Sex-abuse has always been present in society, but last week proved that it was stepping to another level. The several pedophilia accusations and cover-up allegations recently revealed against the Catholic Church have increased public pressure for answers. The allegations made by the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, have only made the demands even higher. This produced the public’s request for Pope Francis resignation.
Commentators, Vatican watchers, and many media have said that a kind of “civil war” is happening. There’s a huge gap between the views of conservative, traditional Catholics in the mold of Pope Benedict XVI, and those reform-minded Catholics like Pope Francis. And maybe this situation is only going to make the “war” grow.
Carlo Maria Vigano statements
Vigano statements refer to the former top American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick’s case. McCarrick is being accused of sexually abusing an altar boy and several seminarians. The top American cardinal has denied the denunciations about the altar boy but has not said anything about the seminarians. Vigano assures that the pontiff was made aware of this case in 2013 and didn’t act. And he even allowed McCarrick to rise through the church’s ranks, with such allegations against him.
Another important representative involved in all this, is Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. DiNardo was the responsible for requesting a meeting with the Pope, following McCarrick’s accusations. Thanks to him all the leaders of the American Catholic Church met on Thursday in Rome, to talk about the clergy sex abuse scandals that are stalking almost the entire Catholic Church in the US.
But in the night prior to the meeting, DiNardo was accused of covering up another abuse case. In 2000 on Conroe, Texas, an unnamed woman was sexually abused by a Catholic priest, the Rev. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez. When everything happened, DiNardo and a nun interviewed her. She was advised that LaRosa-Lopez “had been sent to a mental institution” and was then “placed in an administrative position from which he had no contact with children or teenagers,” according to the warrant. But in the end, she discovered ten years later that LaRosa-Lopez had been promoted and moved to a church in Richmond.
After that, she decided to file a report because “of the perceived duplicity of Cardinal DiNardo (regarding his statements regarding recent priest sex scandals) and the church’s failure to adequately protect children from LaRosa”.
Results of the papal meeting
Any concrete information about the papal meeting has not been revealed. The only statement about the results of this encounter is from DiNardo, who said: “We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States — how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse. He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange. As we departed the audience, we prayed the Angelus together for God’s mercy and strength as we work to heal the wounds. We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps”.
A lot of people are worrying that these meetings end up in nothing more, but a way to give the impression that the Catholic Church is taking actions against the issue. When in reality they’re just talking and coming back empty-handed.
Next steps on dealing with the scandal
On Wednesday the Pope summoned top Catholic officials worldwide to discuss the escalating sexual abuse scandal, in February. The main reason for this meeting will be the protection of minors, and the training for bishops in identifying abuse, intervening and listening to victims. This is going to be the time a reunion of this kind is going to take place.
The fact that the Vatican is finally taking responsibility for this acts, means that they’re recognizing clergy sex abuse as a truly global problem. It may be the first step to solve this issue for once and for all.