospel, Jesus tells us God’s worst punishment is reserved for those who would harm children. In the Catholic tradition, the Pope is the vicar of Jesus Christ: he acts and ministers in Christ’s name. If that is truly the case, then Francis must end this scandal now...”

Incidentally, it was reported yesterday that Pope Francis will convene all the presidents of the Catholic Bishops Conference all over the world to a meeting in February, next year, to address the problem that has been disturbing not only the church but the parishioners as well.