Opinion: Francis’ remarks about the Great Accuser distract from lack of resolve, leadership

If Pope Francis does not make an effort to address the rot, and soon, it will be impossible to avoid the conclusion that the interests he is pursuing do not constitute the true good of the Church.

Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The burgeoning crisis of leadership in the Catholic Church that is the result of organized coverup and winking at rot in the moral culture of the clergy, high and low, was largely absent from the reports of the Fathers’ consultations at the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops over the past weeks. Nevertheless, Pope Francis’s remarks to the prelates on Saturday, at the close of their work, show unmistakably that the crisis continues to occupy his mind.

In extemporaneous remarks to the Synod Fathers gathered in the Synod Hall shortly after they voted to approve the final document, Pope Francis first made his perfunctory thanks to the organizers. Then he said, “Because of our sins, the Great Accuser seizes the advantage, and — as the first chapter of the Book of Job tells us — goes about the earth looking for whom to accuse.” It is a theme that has become familiar over the past several weeks.

In this moment, he is accusing us strongly,” the Pope went on to say, “and this accusation becomes persecution.” Francis noted the persecution of Christians in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, as well as in various other parts of the world. Pope Francis said the persecution of which he speaks also takes the form of “continuous accusations,” the purpose of which is “to sully the Church.” Then, he offered this:

The Church is not to be sullied: her children, yes, we are all dirty, but the mother is not — and this is the moment to defend our Mother — and we defend our Mother from the Great Accuser by prayer and penance. This is why I asked, in this month that ends in a few days, for people to pray the Rosary, to pray to St. Michael Archangel, to pray to Our Lady, that she might always cover Mother Church. Let us continue to do so. This is a difficult moment, because the Accuser, through us, attacks our Mother — and no one is to lay a finger on our Mother [the Church]. This, I had it in my heart to say at the end of the Synod.

On the one hand, he acknowledges that the bishops are to blame: “[T]he Accuser, through us, attacks our Mother,” On the other, the bishops seem to get a pass, because they are simply sinners just like everyone else. It is as if he will not see that the bishops have already harmed the Church by their winking and coverup, while the people within the Church, who are clamoring for transparency and accountability from the bishops, are motivated by the very filial love he praises.

The final document of the Synod does contain some reference to the crisis. In Paragraph 30 we read, “It has become clear that our work is cut out for us, when it comes to eradicating the forms of exercise of authority on which the various forms of abuse are grafted, and of countering the lack of accountability and transparency with which many cases have been managed.” Paragraph 30 of the final document goes on to say, “Desire for domination, the lack of dialogue and transparency, the forms of double life, spiritual emptiness, as well as psychological fragilities: these are the terrain on which corruption flourishes.”

Francis is not wrong to call for prayer and penance — no Christian can fail to confess that we need much more of both — but the Church must be governed, and Peter’s office is for the governance of the Church. Governing means putting aside personal interests—not ignoring the noise of division and agitation, but rising above it — and acting for the true good.

In any case and inescapably now, the presence of serious rot reaching the highest echelons of Church governance is laid bare. We must fathom full extent of it. We must discover its origin, as well as the proximate and more remote causes of it. We must have it out.

Pope Francis alone in the Church holds power by indisputable right to make the source and reach of the rot known, and to begin at any rate to rid us of it. That is the one thing needful, and that is the thing Francis refuses to give. The documentary review he has promised is at best a half measure. At worst, it is a scrap thrown to dogs about the table.

Pope Francis did not create this crisis. He is not to blame for the rise of evil men before he assumed the supreme governance of the universal Church, nor is he to be saddled with the guilt of his predecessors’ unhappy decisions and unready responses. Francis is Pope now, however, and that means he is chiefly responsible for her earthly welfare.

Whatever one thinks of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, it is largely owing to his testimony that the rot is exposed.

Some in the Church are of the opinion that the former nuncio to the United States is a hero of the faith. Others believe he is a scheming Machiavel, ambitious and cunning, and thirsty for the ruin of men by whom he feels himself wronged. It is evident that his motives — like those of all men — are alloyed: he used his original letter to impugn the reputations of men with no discernible tie to his core allegation, or to sully the names of certain others in ways not strictly necessary to the making of his case.

There is another fact, bright-shining, adamant and ineluctable: Archbishop Viganò’s motives are largely irrelevant.

If his aim was to topple the pontificate of Francis, then it was a fool’s errand from the start: Apostolica Sedes a nemine iudicatur — the Apostolic See is judged by no man — and if part of his purpose was to destroy his enemies in the Curia, let him be tried for it in open court and pay the price of his folly. (Such a trial would also give him ample room to make his case before a candid world, and expose the miscarriages not only of the reigning Pontiff, but of the last two and their underlings, as well. If Francis would right the Church and see Archbishop Viganò held to account for his intemperances, then there is arguably no better way to achieve both in one.)

I think that Archbishop Viganò drew too facile an equation of silence with complicity in his third testimony, when he addressed himself to his brother bishops. Many of them — especially those in the Roman Curia — are legitimately pained in conscience, racked between love of the Church and fear for their souls’ safety, should they abjure an oath sworn in good faith. Nevertheless, Viganò was right on the fundamental point. Those two goods can never be the poles of a dilemma for any true son of the sinless Mother, nor can they ever face a true spouse of the spotless bride as genuine alternatives in a devil’s choice. Salus animarum suprema lex.

Pope Francis still has a chance — perhaps his only one left — to right the ship.

There is no wicked power in the universe that can reach him, and no faithful son or daughter of Holy Church, who would not support him to the last in any sincere and whole-hearted effort to set her aright. If he does not make that effort, and soon, then it will become impossible to avoid the conclusion that the interests he is pursuing do not constitute the true good of the Church.

That effort must begin with transparency: justice must be seen to be done.


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About Christopher R. Altieri 102 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, writer, and editor based in Rome, Italy. He spent more than a dozen years on the news desk at Vatican Radio. He holds the PhD from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and is the author of The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood.

44 Comments

  1. Can someone expound on the Pope’s crosier? It’s not shaped like a crosier nor does it bear the figure of Christ. Instead, it looks more like a weapon.

    I can vaguely visualize the figure of Christ: I can also visualize the two horns of Satan. Does the spike symbolize that Satan has been defeated by the Paschal mystery?

    • On a site called the “Deacon’s Bench” it was stated that it was a gift from some youth just prior to the synod who asked him to use it during the event (I’m only glad they didn’t present him with a rainbow cassock). It appears to have nail piercing through the wood. It was suggested that it looks like a “furka” of forked cross. I think that it once belonged to Saruman.

      • ” it was a gift from some youth just prior to the synod who asked him to use it during the event”

        If so, why on earth didn’t he say, politely, “While I’m sure you’re very proud of your work, and it is very kind of you to give it to me, it really isn’t a crosier and I simply can’t use it.”

        Or would that not have been sufficiently “listening” and “accompanying”?

        But then, we also got hit with that hideous Year of Mercy cartoon picture, too, so maybe he’s the visual equivalent of tone deaf.

        • Leslie – you are right. But isn’t the Pope’s acceptance of it indicative of the entire process: not knowing when to say “No” to youth when such instruction is right and good, (especially since “No” can be quite instructive; otherwise parenthood is doomed.)

          • The Pope has disappointed so many Life-Long Catholics by diminishing the sickening severity of pedophile Priests. The mere statement that he wants them to turn themselves into the authorities is preposterous. He hasn’t been able to vow that all priests that have committed these heinous crimes are excommunicated immediately & change the entire governess of the church from the Cardinals, Bishops, Monsignors on down. AND he continues to talk about poor countries that need help and follow the migrants, as are his main objectives. What about the Predator Priests that have molested young children for decades and have been denied justice or acknowledgment & JUST ACT!! Aren’t these problems so vast that Catholics are leaving the church in disgust, loss of trust, and nothing stipulating ways to change this self-policing
            largest tax-exempt Hierarchy landowner& (riches in the world btw) to ‘clean shop’ once and for all. After the Boston Bombshell, they learned absolutely nothing and continued the farce of the shell game and hid paperwork under the rug. Enough is enough, more & more priests are being found guilty and sent to prison and the statutes of Limitations will be over-turned by some conscience-driven group of politicians that can’t be paid enough to allow this to continue. Catholics never needed the pomp and pageantry of golden robes, red satin shoes, artifacts to feel holy in that sham of over-down symbolism. We wanted our Loving shepherds of little children protected from rape, indecent exposure, groping and sexual forced activities on the delicate and impressionable minds of our children that derailed their entire life with confusion, fear and lack of trust forever. How does one recruit young adults, new Catholics into a religion that has transgressed into a criminal arrogant base of clergy that felt so powerful to do the unthinkable and continues to not address it in a fervent diligent set of standards to live by.? Make concrete Change, stop prayer fasting for contrition and regain what’s left of the credibility of this church now! It’s too late for my son, who was raped at 10 YEARS OLD and our family can’t continue as Catholics when it hits home, it is so painful and unfair, I can’t share the angst that our family feels regarding our son. Innocence lost, by a long-time family priest and a life totally had to be re-invented and still has nightmares and flash-backs that impact him every day. Do these measures for the Catholics that are on the fence with their decision and never let another child come near a priest that has pre-existing conditions to sexually abuse a child. We were cradle Catholics and this ripped our hearts wide open and our family is very much Christian, but it will take a long time of soul-searching and forgiving to ignore these criminal actions. His best friend, couldn’t fight back these demons and committed suicide. We attend a non-denomination Christ-based church and we are at peace without the hypocrisy of known servants of God destroying young children. Take action and do what is morally right & make this a priority in your closed-door sessions of your top Board Members!!! Secret Archives no more—ACTIONS!!

