Is the criticism of the Pope justified?

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has accused Pope Francis in a letter of having covered up allegations of abuse against the former archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick to protect the "gay lobby" in the Vatican. Just before Viganò made his accusations the Pope had harshly condemned the cases of abuse within the Catholic Church. Criticism of the Pope and the Church should not go too far, commentators warn.

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Index (HU) /

Francis's resignation would help no one

With his accusations against Francis the former Vatican ambassador to Washington Carlo Viganò has failed to achieve his stated objective, Index concludes:

“Pope Francis has just made a historical gesture by announcing a zero-tolerance policy and also apologising for the sexual abuse and abuse of power. Viganò's letter (containing the accusations) casts a shadow on this historic moment and attempts to overwrite it. But he contradicts himself: if his goal is to ensure that the Church does everything to prevent such cases from being covered up in the future, then precisely for this reason Pope Francis must be left in office and not called on to resign.” (IE) /

Good deeds of the Church shouldn't be forgotten

Despite all the criticism of the Church one must not lose sight of the fact that it has done much to improve conditions in Europe over the centuries, theologian Thomas Finegan writes on

“Under Church influence infanticide (usually directed against baby girls), a father's power of life and death over his family, gladiatorial 'shows', and the disfigurement of criminals were ended before the collapse of the Roman Empire, while slavery was eradicated from Western society centuries before the Renaissance. ... In relation to disability, the Church was one of the few prominent opponents of the eugenics movement of the early 20th century.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

The Church as a foul cesspit

Francis's legacy hangs in the balance, De Volkskrant comments:

“For the first time the pope's white robes have been stained by the enormous cesspit that has engulfed the entire Church in a stinking haze. ... The worldwide abuse scandal is the biggest crisis to hit the Catholic Church since the Reformation. How Francis deals with it will ultimately decide what kind of Church he leaves behind him and how he himself will be remembered. ... So far, however, not much has changed. On the contrary: the lower he prostrates himself, the louder the criticism. That's also why cover-ups have been such a frequently used instrument in the Vatican up to now. He who dredges a cesspit can't avoid the stink.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Accusations must not be ignored

Even if Viganò is one of the pope's worst enemies that does not mean that there is no substance to the accusations, Vatican expert Massimo Franco points out in Corriere della Sera:

“Monsignor Viganò's initiative does not betoken a great deal of noble mindedness. At the very least one can't help wondering why the former apostolic nuncio waited five years before coming out with his mortifying truths. It's hard to avoid the suspicion that behind the desire for justice lies a thirst for revenge and manoeuvring on the part of Francis's enemies. Nevertheless, that changes nothing in the contents of the report, which documents meetings, names and circumstances which, while they must not necessarily be taken at face value, at the same time cannot simply be shrugged off as the results of a conspiracy. Because that would be to trivialise an affair that is worrying, to say the least.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

Traditionalists fighting back

The Church is in the throes of a power struggle, Dnevnik surmises:

“The letter attacks a mafia-like conspiratorial silence among the Church leadership and widespread homosexuality in the Catholic Church. Perhaps what we are seeing is a concerted attack on the part of the traditionalists, who are unhappy about what Pope Francis said in Ireland. The pope is confronted with crises on all sides, a consequence of the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church in the US, Australia and Chile. We have not seen the end of this story by a long shot.”