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Letter #9, 2018: A Need for Truth

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"As for my own responsibility, I acknowledge... that I have made serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation, especially because of the lack of truthful and balanced information."—Pope Francis, Letter to the Bishops of Chile, signed on April 8, Divine Mercy Sunday, but released in Rome and Chile yesterday, April 11. The "serious mistakes" the Pope mentions have to do with accusations of negligence and covering up sexual abuse made against a priest in Chile. The Pope was persuaded that the accusations, made against Father Juan Barros, were untrue, and in 2015, despite criticism, made Barros a bishop. However, following an investigation carried out in February by Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Pope has come to believe the accusations of negligence were in fact valid. Hence this letter

"When they delivered to me the report... they acknowledged before me having felt overwhelmed with the pain of so many victims of grave abuses of conscience and power and, in particular, of the acts of sexual abuse committed by various consecrated men of your country against minors." —Ibid.


A Need for Truth

Yesterday, the Vatican made public a remarkable letter Pope Francis has written to the bishops of Chile.

In the letter, Francis admits making "serious mistakes" in handling Chile's scandalous sexual abuse crisis, and asked for forgiveness.

Below is the actual text of the Pope's letter, and a useful Catholic News Agency (CNA) article by Elise Harris, which lays out the background of this case.

But what is striking about all of this is the light it sheds on a pathology of decision-making which can lead to poor, or certainly less than optimal, decisions in governments from Washington D.C. to Moscow to Beijing to Berlin to Brussels, and everywhere in between — and not least, in Vatican City itself — due to lack of truth-telling.


We, all of us, need truth as we need light and air. And equally, to avoid lies, as we would avoid the "Father of Lies," the devil — about whom Pope Francis speaks at such length toward the end of his latest Apostolic Exhortation. "When he lies," Jesus says of the devil, "he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Truth is the source of freedom, as Christ taught: "The truth shall set you free" (John 8:32). And freedom is the happy condition, not of the imprisoned or enslaved, longing to be set free, but of free sons and daughters. So the truth not only sets us free, but brings us happiness, blessedness.

In all human institutions, due to human imperfection, individuals fear to speak the complete truth. The fear stems from an understandable, but ultimately corrosive, counter-productive, desire to avoid "hard truths" that will require confession, repentance, and the need to make reforms, to change direction — all hard things.

This desire to avoid the seemingly bitter consequences of truth is the source of cover-ups.

And in the case that the Pope speaks of in this letter, there ws a cover-up. A cover-up which included not telling the truth to the Pope himself.

How could this have happened? How could priests and bishops have covered for each other, misleading even the Pope?

Because of a departure from the truth; because of an embrace of lies. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive" (from the poem Marmion, published by Sir Walter Scott in 1808).

Why did this happen in the Vatican, under Francis?

The answer, in part, has to do with how all courts function, and in part, with how this particular "court" under Francis functions.

Courts are particularly subject to the pathology of "cutting corners" with the truth, of covering up the truth, in order not to worry the king or ruler, often viewed as semi-divine.

The Vatican, at least up until Francis — but also since the arrival of Francis — is one of the world's great courts, perhaps the greatest, since it is the court of the successor of Peter and of the Vicar of Christ.

The Vatican of St. John Paul II was not free from this pathology — we all know of some cases where John Paul was "protected" from being told "hard truths." The case of the founder of the Legionaries is an example.

Nor was the Vatican of Benedict XVI free of this pathology. The publication of the "Vati-leaks" papers was justified by the Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, who stole the papers from the Pope's desk, by the argument that the Pope was not being told many things he needed to know, so those things needed to be brought into the light. Not long after, Pope Benedict resigned his post.

Under Pope Francis, a culture has grown up in the Pope's inner circles which claim to present the truth of all matters to the Pope, but which in fact — as this case proves — effectively shields him from many "hard truths." One of those "hard truths" was that a bishop he was appointing to a diocese in Chile had been accused many times, rightly, of covering up the sexual molesting of young men.

