On Thursday, a delegation of U.S. bishops met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss the continuing sexual-abuse crisis in America, and while the USCCB issued a statement saying that the bishops’ meeting with Francis “was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange,” the matter of Cardinal Vigano’s 11-page testimony detailing cover-up allegations against Francis and 32 other high-ranking Church officials—the very crux of the issue—was never addressed, nor has the Vatican fulfilled its promise to offer “clarifications” on Vigano’s indictment.
Moreover, the Vatican media released photos of the “emergency” meeting in which the cardinals and pope are seen laughing with each other, which tends to add scandal to scandal, since it conveys the message that the sex-abuse crisis is a laughing matter that needn’t be taken seriously.
In what some are seeing as a belated political ploy to placate incensed advocates of abuse victims, the pope on Wednesday also announced he was summoning the presidents of bishops conferences around the world to a February summit to discuss prevention measures and protection of minors and vulnerable adults. The obvious question people are asking is, ‘why defer this to February?’ Why not cancel the upcoming October “Synod of the Youth” (which promises to be another scandal) and make the protection of minors the focus instead?
Needless to say, the sexual-abuse scandal is but a surface indication of the general quagmire of corruption that has plagued the Church since Vatican II. When Church leaders adulterate the Church’s teachings, adulterated behavior is the end result—it backfires on us.
This providentially has been allowed as a wake-up call so that the Church might return to the rule of penance. And while ‘fasting on bread and water’ might be effective in offsetting the problem, what God requires first and foremost is that Church leaders go down on their knees and admit that their teachings and procedures have been wrong in His sight, especially their allowing homosexuals to establish their network in the Church. Contrition of heart is the fast that God is asking for: “A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalms 50:19)
Will this be the theme of Pope Francis’ meeting next February? Will he announce a plan to sideline any prelate who openly supports gay orientation? Will he finally cite homosexuality as the root of the pedophile problem in the Church?