Pope Francis has indicated that one goal of his pontificate is getting tough with clerics who shield sex abusers. While in Philadelphia he said: “The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors cannot be kept secret any longer. I commit myself to the zealous watchfulness of the church to protect minors, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.” That promise apparently had a short shelf life:
Cardinal Godfried Danneels, former Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium, has already angered conservatives by calling for the Catholic Church to recognise a “sort of marriage” for gay couples and praising secular governments for introducing civil unions for same-sex couples.
Critics are now also pointing to a scandal in 2010, when Cardinal Danneels tried to cover up a sex abuse case involving a fellow bishop. An audio recording leaked to the Belgian media revealed the cardinal urging the victim not to reveal that his abuser was his uncle Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop of Bruges.
Cardinal Danneels asked the victim if he would wait until Bishop Vangheluwe retired before going public, and even told him to “ask forgiveness” and “acknowledge your own guilt”. The victim responds: “Whose forgiveness do I have to seek? I am not the one to ask for forgiveness.”
When the victim said he would not wait until Bishop Vangheluwe retired and demanded that the cardinal should inform Pope Benedict XVI at once, Cardinal Danneels accused him of trying to “blackmail” them.
The press soon got hold of the recording and Bishop Vangheluwe was forced to resign in disgrace, with Cardinal Danneels’s name also dragged through the mud. He claimed he had been “improvising” during the conversation and was merely trying to resolve a dispute within the bishop’s family.
However, despite the cover-up scandal and Cardinal Danneels’s controversial views, Pope Francis has personally invited him to attend the Synod on the Family.
Go here to read the rest. Then we have the case of Bishop Barros in Chile:
“The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” Pope Francis told a group of tourists on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, because it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof.”
The video, filmed by an Argentine tourist in May, was obtained by a Chilean television station and broadcast Friday, quickly instilling doubts here about the pope’s commitment to protecting victims of sexual abuse.
Bishop Barros was appointed by the pope to head the Diocese of Osorno this year, despite reports that he had covered up sexual abuses committed by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a prominent priest in Santiago, the capital.
Go here to read the rest. It would appear that the Pope has one standard for clerics he wishes to get rid of who have allegations of turning a blind eye to sex abuse and another for clerics he has use of.