  2. Altieri paints with too broad a brush, perhaps, when he indicts the “miscarriages not only of the reigning Pontiff, but of the last two and their underlings.” From another probably more limited view through the knothole, recent history might also look like this…

    Yes, Pope St. John Paul II was responsible to teach, to govern and to sanctify. Much of his three-fold burden was (1) to reclaim Vatican II from the deconstructionists intent on exploiting the documents as a revolutionary mandate for the hermeneutics of discontinuity (paradigm shift, etc.), and (2) to do the New Evangelization thing without interference by personally visiting the peoples of some 105 countries (to sanctify). As for (3) cleaning out the clerical litter box in the kitchen (to govern), yes, this task did fall to his successor.

    When (emeritus) Pope Benedict XVI (who is likely to be judged by the long view of history as a Doctor of the Church) saw in the litter box a tight nexus between financial corruption and moral corruption–as personified by the McCarrick Malignancy–he was overwhelmed by the stench and prayerfully stepped aside. Perhaps he prayed that his surprising eight years as pope would leave behind as a legacy enough new and reliable cardinals as to assure that his successor would know how to handle a poop scoop. Instead, under the alleged/reported manipulations of the Malignancy, it seems that the Chair of Peter was awarded to the Peter Principle.

    Perhaps the Holy Spirit intends more fermentation as prelude to a complete housecleaning. As Altieri suggests, it all depends on what happens next. In any event, as Pope Francis has volunteered, “It’s no sin to criticize the pope.”

  3. Re. the passage below, there seems to be some equivocation here. On the one hand,
    “too facile and equation of silence with complicity”, “legitimately pained in conscience”– but ultimately the passage seems to conclude that they must make a decision. Why then does the author say that that Vigano was being too facile?

    “I think that Archbishop Viganò drew too facile an equation of silence with complicity in his third testimony, when he addressed himself to his brother bishops. Many of them — especially those in the Roman Curia — are legitimately pained in conscience, racked between love of the Church and fear for their souls’ safety, should they abjure an oath sworn in good faith. Nevertheless, Viganò was right on the fundamental point. Those two goods can never be the poles of a dilemma for any true son of the sinless Mother, nor can they ever face a true spouse of the spotless bride as genuine alternatives in a devil’s choice.”

  4. In answer to Steve: see the post of October 5, 2018 titled “What Is That?” on “Fr. Z’s Blog” regarding a “stang” used in modern day witchcraft.

    • Mar,
      Yes, it does, indeed, look like a Wiccan Stang: it also resembles a crucified Christ. Let’s hope this isn’t another double entendre for which the Pope is slowly becoming infamous. Sadly, I’ve lost all hope in this Pontificate.

      • Steve – the most positive symbolic meaning that might be offered (because it can at least be said that it is a symbolic piece) is that the length of the staff is one, just as the Church is one. But the Church has become polarized and split in two and the convergence of the Church – that which must unite it again – is the Passion of Christ indicated by the nail joining the two branches. This would certainly be true for the bishops who need to remember their role in suffering for the flock.

        • I wish today’s artists (and writers) would grasp the concept that a symbol that is so abstruse that it has to be explained to just about anybody isn’t a very good symbol.

          • Agreed. What I wrote is also just a personal interpretation. A staff rising into a crucifix is always best especially since the image of the Holy Cross is already symbolic of so much.

  5. Pope Francis culinary training has advanced from Bergoglian tossed salad to Bergoglian fruit salad. Equating the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians at the hands of Islamic jihad with the call for a responsible exercise of the office of Saint Peter is quite a leap even for the Argentinian Jesuit.
    It isn’t even apples and oranges.
    It is mortifying.

