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Why the Fading Credibility of Pope Francis Should Worry More than Just Catholics

Depletion of trust and confidence in public and private institutions is happening across the board and leads to more, not less, government.

VaticanMedia-Foto/CPP / Polaris/NewscomVaticanMedia-Foto/CPP / Polaris/Newscom"POPE FRANCIS MASS IN IRELAND HAS LOW ATTENDANCE AMID ABUSE SCANDAL REVELATIONS," blares a recent headline in Newsweek, which reports that "less than one-quarter of the crowd expected to attend Pope Francis's mass in Phoenix Park, Dublin, came to the...event, amid large-scale protests against child sex abuse in the church." The rock star Pope John Paul II, the magazine notes further, managed to pull over 2.5 million Irish Catholics to a Mass back in 1979.

Nobody can tell exactly how much the abuse scandals hurt the turnout for Francis in Ireland, but this much we can say with a fair degree of certainty: The ongoing revelations of abuse and, perhaps even more important, refusal of those in charge to even address the issue, aren't helping.

Pope Francis has just been accused by an archbishop and former Vatican diplomat of actively protecting former American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who faces many charges of abuse and was removed from public life by Pope Benedict. "Read the statement [against me] carefully and make your own judgment... I will not say a single word on this," Francis has responded.

In a remarkable interview with a local TV station, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago said that many of the pope's detractors are biased against him because he is from Latin America and averred that "the Pope has a bigger agenda... He's got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We're not going to go down a rabbit hole on this."

Such reactions from actual Church leaders are made even worse by defenders such as Catholic League President William Donohue. In response to a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that documented decades of abuse by priests and others in positions of power, Donohue, writes The Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson, insists on Jesuitically "trying to distinguish between forced fellatio and rape."

The Catholic Church is facing a hell of a backlash. Even though many of the revelations of abuse are about crimes committed decades ago, the unwillingness to openly address the issue now is rightly a major concern to Catholics and helps to explain why their numbers in America, especially once immigrants are factored out, are declining).

This is all of obvious concern to Catholics, but the Church's failure to earn back lost confidence and trust should be of concern to non-Catholics as well. Across the board, from major religious institutions to the media to the government, the United States is becoming a low-trust country. The major consequence of that isn't simply people getting on with their lives. It often ends in calls for more and more government intervention into all aspects of life, even when people believe the government either to be corrupt or incompetent:

In "low-trust countries"... citizens "support government regulation, fully recognizing that such regulation leads to corruption." As an example, they point to differing attitudes toward government-mandated wages in former socialist countries that transitioned to market economies. "Approximately 92 percent of Russians and 82 percent of East Germans favor wage control," they write, naming two low-trust populations. In Scandinavia, Great Britain, and North American countries, where there are higher levels of trust in the public and private sectors, less than half the population does.

That's from work by Philippe Aghion, