- Sep 24, 2020
Two stories this week, one in Italy and the other in the States, both highlight missed opportunities for real reform on clerical sexual abuse, born of trafficking in stereotypes and straw men rather than engaging the nitty-gritty of reality in the Catholic Church.
In a nutshell, Pope Francis’s approach to difficult personnel choices is to keep people in place, while entrusting the real responsibility to somebody else and thus rendering the original official, if not quite irrelevant, certainly less consequential.
Australian police have questioned Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, in Rome in relation to accusations of alleged historic sexual abuse. The cardinal continues to insist there is no foundation to the claims.
A deal between the Vatican and Italy on taxation of income from accounts at the Vatican bank was decreed by the Secretariat of State, not the new Secretariat for the Economy, confirming that for Pope Francis, more and more reform is a blend of the old and the new.
From the outside it might seem like Pope Francis’s council of cardinal advisers, which meets with him on a regular basis, hasn’t yet delivered many sweeping reforms, but Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India says the pontiff consults with the group on 75-80 percent of all the big decisions he makes.
Cardinal George Pell, the prelate brought in by Pope Francis to reform the Vatican’s financial systems, has vigorously rejected accusations of sexual abuse reportedly being investigated by Australian police, saying that they amount to a “scandalous smear campaign.”