  6. For all his acumen Chris Altieri fails to recognize that Pope Francis’ allegorical Great Accuser is obviously meant to impugn Archbishop Viganò. Which Altieri nonetheless manages on behalf of the Pontiff citing the Archbishop’s abrogation of solemn oath. Silence in the face of manifest evil threatening the faithful is not an option. If the Pontiff were to seriously defend Holy Mother Church he would respond to the Mccarrick allegation by his accuser Viganò. If not he then most certainly would have begun to cleanse the Church beginning with empowering Cardinal Di Nardo with delegated authority, a request flatly denied. Neither is there a call by the Archbishop for the Pontiff to be put on trial. That is suggested by Altieri as a possible Viganò motive. For a matter as important as this, a crossroads moment for the Church we must cite facts not imagined purpose. Altieri is correct in his summation that if the Pontiff doesn’t act decisively to purge the Church he is not “acting in its best interests”. That is a magnificent understatement. If he doesn’t the Pope’s ‘Holy Mother Church’, as embattled as it is, impugned from all sides US attorney generals the Feds digging up records, homosexual prelates ensconced within the Vatican itself left untouched – which he purports to defend is on the verge of collapse. Then the claim “There is no wicked power in the universe that can reach him” proves resoundingly false.

    • With regard to the records:

      From https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/us/catholic-bishops-sex-abuse.html :

      Mr. McSwain said in his letter that at this point there was “no need” for the bishops to produce any documents “solely on account of this letter.” He said that the letter was only a request that the church entities “not destroy, discard, dispose of, delete, or alter any of the described documents.” But he started his letter by saying that his office was “investigating possible violations of federal law.”

    • Pope Francis is, once again, misunderstood. He is acknowledging that the accusations are legitimate and must be addressed, but he is also saying that Holy Mother Church is still intact. All the clergy who did egregious harm to innocent victims, though needing to be brought to justice, must not be allowed to destroy the true Church of Christ, which has always upheld the faith as Jesus himself instructed. Yes, hold individual people within the Church accountable, but do not tear down the foundation of our Holy Mother Church. She is still our mother despite the evil actions of some of her sinful children, which we can be sure cause her great grief and sorrow.

  7. Pope Francis has displayed an astounding skill of using ambiguity while avoiding clarity in things that matter (doctrine, et al)and using clarity in things that matter little (environmentalism, et al). His skills are more political and in politics power matters as shown by his public rebukes of cardinals and bishops who are not “with him” and rewards to those who are. Perhaps he has a Machiavellian complex inherent in his nature and very useful to him.

  8. Pope Francis needs to actually tackle the crisis the Church is facing head on, and uphold the oath he took to God to be a Shepherd to his flock, instead of just stone walling ,pretending the problem doesn’t exist and going on with “business as usual”, and issuing thinly veiled ad hominem attacks against his critics.

    If he continues down his current path then he is sadly part of the problem, not the solution, and should step aside to make way for a better successor of St. Peter.

  9. I have given up all hope of discerning Francis’ mind. I just find him paranoid and prone to lashing out at enemies. The problem with paranoid people is that they cannot discriminate between those who are their true friends and who are their real enemies. To me, the discrimination is easy: my true friends take a risk at telling me what I want least to hear; my enemies tell me what I want to hear and lie to me.

    Francis will be forced to stand by silently while the Federal investigators disclose all sorts of information found in the secret personnel files of all dioceses. Naturally, they will be following the money trail and when they conclude their investigation be assured that they will invoke the RICO statutes. This means all contracts between the Feds and the Catholic Church will be voided and the Church will lose its tax exempt status. With this, all dioceses will face bankruptcy. Bishops will turn to the laity for financial support but the laity won’t be there to dole out their money.

  10. Dear Archbishop Viganò, please remain well hidden. Your pontiff dispises you and his lieutenants understand the meaning of his message.

