Statement from Attorney Jeff Anderson
(St. Paul, MN) – Pope Francis’s Chile-departing statement made a few things clear: Nothing has changed and Pope Francis does not care.
This is the same Pope who put together a commission with promises that this commission would make fundamental changes on how the Vatican handled cases of child sexual abuse worldwide. The two survivors on the commission quit in disgust and Pope Francis allowed the commission to expire.
This is the same Pope Francis who has the power to re-write church policies with the power of a pen. And yet, he has done nothing.
This is the same Pope Francis who ordered every bishop and every superior to come clean to secular and civil authorities, but who also refuses to turn over evidence and secrets concerning offenders and top officials who have concealed offenses worldwide.
This is the same Pope Francis who apologizes for abuse and prays with some survivors but then immediately insults and turns his back on survivors who demand accountability and action.
This is the same Pope Francis who calls for social justice but does nothing to protect children and victimizes those who demand that he does.
Sexual abuse is a crime of power. The Vatican has kept child victims silent for centuries by asserting that power. As survivor Juan Carlos Cruz said, “Does [Pope Francis] need a selfie as proof [of abuse]?” By asking for proof, Pope Francis told survivors he is in ultimate power. There are seldom, if ever, any witnesses to child sexual abuse. Abusers know that and use it to keep children quiet. Pope Francis probably knows that, too.
What is even worse is that Pope Francis most likely has access to the proof he needs and refuses to turn it over to Karadima’s victims. If he wanted more proof, he could have spent ten minutes of his visit speaking to Karadima’s victims while he was in Chile.
While Francis’ tone may be different, the substance that we have seen by actions and deeds is the same as every predecessor going back centuries.
It is another sad and dangerous day.
For more comments and perspective from Jeff Anderson on this issue, please read today’s blog post.