In abuse scandal, Pope stakes his case on evidence, not authority

Crux | 2/9/2018 | Staff
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ROME - In many ways, it’s surprising that Pope Francis’s spontaneous, shoot from the hip style of public speech hasn’t gotten him into serious trouble long before now.

There have been mini-fracases along the way - for instance, what exactly did he mean that Catholics “don’t have to breed like rabbits,” as he put it in a memorable press conference in January 2015 on the way back from the Philippines? - but never enough to put much of a dent in the broad media love affair with Francis.

Anything - Pontiff - Style - Penchant - Plain

If anything, the pontiff’s maverick style and penchant for plain speech has been part of that romance, contrasting favorably with the bland corporate boilerplate one often gets from officialdom.

Now, however, the romance appears to be in crisis, amid intense criticism currently swirling around the pope’s statement on his return flight from a trip to Chile and Peru in late January that sexual victims in Chile asserting that a bishop knew about their abuse and covered it up had not “come forward,” contrasted with aggressive reporting by the Associated Press that a letter from victims outlining those charges had been presented to the pontiff through Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston in 2015.

Matter - Pope - Forward - English - Sense

As a textual matter, the pope didn’t really say “come forward” in the usual English sense of “go public.” What he said, literally, in the original Italian, was, “Non sono venuti, non hanno dato le evidenze per il giudizio,” meaning, “They did not come, they did not give evidence for the judgment.” It seems clear in context he meant they “did not come” to him, meaning placing evidence directly in his hands.

By way of contrast, the fact that the pope actually was presented with details of the charges against Bishop Juan Barros of the Diocese of Osorno three years ago has been known for...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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