  11. I know alot of people are going to hate me for saying this but the church can be protected from pedos by other means than raiding the personell files. All these people asking for transparency are unknowingly really asking for blood as gutless bishops are caving in to demands of an implacable electric mob, demands that no other organization has to presently deal with. The sacrament of confession and absolution is secret for a reason. Privacy is good, if you give up privacy to satisfy the mob, you will give up private property soon thereafter, but in a narcissistic facebook culture privacy is not valued. Dangerous pedo’s should be removed but this is hysterical and a total witch hunt. The chinese government picks the bishops, is this where the US is heading? Love actually covers a multitude of sins and it is the striking reality of the gospel that Christ forgives sins. Im not saying to shield dangerous people but we have to balance these dark days and remember the mission of reconciliation and forgiveness. Joseph was a righteous man because he did not want to expose her to shame. Just wait until they ask for all the information of annullments or financial records. The church should be afforded the same legal protection of privacy as every other organization and not subject to mob hysteria and fishing expeditions. Maybe The illegal aliens are correct in not registering at their local parishes. Judas gave up Jesus for lawful reasons. The woman caught in adultery was going to be stoned for lawful reasons.

    • Joe you make an immensely important point few are willing to address. As a matter of principle an organization should be permitted to correct itself. PA attorney general Shapiro’s investigation seemed justifiable not the sudden demands of a plethora of states attorney generals. Many dioceses have willingly opened their files for that purpose. Although abuse remains requiring correction most diocesan records are old many citing unsubstantiated allegation. The Pontiff shares a major fault in this for refusing to delegate authority for Cardinal Di Nardo to investigate and cite bishops and refusing to take remedial action following Archbishop Vigano’s allegations. Nonetheless there is a “mob frenzy” of self righteous indignation, attorney generals grandstanding requiring dioceses to submit to investigation, the Fed Govt apparently considering filing a racketeering charge [RICO Act] v the Church. No other institution has been subjected to this relentless scrutiny other than in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in order to subdue the Church. All private records as you suggest may be next. The Church is being ravaged by homosexual networks of priests and prelates within by all indication shielded by Pope Francis and attacked from without by zealous law officials. We are certainly under serious threat for existence as a viable body and must turn to Christ for increased faith and courage.

      • “Although abuse remains requiring correction most diocesan records are old many citing unsubstantiated allegation.”

        The other thing that irks me is that in some of the old cases the Church did exactly what standard practice for these dreadful cases were; and that we now know that it wasn’t the right thing to do doesn’t make them guilty of anything except believing psychologists.

        “Nonetheless there is a “mob frenzy” of self righteous indignation, attorney generals grandstanding requiring dioceses to submit to investigation”

        Yes. Strange that they aren’t investigating, for example, the accusations that Hollywood is a nest of pedophiles.

      • Whatever evil we find in the Church is many times worse in the world, as in, for example, the rate of sexual abuse of minors by faculty in the public school system. Yet judgment really does start in the House of God. It has started and will continue. God will avenge the victims of sexual abuse by priests and prelates.

        No matter what perverse, depraved clergy do to the Church from within, and no matter what the governments of the world do to it, the Body of Christ, the Church, will survive; the Body of Christ can never become a corpse; it is animated by the omnipotent Holy Spirit. Those who attack it will wound it but never mortally; then they will die and the Church will continue its march down through the centuries.

        We should rejoice that the Holy Spirit has begun purging this filth from the Church. We need to ask Him what our role is in His ongoing renewal of the Church — and do that with all our might.

    • Should sacramental confession be a get-out-of-jail card? No. It may reconcile a sinner to God, but there are still just consequences. Even a plenary indulgence, which “removes the temporal punishment due for sins” does not remove all the consequences. If a man murders his wife, then makes a good confession and obtains a plenary indulgence, she still will no longer show up to make him bacon and eggs each morning.

  12. In MY OPINION, anyone accepting a position of public authority be it politician, president, priest , bishop, or pope, makes every aspect of their duties a matter subject to public criticism. Any oaths made in support of such persons are abrogated whenever said persons seriously violate the nature and responsibilities of said office. It becomes not only morally correct to reveal such lapses but, as Archbishop Vigano has pointed out, a sacred duty to do so. Too long have too many hidden behind the defense of such revelations being the sin of detraction. The sin of detraction only applies when a revelation is unnecessary. Anything to do with official responsibilities necessarily belongs in the public domain. This includes serious lapses of one’s personal morals when one is supposed to be an example to others. As the old adage stated, “If you would be ashamed to tell your mother, you shouldn’t do it.” Of course, nowadays, when evil is presented as good and and good as evil, many mothers seem to be proud of their offspring’s sins.

  13. The devil is the Divider. That is what his name means. He will use the truth when it suits him, just as he used Scripture when tempting Our Lord in the desert., Because the truth is ultimately from God it always has great power. However, the devil cannot speak “the truth in love.” Only the Holy Spirit can do that. So the truth inspired by the devil is tremendously powerful and tremendously damaging. The devil’s truth is aimed at division. When the truth is spoken under the influence of the Holy Spirit, it brings about unity among those who hear it in the same Holy Spirit.

