Pope Francis Warns Peru of Corruption

Pope Francis’ earlier message in Chile on child abuse blew up in his face. I hope to return to it. In Peru, Francis decided to change the subject to corruption, calling it a “social virus” that “infects everything, with the greatest harm being done to the poor and mother earth” (here). The President of Peru, Pedro Kuczynski, recently escaped impeachment for bribery. Pope Francis chose to cast the first stone.

Francis said “Corruption is preventable and calls for commitment on the part of all. I encourage and urge all those in positions of authority, in whatever sphere, to insist on this path.” He called for “a culture of transparency among public entities, the private sector and civil society…. And I do not exclude church communities.”

Inés San Martín, the #2 person at CRUX and a leading papal cheerleader, prophesied of “words or gestures by a pope that may seem banal to external audiences instead strike locals as a thunderclap.” But the thunderclap may be directed at Rome, not Lima.

While Pope Francis calls for transparency, he fails to practice what he preaches. When he took office, he had two priorities, reflecting different types of corruption. The first was financial, and he appointed Cardinal Pell of Australia to lead the reform. Cardinal Pell is currently in Australia on trial for child abuse. Moneyval, the European financial monitor, recently reviewed the Vatican Bank, and flunked it [Vatican Bank Flunks Again]. While preaching transparency, Pope Francis refused to grant Moneyval its customary access to the accounts of the Vatican Bank. Instead, Pope Francis claimed sovereign immunity. Other financial reforms at the Vatican have also failed.

Pope Francis’ other priority was the Church’s child abuse scandal. This too has been a fiasco, and was the source of his earlier embarrassment in Chile. Pope Francis continues to reject calls for transparency, refusing to share information with legal authorities unless they pass laws requiring him to. Even then, the pope’s track record leaves much to be desired; as a last resort, he uses sovereign immunity to protect highly-placed sex offenders. His special papal commission on  child abuse has been an abject failure. Its term expired without yielding any significant accomplishments.

The Roman Catholic Church has long been one of the most corrupt institutions on earth. Martin Luther protested against its corruption. His primary complaints involved sales of indulgences and other corrupt practices – not theology. The Church was anything but transparent and cooperative in reforming. Since those halcyon days, the Church has lost over three-quarters of its flock. By its fruit you shall know them. This is not the fruit of a good shepherd. Under Pope Francis, this trend continues, accompanied by a profusion of propaganda to disguise the facts.