Pope Francis abolishes pontifical

The ball is in Pope Francis’ court over the culture of cover-up

Pope Francis culture cover-up

Author: Kieran Tapsell

Publication: National Catholic Reporter

Date: 06JUN2018

Pope Francis’ condemnation of a culture of cover-up in the global Catholic Church is a welcome change to the attitude of Pope Benedict XVI in his 2010 pastoral letter to the Irish people in response to the Murphy Commission’s Report. Benedict blamed the Irish bishops for the cover up while ignoring the Commission’s criticism of the church’s secrecy laws and the dysfunctional nature of its canonical disciplinary system.

Francis’ earlier statement in May after his meeting with the Chilean bishops is also very welcome. He said that resignations of bishops were not enough, and that: “It would be irresponsible of us not to go deep in looking for the roots and structures that allowed these concrete events to happen and carry on.”

Francis has moved away from the submission made so often by church officials at state and national inquiries, particularly in Ireland and Australia, that the problem of cover up arose because of “bad apples” among the bishops. In speaking about structural causes, Francis admits there are problems with the barrel. His statement sounds like he might have read the findings in the Final Report of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about the church’s structures and its canon law.

Francis’ call to respect “the voices and opinions of non-clerics” is also something new.

His predecessors have ignored what they had been told by “non-clerics,” such as the attorney general for Massachusetts in his 2003 report into the Boston Archdiocese, and the 2009 Murphy Commission Report into the Archdiocese of Dublin about the role played by the church’s secrecy laws which had the effect of more children being abused than might otherwise have occurred.

However, Francis himself was told in 2014 by some other “non-clerics,” the United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Child, that the pontifical secret led to the continuation of the abuse, to impunity of the perpetrators, and that to comply with the Treaty on the Rights of the Child he should abolish the secret and impose mandatory reporting to the civil authorities under canon law. In the same year, the U.N. Committee against Torture told him the same thing. 

For more information visit: https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/ball-pope-francis-court-over-culture-cover

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