This lack of telling the truth has in recent years caused great harm in the Church.

And in the Vatican itself.

So what is to be done?

It is time that a culture of "truth-telling" should replace the understandable but ultimately pathological culture of not speaking the truth in order to "protect the Church" or to "protect the Pope."

We need a healthy "culture of truth-telling" in our universities, businesses, dioceses, governments, military units, monasteries and convents and families, and we need it in the Vatican, too, or we will fall, in all of these institutions, into the black holes of lies and coverups.

This is the true reform in the court that is the Vatican that Pope Francis can still make, and should make.

Francis can institute procedures to hear the various arguments, the pros and cons, on various contested matters, and so come to a more complete knowledge of the truth on many issues regarding which, up to now, he has listened primarily to a relatively small group of like-minded men whose views seem to exclude a whole series of views not now in favor in Rome.

Such procedures could be instituted almost immediately. They would help the papal court to avoid this type of scandal in the future.



Pope Francis admits 'serious mistakes' in Chile sexual abuse case

By Elise Harris (link)

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2018 / 01:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a letter addressed to Chile's bishops, Pope Francis admitted to making “serious mistakes” in handling the nation's massive sexual abuse crisis and asked for forgiveness. The Pope summoned Chile’s bishops to Rome to address the issue, and invited victims to meet with him as well.

Referring to a recent investigation of abuse cover-up in Chile carried out by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Pope Francis said that after a “slow reading” of the report, “I can affirm that all the testimonies collected speak in a stark manner, without additives or sweeteners, of many crucified lives and I confess that this has caused me pain and shame.”

Francis admitted to misjudging the severity of the affair, telling Chile's bishops that “I have made serious mistakes in the judgement and perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information.”

He asked the bishops to “faithfully communicate” this recognition, and he apologized to all those he might have offended.

In addition, he summoned all of Chile's 32 bishops to Rome to discuss the conclusions of Scicluna's report in the third week of May, where they will discussion the conclusions of the report as well the pope's own conclusions on the matter.

In his letter, signed April 8, Divine Mercy Sunday, Francis said he wants the meeting to be “a fraternal moment, without prejudices or preconceived ideas, with the sole objective of making the truth shine in our lives.”

The decision to summon an entire bishops’ conference to Rome is remarkably significant. Nothing of the nature has happened since April 2002, when John Paul II met with 12 of 13 U.S. Cardinals, eight of whom headed major dioceses, and two high-level representatives of the USCCB at the Vatican to address the abuse crisis in the United States, and told them they had handled the situation wrong.

In a tweet after an April 11 press conference on the letter in Chile, Jaime Coiro, spokesman for the Chilean bishops conference, said that in the coming weeks Pope Francis will also meet with some victims of abuse carried out by Chilean clergy, asking each one personally for forgiveness.

In comments to the media, Coiro recognized the damage done to minors who were abused, saying “we were not able to care for them adequately.” The coming weeks, he said, will be “an intense renewal of our vocation and mission” for the Church in Chile.

The Pope's letter comes after Scicluna made a Feb. 19-25 visit to the United States and Chile to investigate accusations of negligence on the part of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who has been accused of covering up abuse of his long-time friend Fernando Karadima.

While on the ground, Scicluna interviewed some 64 people related to the accusations and compiled an report that is some 2,300 pages long, which he delivered to Pope Francis March 20.

In 2011, Karadima was found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sexually abusing several minors during the 1980s and 1990s, and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.

Opponents of Barros have been vocal since his 2015 appointment to lead the Diocese of Osorno, with many, including a number of Karadima's victims, accusing the bishop of covering up the abuse, and also also at times participating.

In addition to Barros, Karadima's victims have also accused three other Chilean bishops who had been close to Karadima – Andrés Arteaga, Tomislav Koljatic and Horacio Valenzuela – of cover-up.

Despite the protests, Barros has maintained his innocence, saying he didn't know the abuse was happening.

Sursa: www.InsideTheVatican.com

Contor Accesări: 37, Ultimul acces: 2019-01-16 05:31:30