Pope Francis has not yet responded to allegations that he enabled and empowered known sex abusers. But he has taken the time to warn Catholic bishops against “falling into moralistic or elitist postures.”
“Love for the Gospel, and for the people who have been entrusted to us, challenges us to broaden our horizons and not lose sight of the mission to which we are called. In this way we shall aim for an even greater good that will benefit all of us. Without this disposition, all of our efforts will be in vain,” Francis said Wednesday during a Mass for the 15th ordinary general assembly of the synod, which runs through Oct. 28.
“The gift of that ability to listen, sincerely and prayerfully, as free as possible from prejudice and conditioning, will help us to be part of those situations which the people of God experience. Listening to God, so that with him we can listen to the cry of the people; listening to our people, so that we can breathe in with them the desire to which God calls us,” Francis said.
He added, “This disposition protects us from the temptation of falling into moralistic or elitist postures, and it protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people.”
Speaking of touching things, the synod’s theme this year is “Young people, the faith, and vocational discernment.” And speaking of young people, Francis still hasn’t responded to accusations he turned a blind eye to allegations that top-ranking church officials sexually abused minors.
I understand Francis’ public persona revolves around ideas like “Who am I to judge?” But this would be a good time for him to ease up a bit on sounding too judgmental. He is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and it is suffering from a terrible sickness. It isn’t isolated to just a few low-level priests. Individuals as powerful and well-placed as former Cardinals George Pell and Theodore McCarrick stand credibly accused of molesting children or attacking adult men. Others stand accused of enabling abusers and covering up their crimes.
Francis himself stands accused of enabling men like McCarrick. Yet, the pope won’t respond to the accusations.
"I will not say a single word on this," he told reporters on Aug. 26. "I think this statement speaks for itself, and you have the sufficient journalistic capacity to draw conclusions. When some time passes and you have your conclusions, maybe I will speak. But I would like that your professional maturity carries out this task."
Vatican officials said on Sept. 10 they were preparing a response to allegations Francis knowingly empowered McCarrick. It is now Oct. 4.
Francis’ response to this scandal so far has been to say that Satan is working to expose the church's institutionalized horror. He’s going to have to do a lot more if he wants to rescue the church from this crisis.