The recent publication of a devastating report on Pope Francis in the German news magazine Der Spiegel marks a new phase in the continuing crisis in the Catholic Church. The report (as yet unavailable in English) is entitled: “Thou shalt not lie: The silence of the shepherds.”
Contradicting the widespread image of Pope Francis as a “reformer” concerned to expose clerical sexual abuses within his church and punish the offenders, the report reveals a pope who for years has been indifferent to the complaints of abuse survivors, and has surrounded himself with an inner circle of close advisors, several of whom have been accused of cover-ups. . .
The report is the carefully documented result of hard journalistic work, some of it in Argentina, where Francis, then Jorge Bergoglio, had been cardinal archbishop before his elevation to the papacy in 2013. It also gives voice to ordinary lay Catholics whose complaints about clerical sex abuse Francis has studiously rejected or ignored. These charges do not come from Vatican insiders who want a grudge match with Francis over doctrinal differences.
For example: An Argentine woman, Julieta Añazco, says that a priest sexually abused her when she was six years old. She and 13 other survivors wrote to the pope shortly after his election. They have had no reply. A defender of Argentine abuse survivors, Juan Pablo Gallego, says that in Argentina, Francis is suspected of having protected rapists and child abusers “for years.” This witness points to a certain Fr. Grassi, now in prison for raping teenage boys. Francis ordered a legal report to defend Grassi. . .
Der Spiegel is a major European news outlet with a left-leaning bias. No one could seriously suspect it of wanting to do a hatchet job on Francis because of ideological differences. In fact, early in Francis’ Papacy, Der Spiegel published an adulatory article on him, describing him as a pope who would “clean up the Catholic Church and improve its image.” (Read more from “As Catholic Scandal Unfolds, Pope Francis Looks Increasingly Blameworthy” HERE)