      • Exactly! I didn’t quote it because I couldn’t remember which of Blake’s works it was in. But that says it in a nutshell.
        Still, even if I hear a truth inspired by the devil and I receive it with humility and thanksgiving, it will cause me to praise God, and give me an increase of faith hope and charity. Where the devil tried to tempt me to pride, he only caused me to grow in humility. This is known as spiritual jiu jitsu! God can make use of everything. God bless you!

  14. The Holy Father’s perspective is so bewilderingly disintegrated; he seems to know in his heart that he has a genuinely (mostly homosexually) corrupted clergy on his hands, yet he’s furiously indignant that it’s being exposed. He seems to prefer that “business as usual” rule the day.

    The lavender mafia that was indispensable to Francis’ election, and to whom he evidently feels beholden, has wrought much harm.

  15. Mr. Altieri: Pray for Pope Francis. There is nothing else to do. Calls for clarity and courageous teaching are wasted. Even more futile, however, are calls for him to exert is authority. This whole Synod inspired fear from faithful Catholics about the Church pushing a perverted agenda. That was a magic trick for while the right hand was the more alluring the left deftly worked in “synodality” which is nothing less than the devolution of papal authority into some form of Anglicanism. Let each bishops conference, archdiocese, diocese, deanery, parish decide for itself. Now we can have a bunch of little popes and the unity of the Church will be broken.

    Pope Francis quipped that he was cause a schism. Evidently he plans to cause 1000s once individual parishes decide what is Catholic and what is not. Meanwhile CWR and other more orthodox websites keep blathering on about Pope Francis righting the ship and time running out. It’s like we’re a bunch of kids waiting for our deadbeat dad to show up and rescue us: it’s been five years, time to put on the big boy pants and man up.

  16. “Desire for domination, the lack of dialogue and transparency, the forms of double life, spiritual emptiness, as well as psychological fragilities: these are the terrain on which corruption flourishes.” What an unspeakably dishonest and ridiculous pile of nonsense! “Ignore the fact that 80% of us are sodomites. It’s just the usual thing bothering everyone these days, you know, spiritual emptiness, fragility, lack of dialogue….” How much money was spent of this circus?

  17. No. The Oath is exclusive of willfully refusing, neglecting or being complicit with evil against the Beloved and His beloved Spouse and Little Ones…. one by Sacred Oath is obliged to witness to the evil before the Beloved and the whole universe…

  18. If the Pope admits that he covered up for Cardinal McCarrick as Vigano claims, then the Pope admits to legal liability which puts not just the Pope’s personal assets at risk, but the assets of the entire Roman Catholic Church. Or, at a minimum the assets of the Vatican State, plus the Church’s assets in any diocese McCarrick abused in and oversaw the Church’s assets in. Cannon Law puts the assets of the Church under a local Bishop who answers to the Vatican State.

    There exists a pastoral way of dealing with the sexual abuse crisis which would have involved reaching out the victims and his/her families decades ago to try to heal the damage. Failing to do this left the situation to the legal authorities, which has now escalated to governments of the world having to deal with this.

    Finances will have to be recognized as part of the problem along with legal liability involving restitution. Christianity will survive the Vatican State as Christianity was never dependent upon the Vatican State or the Church’s art, buildings, or gold.

    Vigano came to a proper conclusion. Is the church about protecting assets or saving souls? Is the church about preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sin for the sake of the salvation of souls? Can the Pope in public repent and ask for forgiveness? If this has occurred, we all need to be made aware of this, and media has a duty to tell us that the Pope owns his own behavior and his failures regarding McCarrick.

    Christianity will survive. I can’t say the Vatican State will which is a modern creature built on the ancient tombs of the martyrs.

    We must pray for God’s Kingdom to be on earth, now and forever as the Lord instructed us. No one can own God’s Kingdom as it is not a possession, but a relationship. If we need to memorize the Scripture and meet in people’s homes, Christianity will survive the sins of the Vatican State. If we have no homes, we can do as our Lord did, and meet in the wilderness and hold services there.

  19. Francis is an embarrassment to the Gospel and the Church. He is cruel and dismissive of those he sees as enemies. This is the Gospel? The Great Accuser is Satan, not Archbp. Vigano. The work of cruelty and dismissive behavior is of the evil one. The bishop of Rome should examine his works more closely in the light of the Gospel.

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