Friday, May 18, 2018
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Four months ago, Pope Francis dug himself into the biggest hole of his papacy by strongly defending a Chilean bishop accused by sex abuse victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse.
On Friday, he emerged from that debacle after strong-arming the entire Chilean bishops conference to resign for what he said were their “grave defects” in handling abuse cases. He accused them of destroying evidence of sex crimes, interfering with investigations and negligently placing children at risk of being raped by pedophiles.
By repenting for his original sin with what amounts to an ecclesial nuclear option, Francis has quite possibly ushered in the game-changer in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse crisis.
The mass resignations marked the first time the Vatican has initiated decisive action to hold bishops accountable for covering up sex abuse by priests. And it forced complicit bishops to atone for their misdeeds in the most publicly humiliating way possible.
This is a big deal. The Lavender Mafia is not going to be happy.