1. “The pope is more plausibly and likely guilty than innocent, and I strongly believe he is guilty.”
2. “The pope is more plausibly and likely innocent than guilty, and I strongly believe he is innocent.”
3. The charges are worthy of serious consideration. Wait till a full and impartial investigation is made to make a judgment. Every man — even a lowly and/or despised pope! — deserves the right to defend himself (and/or to be defended). Innocent until proven guilty.
IF Pope Francis knew about specific cases of abuses (which would, of course, be determined by a full and complete investigation, which might include some bishops but in my opinion, they should be a small proportion of it) and did nothing, then he should resign, as should every priest and bishop who either committed these heinous acts or enabled / covered up for them. Ultra-zero tolerance . . .
Most folks I have observed talking about this seem to hold either #1 or #2 (and the positions usually correspond with what the person has thought of Pope Francis previous to this mess). A lesser number (so goes my impression, anyway) hold to #3, as I do (expressed in my initial reaction to this crisis on Facebook).
Further thoughts in the Facebook combox where I first posted this:
I didn’t like [the pope’s initial non-reply] either, but couldn’t it be construed as like “taking the 5th”? Or even beyond that: “these charges aren’t worthy of any reply”? I think they are worthy of a reply, just as I thought the pope would do well to answer the Dubia, but I’m just saying that his non-reply is not, for me, immediately a deal-breaker, because it could have a plausible rationale besides guilt.
I don’t take one man’s opinion as gospel truth regarding anything. It has to be investigated and substantiated. If true, it’s extremely troubling, but I say we don’t know that yet.
If we can’t even treat a pope fairly and give him due process, then we have lost the Catholic Church (as it has been understood and loved these past 2000 years) no matter what is eventually determined. We’re trying to preserve the Catholic worldview, but it’ll be a miracle if we come out of this with any semblance of the traditional Catholic respect and reverence for popes, as opposed to some kind of watered-down Orthodox or even Anglican view of ecclesiology.
Is Pope Francis perfect? No.
Is the behavior of his legions of critics perfect? No.
As usual, there is plenty of blame to be spread around.
Why didn’t [Pope Benedict] crack down and enforce [his censure of McCarrick]?: is the question. I suspect immense force was put on him not to: putting him in the no-win situation that Blessed Pope Paul VI was in after Humanae Vitae. He, too, wrote profound truths, but arguably didn’t “enforce” them very well. We know that that was likely due to a real prospect of a serious schism at the time (I learned this from Fr. Hardon, who was his adviser). Pope Benedict may have faced that, and it was simply too much for him, and he wanted out.
Just thinking out loud . . .
[see also a second Facebook discussion thread on this post]
The Sex Scandals Are Not a Reason to Reject Catholicism [National Catholic Register, 8-24-18]
Does the Bible Condemn Homosexual Sex? [9-17-06; expanded on 8-27-18]
Photo credit: CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then-apostolic nuncio to the United States, distributed Communion during the opening Mass of a National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Jan. 21, 2016. [re-posted at Crux: 12 April 2016]