Vatican Searching for Good News in Ireland

Pope Francis and the Church are caught in a deluge. The pope is issuing a series of mea culpas re Church history of child abuse, cover-ups, and special atrocities unique to Ireland. And now there are new charges that Pope Francis personally covered-up abuse problems. The Vatican is desperate for some good news. They think they found some in the testimony of Sister Marie Collins, the former abuse victim who had resigned in protest from the pope’s special commission on child abuse. But they are ignoring the facts.

Sister Collins initially accused Pope Francis of having nothing new to say, and added, “In answer to [my] question of setting up a tribunal and what sort of concrete measures there's going to be, it would appear that there's not going to be anything more.” Still, the Catholic press found something positive (here).

Marie Collins also noted: “I said, 'If [tribunals] are being held and bishops are being sanctioned ... then you should be telling us about it, you should be making it known…. Not that they can just walk away and resign, as if it was by choice.'” Collins said Pope Francis agreed: “He said that was a good point, and he would do something about it.” Something positive!! What more can you ask for?

Marie Collins’ summary of the meeting was not all negative: “The fact that there's nothing new being planned or brought in, to me, is disappointing. But, if he's going to follow through and actually be more transparent about what's happening with bishops and if they are being held accountable in some way and that's going to be made more public ... I suppose that's a step forward.” The Catholic press had its good news.


Sister Collins not only has faith, she has hope. Moreover, her faith and hope seem to overpower her memory. Over a year ago, after her resignation created a minor uproar, she had a private interview with Pope Francis. He promised her that he would make some (unspecified) improvements in the Church’s handling of child abuse. She left the interview with a positive outlook (The Pope’s Child Abuse Commission – An Update).

That was over a year ago. Sister Collins seems unaware that Pope Francis never took any of the actions that he promised. Perhaps she has forgotten. She has lots of company. No one seems to remember that Pope Francis has been promising “Zero Tolerance!” for over five years. He promised a series of changes to ensure that children are protected, and that abusers and those who cover up such abuse are punished.

But five years of promises and assurances have not resulted in any significant actions. Nor are there any indications that meaningful action is on the way. The lack of any awareness suggests a truly miraculous mass hypnosis. This hypnosis not only affected the religious press, but also the mainstream press. Evidently God cast a plague on memory.


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