Pope says he trusts people to judge archbishop's claims about him

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM DUBLIN (CNS) — Pope Francis said Archbishop Carlo Maria
Vigano’s long document calling on him to resign is written in a way that people
should be able to draw their own conclusions.

read the statement this morning and, sincerely, I must say this to you and
anyone interested: Read that statement attentively and make your own judgment,”
he told reporters Aug. 26. “I think the statement speaks for itself, and
you have a sufficient journalistic ability to make a conclusion.”

to reporters traveling back to Rome with him from Dublin, the pope said his
lack of comment was “an act of faith” in people reading the document.
“Maybe when a bit of time has passed, I’ll talk about it.”

directly when he first learned of the former Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual abuse,
Pope Francis said the question was related directly to Archbishop Vigano’s
report and he would not comment now.

Vigano, the former nuncio to the United States, claimed he told Pope Francis
about Cardinal McCarrick in 2013.

June, the Vatican announced that the pope had ordered the former Washington
archbishop to live in “prayer and penance” while a canonical process
proceeds against him. The pope later accepted Archbishop McCarrick’s
resignation from the College of Cardinals.

issue of clerical sexual abuse and other crimes and mistreatment of minors and
vulnerable adults by Catholic priests and religious and the attempts by bishops
and superiors to cover up the facts dominated the news coverage of the pope’s
trip to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

pope said his meeting Aug. 25 with survivors of abuse was “very painful,”
but it was very important “to listen to these people.”

Collins, a survivor and former member of the Pontifical Commission for the
Protection of Minors, told reporters after the meeting that she is still
concerned that the pope has not established a tribunal to investigate and hold
accountable bishops accused of failing to protect minors and covering up abuse.

Francis said while he likes and admires Collins, “she is fixated” on
the accountability tribunal, and he believes he has found a more efficient and
flexible way to investigate and try suspected bishops by setting up temporary
tribunals when needed.

pope then went on to describe how “many bishops” had been
investigated and tried, most recently Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana,
Guam. In March an ad hoc apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith found him guilty of “certain accusations.”

Francis said the archbishop has appealed the conviction and, while he has asked
some canon lawyers for input, he plans to make the final judgment on the
archbishop’s case himself.

the archbishop was accused of sexually abusing minors; the tribunal Collins was
talking about was supposed to look specifically at bishops accused of covering
up cases of abuse.

pope immediately welcomed one of the suggestions made during the meeting with
survivors: that he ask publicly and very specifically for forgiveness for the
abuse that took place in a variety of Catholic institutions. The result was a
penitential litany at the beginning of the Mass he celebrated in Dublin Aug. 26
to close the World Meeting of the Families.

Francis said the survivors’ meeting was the first time he had heard details
about the church-run homes for women who were pregnant out of wedlock. Many of
the women were forced to give their babies up for adoption and were even told
that it would be a “mortal sin” to go looking for their children.

now-notorious St. Mary’s home for unmarried mothers and their children in Tuam was
a specific case brought to the pope’s attention personally by Katherine Zappone,
Irish minister for children and youth affairs.

Francis told reporters that Zappone had given him a memo about a “mass
grave” found on the site of one of the homes and “it appears that the
church was involved.”

May 2014 a local amateur historian in Tuam claimed that between 1925 and 1961,
796 infants died in St. Mary’s home. She found burial records only for two of
the children. The rest, she believed, were buried in a common grave on the
site, including in a former septic tank. The home was run by the Bon Secours
congregation of nuns.

Irish government is still in the process of trying to determine the best way to
remember the victims and decide what to do with the Tuam site.

by reporters what lay Catholics can do about the clerical abuse scandal, Pope
Francis responded, “When you see something, say something
immediately,” preferably to someone with the authority to investigate and
stop it.

role of the media is important for getting the truth out, he said, but
journalists should be careful to write about accusations “always with the
presumption of innocence, not a presumption of guilt.”

pleaded with Catholic parents to listen to their children, even if the thought
of a priest abusing them is horrifying. Stating again that he often meets on
Fridays with survivors of abuse, he told reporters, “I met a woman who has
suffered with this wound for 40 years because her parents would not believe

the inflight news conference, Pope Francis also was asked about Ireland’s
legalization of gay marriage and what advice he would give the parent of a gay

would I say to a parent whose son or daughter had that tendency? I would say
first, pray. Don’t condemn. Dialogue, understand, make room for that son or
daughter, make room so he can express himself,” the pope said.

would never say silence is a remedy,” he said. And “to ignore one’s
son or daughter who has a homosexual tendency is a failure of fatherhood or

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Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden

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