It has now been three days since the Pope was credibly accused of personally covering up sex abuse. The charges against him, originating from a former high-ranking official in the Church who purports to have firsthand knowledge of the cover-up, are detailed and well-documented. They have been corroborated by one other party and the integrity and credibility of Francis’ accuser, Archbishop Vigano, has been confirmed by six other bishops. In light of these allegations, and the rampant corruption and moral rot infecting the Church at every level, many faithful Catholics are confused, heartbroken, and outraged. This is one of the greatest moral crises the Catholic Church has faced in its 2,000 year history.
And what has this Pope said in response?
Nothing. The Pope has said nothing. The Vatican has issued no statement. Well, I shouldn’t say that. It did issue a statement just today — to clarify comments that offended gay people. This is the Vatican’s priority. It cares about soothing the hurt feelings of the LGBT community. As for the spiritual chaos and despair of devout Catholics everywhere, it has no concern at all.
Has anyone else offered a halfway plausible defense of this suddenly mute Pope? The liberal Cardinal Cupich, a disgrace of a man and an embarrassment to Christians everywhere, said Francis is too busy protecting the environment to bother with these allegations. All of the defenses offered for the Pope have been as weak and stupid as that. The leftist media (which has only very recently discovered a burning love for the papacy) claims that this is a “coup” against the innocent Francis waged by dastardly conservatives. Snakes and liars within the Church have attempted to deflect by slandering Archbishop Vigano and accusing him of his own sex abuse cover-up. These accusations are not only false but irrelevant. Call Vigano any name you want to call him. Accuse him of anything — sex abuse cover ups, the JFK assassination, whatever — none of that answers the question: are his claims true? Nobody has answered that question. Nobody has said, simply, “No, they are not true.”
And the weakest defense of all is the one offered by Francis. It is weak because it is non-existent. He offers no defense. He gives us no explanation. He waves us off dismissively, as he has been doing to faithful Catholics for six years. Can it be reasonably imagined that an innocent man would behave this way? The accusations are clear and easily denied if false. If Francis never knew about McCarrick’s predatory behavior, he can say so. If Francis never lifted any sanctions, he can say so. It should not take three days to figure out how to say, “This thing didn’t happen.”
The only explanation that reasonably ties together all of these factors — the accusations, the reaction (or lack thereof) from the bishops, the Pope’s silence — is that Francis is guilty. We still cannot say with certainty that he is guilty, but we can say that everything points to guilt. We have been given no reason to disbelieve the allegations and several reasons to believe them. And, aside from the question of guilt or innocence, Pope Francis has provided us with strong evidence of something else: that he is a coward.