Catholics are praying that the wave of sexual assault allegations are coming to an end after another startling allegation made headlines recently. Investigations on sexual abuse ranged from Philadelphia, to overseas where priests in Australia and Latin America were convicted of sexual abuse over the summer.
As Pope Francis visited Ireland to talk directly to those who claim that they have been sexually assaulted by Catholic ministers, a shocking letter released to the public stated that Pope Francis was aware of the abuse one cardinal directed on his seminarians years prior and helped cover it up. The letter has been dissected by the media as riddled with personal attacks against the Pope and its allegations are yet to be proven. The Pope commented nothing more on the letter but saying that the media knows the truth.
However, this statement is keeping the Pope from moving past the heavy cloud of sexual allegations that are hanging over the Church.
A woman alleged years ago she tried reporting an archbishop of Buenos Aires for assaulting her son and Pope Francis prevented her from doing so. Additionally, Pope Francis accused those in Chile coming forward with reports of sexual assault against a priest of defamation.
The letter isn’t the first strike against the Pope, and it isn’t the first to be scrutinized by the public as being fake. Papal renunciation is not common, associated typically with going against the dogma of the faith and turning one’s back on the community. Yet, Pope Benedict XVI did it, and before him a few others did also. There is little procedure on how to announce a papal renunciation, but the way to resignation does have a trend. In the past, Popes gave up their pontificate for peace during times of struggle as they served and while Pope Benedict XVI officially resigned due to health problems there were whispers of a power struggle in the Vatican.
The question is if Pope Francis should resign at all. Supporters of the Pope claim that this letter was released during a period where the Pope was struggling with handling sexual assault allegations internationally and putting a poor light on him despite the great things he has accomplished.
Opponents of the Pope are already struggling with him modifying the dogma and not being more traditional. Pope Francis is not a saint, he is a man that has done things that may not be what he is being suspected of done in regards to his involvement of sexual assault. He also may have done those things. Leaving things to God doesn’t sit right with me, and if these claims are unsubstantiated then the Catholic community and those watching can feel relieved. But until all is certain, the protection of high level Catholic members needs to end.
Photo Credit: Associated Press