Bird’s Eye View of the News
Even recently in a preface to the book My Father, I Forgive You by Daniel Pittet, a victim of clergy sexual abuse, issued two weeks ago, he wrote: “How can a priest at the service of Christ and his Church cause so much harm? How can someone who devoted his life to lead children to God end up instead to devour them in what I called a diabolical sacrifice that destroys both the victim and the life of the Church? …
“We have stated that it is our duty to be extremely strict with the priests who betray their mission and with their Hierarchy – Bishops or Cardinals – who might protect them, as has happened in the past.” (Aleteia)
Fr. Mauro Inzoli, convicted of child abuse and defrocked by Benedict XVI, receives Francis' mercy...
However, when it comes to applying the words to the deeds, Francis has been inconsistent, contradictory or even hypocritical. This is what anyone can conclude after taking the time to read a summary of news reports about the approach to pedophile priests taken by the present day Vatican under Bergoglio’s direction.
Let me analyze some recent cases, the first being that of Fr. Mauro Inzoli, a priest of the Diocese of Crema, Italy.
He was one of the leading figures in the Communione e Liberazione (CL) movement, which is an important conservative movement for youth with a remarkable presence on the Italian religious panorama. He also was rector of the Shakespeare Language Institute, president of the Food Bank (Banco Alimentare), pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Crema and leader of the local Fraternity of the CL program.
Inzoli – defined by the court judge as “very well known and charismatic” – abused the authority that came with his position and took advantage of his frequent contacts with youth to induce a large number of them to have sexual contacts with him. His victims were so numerous and his proclivities so notorious among the young people that Inzoli’s advances toward minor age boys became a motif for jokes among the youth.
What was his technique to induce boys to let him touch and caress them? He would use religion to justify his depraved tendencies and tell them that the way a father shows religious affection for his son is for the former to touch the genitals of the latter. It was an Old Testament practice, Inzoli alleged.
The debauched priest used any opportunity – vacation trips with youth, visits to hospitals, spiritual direction and even the confessional – to seduce his victims. He also kissed and embraced boys and had other sexual contacts not specified in the news reports I read. (La Repubblica, November 25, 2016) I did not find an accusation of explicit sodomy, but it would not surprise me if it occurred.
Complaints about this known behavior were sent to the religious authorities by the priest’s victims; they went up through the system until reaching the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). By this time the CDF had taken over the cases of pedophile abuses by priests, thus far treated with too much complacence by the Congregation of the Clergy. In 2012, Mauro Inzoli was defrocked. (The Week, January 3, 2017). This was something good done by Benedict XVI, who, nevertheless, was not exempt of complacence himself in these matters, as TIA writers have pointed out several times at that time (here, here and here).
Against the CDF regulations Inzoli attended a public conference for families, second row – no consequences
Independent of this extremely suspicious Vatican leniency, a civil law suit against Mauro Inzoli continued its course, and in November 25, 2016, the court judge of Cremona Letizia Platè found him guilty and sentenced the priest to 4 years and 9 months in prison. This sentence was based on evidence presented by 5 victims, who were at the time of the abuses – from 2004 to 2008 – between 12 and 16 years of age. The sentence added that “an extensive number of victims of minor age” was abused “since the middle of the 1990s” but their cases could not be prosecuted due to expiration of the statute of limitations. (La Repubblica, November 25, 2016; Il Giorno, November 25, 2016)
Obstruction of justice
Another action of the Vatican extremely symptomatic of its cover up for Inzoli was its refusal to deliver the complete dossier of data about the defendant that the court requested.
Sen. Franco Bordo accuses the Vatican of protecting Inzoli
The conclusion on the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli is that Francis is taking a schizophrenic approach regarding pedophile priests. He says one thing and does the opposite. I am not making a generalization based on only this single case. I have already analyzed similar procedures in other cases Francis is dealing with (here and here).
I plan to continue to examine such cases in a coming article. The conclusion will the same: Strong words, complacent measures.
Since we have seen analogous measures in the pontificates of John Paul II (here, here, here, here, here and here) and Benedict XVI (here, here, here, here, here and here), I wonder whether this is an established policy of the conciliar Popes. They rigorously combat pedophile priests with words; at the same time they continue the cover up they condemn.