On Allegations Against the Pope

The scandals of the Catholic Church continue to unfold, and they have now come to the Vatican itself.

The past two months have seen a harsh light unveiling more and more corruption within the Church. Even as many struggle to grasp the scope of abuse in Pennsylvania, new investigations are beginning in Saint Louis. Other states may be next, including Minnesota (which has already seen major scandals in two diocese). An author at America reminds readers that as horrific as the clerical abuse scandals are, there is likely a larger abuse scandal looming in Catholic homes. Bishops continue to claim that abuse is in the past, willfully ignoring survivors and family members still struggling in the present. The Faithful, kept in the dark and put in danger by their shepherds, are confronting a legacy of violence and facing the difficult decision of whether or not to leave the Church. Brother Casey Cole, a Franciscan deacon approaching his priestly ordination, has voiced his own struggle to comprehend the myriad sins of the Church he loves so much, going so far as to tell his audience that he understands if they want to leave.

Meanwhile, the Pope landed in Ireland, a majority-Catholic country plagued by decades of abuse of all stripes. The Irish Prime Minister gave voice to this long litany: the Church ran laundries where young women were abused by nuns. Church authorities ripped infants from their mothers’ arms. The Pope himself called them crimes.

But, to quote an old trope, then it got worse.

Late Saturday night, former nuncio to the US published a letter alleging that both Benedict XVI and Francis were aware of allegations against former-Cardinal McCarrick. Appearing first in the fundamentalist-leaning US Catholic media, the story was picked up more broadly Sunday morning.

And to be honest, this news broke me a little. Even after the paralyzing scope of Pennsylvania.

I don’t want it to be true.

I have too much respect for Francis, for the work that he’s been doing to call attention to migrants, to the poor, to environmental stewardship, to ecumenical relations. I was looking forward to a decade or more of his gradual reforms, what that would mean for the Catholic Church and the Church catholic.

To be sure, the new allegations have a thick veneer of Vatican politics. Both America and National Catholic Reporter have run articles explaining some of the reasons to doubt at least portions of the ex-nuncio‘s allegations. The Pope, for his part, is keeping quiet.

At this point, though, the Vatican has to give up its secrecy. It has to provide a full report, overseen by a neutral arbiter, detailing what members of the curia knew and when they knew it.

And if, if, Francis really did know about allegations against McCarrick and did nothing, then yes, he should resign.

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