Pope Accused of Covering Up Child Rape in Argentina

Just a reminder that the Catholic Church’s child-abuse coverup scandal isn’t over.

According to Le Monde (in French only; sorry. But here’s a story from last year about this case), lawyers are accusing the Catholic church of covering up child rape and abuse in Italy and Argentina, the current pope’s old stomping grounds. Not only that, but they say that Jorge Bergoglio, now better known as Pope Francis, was personally warned about fifteen abusive priests in 2014, and that he did nothing.
One of the victims claims to have given a copy of the letter to the pope in person, in 2015. So this isn’t ancient history, and it can’t be blamed on the previous administration.
The current case involves children at the Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Mendoza, Argentina. Not only were the victims children, which is bad enough, but they were deaf, meaning that they had additional difficulties making themselves understood, since sometimes even their own parents didn’t know sign.
Although the Catholic church has allegedly conducted its own investigation, it hasn’t shared its results with the Argentine authorities. In other words, the Catholic church was shielding child abusers from justice, as of just a few years ago.
That makes it a criminal organization. If you’re still a Catholic, why?

I Should Have Known the Pope Wasn’t Going to Change Policy

The news today mentioned that Pope Francis I had okayed contraception for women in Zika-struck areas. Yay, liberal hippie pope! My complaint since the beginning of his tenure is that while he gives good press conference, that’s all he does: he hasn’t changed the church’s policy, and that’s the real problem.

At least so far, the Catholic church has been opposed to both contraception and abortion; Catholic hospitals don’t provide contraceptives when they have a choice, the previous pope famously told Africans that condoms make the AIDS crisis worse. Claims that contraceptives cause abortions. So against that backdrop, saying that contraception ≠ abortion is a step in the right direction, no?

Except, well, maybe not so much: according to AP,

Abortion “is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil at its root, no? It’s a human evil,” Francis told reporters. “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one (Zika), such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

That’s a reference to a document from 1968 in which that okayed contraception for nuns in the Congo who were being raped.

In other words, Francis still isn’t changing policy. He’s just reaffirming Catholic policy from fifty years ago, policy that’s slightly less dogmatic than the way it’s usually portrayed.

U.N. officials have called on Latin American countries to loosen their abortion laws to allow women to terminate pregnancies if they fear the fetus may be at risk for microcephaly, a rare birth defect that causes brain damage and may be linked to the virus.

But Francis told reporters, “Taking one life to save another, that’s what the Mafia does. It’s a crime. It’s an absolute evil.”

So if you’ve found out that your fetus will likely never develop normal brain function; or if you have an ectopic pregnancy; and decide to abort, well, then apparently that makes you just like the Mafia.

Pope Francis Might Not Be A Liberal Savior After All

BillDo, the founder and sole apparent member of the Catholic League, has decided to make himself useful by listing a number of things Pope Frankie Goes to Vatican has said that may not entirely square up with some people’s image of him as the liberalest theologian since Hippie Jesus.

A lot of these quotations are short, and thus I suspect that they’re as cherry-picked as anything, but some of them stood out to me (emphasis added by me, throughout):

“Those with alternative teachings and doctrines [have] a partial belonging to the church. [They] have one foot outside the church. They rent the church.”

which sounds like “make up your minds. Do you want to control your sex lives with contraception, or do you want communion?”

“The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a ‘false compassion,’ that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to ‘produce’ a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others. Instead, the compassion of the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that is, the compassion of the Good Samaritan, who ‘sees,’ ‘has compassion,’ approaches and provides concrete help.”

No, you don’t get to control when you have kids or how many, nor do you get any say in when you die. Sorry not sorry.

“If someone says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.

Not a big fan of the US First Amendment, or of article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I’m guessing.

“If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”

Sure, we love gays! At least, as long as they repent and promise to stop acting gay in public.

“Gender ideology is demonic!”

On the issue of women priests:

“The Church has spoken and said: ‘No.’ John Paul II said it, but with a definitive formulation. That door is closed.”


As I said, this is BillDo we’re talking about, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were spinning some or all of these quotations to fit his right-wing agenda. But I don’t think it’s all him. I’m pretty sure that while Francis may seem progressive in the Vatican, elsewhere that just makes him slightly less reactionary than other cardinals.

Homophobic Pope Distances Self From Homophobic Clerk

The Associated press reports that

The Vatican on Friday distanced Pope Francis from Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, saying she was one of dozens of people the pope greeted in the U.S. and that their meeting “should not be considered a form of support of her position.”

The article goes on to quote a spokesman (I almost wrote spokesperson, but then remembered that this is the Vatican we’re talking about) that the pope meets with lots of people, and doesn’t necessarily agree with — or even know anything about — all of them.

So basically, Kim Davis is like a stereotypical teenage girl who’s over the moon because One Direction waved to her from on stage at a concert, and she imagines herself BFF with the band. Meanwhile, Harry Styles is all, “Who?”.

I do note that Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman (remember? I was talking about the pope a moment ago) is quoted as saying,

“The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” Lombardi said.

The emphasized weasel words allow the Vatican to play it both ways: they’ll be able to either agree or disagree with her in the future, depending what’s more convenient at the time, because hey, Davis’s position is complex.

And by the way, I’d like to welcome our conservative friends: for years, pope Francis has been quoted by the media as saying some reasonably liberal and forward-thinking things (“Who am I to judge [gay people]?”), and then his people come back a day or two later and explain that ha ha no, he didn’t actually mean it (“no, gays can’t marry or form relationships or have sex, but if they want to come to church and confess that they’re sinners, we welcome them.”). This time, he just did it with a conservative cause instead of a liberal one.