Scandal in the Church

Jack Garrigus, Writer

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As has been often said, it’s not the scandal that derives the most trouble, but it’s cover up. As a community of Catholics, we have a moment to consider the crisis within our Church. This crisis revolves around the alleged sexual misconduct of a former cardinal, Theodore McCarrick. Recently forced to resign, he was accused of abusing a minor during the 1970’s.

The Pope is being confronted with “unverified accusations” that he was aware of the misconduct and covered it up.

Sexual misconduct toward children by priests has been a problem in the Church for years now. Nearly 75% of Americans believe the Catholic Church has a serious problem with sexual abuse. The Church is actively practicing damage control, and is working to rectify this widespread issue.

The crime was recently in the news after a Pennsylvania grand jury report accused over 300 priests of sexually abusing over 1,000 minors. Now, even the Pope is being dragged into the fray. An extremely critical letter, written by the Vatican ex-ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, paints a picture of Church cover up of the scandal orchestrated by Pope Francis himself. The 7,000 word letter ranted that the Pope and other priests were aware of McCarrick’s misconduct and had worked to conceal it. Viganò calls for the resignation of the Pope for keeping silent. These accusations are the biggest obstacle of Pope Francis’s papacy, and the way he deals with them could define his tenure all together.

Meanwhile, the public has cried for a response. The Vatican as a whole has remained quiet because of the circumstances. The insufficient response from leadership positions ignited a letter from Catholic women that garnered 30,000 signatures. They wanted answers, and fast.

The media is also running with the story, with many news outlets writing scathing articles. The America magazine, a Jesuit publication, wrote, “the Pope’s refusal is an insufficient pastoral response for a church that is deeply wounded.”

However, every day citizens are not the only ones with opinions. Many American bishops want to launch a full investigation into the Vatican. They want to discover how McCarrick reached such an esteemed position, even with vile rumors of his behavior circling him.

However, the Pope has not remained completely silent. At morning mass on September 3rd, he made an indirect response to the allegations. The Pope proclaimed, “With people lacking goodwill, with people who only seek scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction, even within the family: silence, prayer.” Many listeners believed the Pope was referencing the Viganò letter, and Viganò himself.

This silence is rather strange of Pope Francis. He has been known to discuss many polarizing issues around the world, including topics like homosexuality, abortion, and corporate greed. He offers his Papal guidance and advice on each of these subjects. However, on this particular issue with arguably the most at stake for his papacy, and himself, the Pope seems determined to stay quiet.