According to this stunning article in Remnant Newspaper, yes, tragically, very much so.
From all corners of the universal Church, hundreds of clergy abuse survivors gathered recently at the16th Annual SNAP Conference held in Chicago describing their gut-wrenching childhoods of sexual molestation by clerics. A haunting aura dominated the conference: Pope Francis’ unwillingness to tr uly reform the Church and protect children by punishing predators and their protectors.
Is this the Pope of Mercy?
Has Francis’ self-styled theology of mercy blinded him to the need for justice for the Church’s violent betrayal of children? Has mercy replaced justice in the lexicon of papal rules necessary to protect children? Is clergy sex abuse too bothersome and unfashionable for the popular globalist media star fixated on global warming and income redistribution? Or, is he simply the mercy impostor, unwilling to address the crisis, similar to his years in Argentina?
Victim survivors at the conference describe Pope Francis as disengaged and indifferent on this issue. His stance toward the clergy sex abuse crisis is littered with frivolous half measures and empty words to address this endemic global scourge. More than one speaker described him as, “This is a Pope of Smoke and Mirrors.”
Francis’ mercy minions may be shocked, but in the opinion of abuse survivors, the Francis “peripheries” don’t include the victims of clerical sexual predators. Several speakers denounced the Pontiff’s shallowness and insincerity toward the crisis. “Francis is the Master of Change, without change,” observed one speaker. While another anointed the Pope as, “Francis, the Master of Fee l Good.”
According to those who matter, the victims, Pope Francis and his hypnotic mercy mantra cannot obviate his utter failure for meaningful systemic clergy sex abuse reform in the Catholic Church.
The sexual abuse of children reverberates for generations as a monstrous atrocity against humanity which cries out for justice, not mercy. When the perpetrators are clergy, the punishment demands temporal and eternal retribution. Jesus’ seemingly unmerciful sentence and harsh words capture the eternal justice demanded of those that soul murder children:
“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6
Christ’s powerful words paint a brutal image: Mercy abandons the man on the shore, as the predator is cast into the depths of the ocean weighed down by an immense millstone, ensuring death by drowning. Yet, Pope Francis responds to the clergy abuse crisis with his typical sentimentality, “God weeps.”
Don’t cry for me Argentina works for Eva Peron. The God of the Bible rages.
A clergy sex abuse victim is forever changed. Losing innocence, faith, and childhood, strikes a terrible blow to body and soul, which never fully heals. Their pain remains palpably raw, robbed of so much, when so young. Silenced by their shame, imprisoned in their suffering, struggling to survive, these victims are the walking wounded of clergy sex abuse. Yet, despite their incalculable pain, grace often emerges, bringing clarity of vision, a restored voice, and a sharpened instinct which detects hypocrisy and sanctimony.
Listening to the excruciating accounts of clerical sex abuse and subsequent hierarchal coverups, bravely recounted at the conference, reminds me of the poignant words of the great French novelist, George Bernanos, who on his death bed recalled fidelity to the little boy he once had been:
“What does my life matter? I just want it to be faithful, to the end, to the child I used to be. Yes, what honour I have, and my bit of courage, I inherit from the little creature, so mysterious to me now.”
Despite the ruins of a stolen and destroyed childhood, the survivors at the SNAP conference swore loyalty to their wounded child with the wisdom and fury of an avenging angel. These casualties from the Church graveyard of hierarchal negligence are woefully damaged, but determined to rid the Church of its perverted priests, predatory cover up practices, and pretentious bureaucratic “fixes.”
While the world is hypnotized by Francis’ mercy mania and genteel gestures, the victims of clergy sex abuse gathered at the conference remain highly skeptical of the Pope’s commitment to root out predators among its clerical ranks.“Pope Francis, stop your empty headlines” received resounding applause from the audience of victims who hailed from the U.S. England, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Latin America and Armenia to name a few. All who spoke urged abuse victims to report abuse and call the police, not the prelates. Abuse survivors closely watch Pope Francis for signs of authentic commitment and genuine reform. Instead, his face appears on the covers of Time and Vanity Fair, and he meets endlessly with Hollywood celebrities and world elites. It’s becoming obvious that Francis provides scant time and fleeting attention to the plight of clerical abuse of minors. These walking wounded believe that Francis is slow walking child protection reforms and, shockingly, surrounds himself with prelates who conceal predator priests. At the Vatican, there’s no climate for child protection when global warming dominates Francis’ beloved world stage, as he effusively and strenuously advocates for eco-protection using his apostolic exhortations and vast Vatican resources. The dangers of air conditioning and carbon dioxide receive more attention than the danger of predatory priests. During his first three years as Pontiff, Francis sacked a clergy abuse victim from his new papal child protection commission because the member dared to criticize the Vatican’s appointment of a Chilean bishop who covered up a serial predatory priest.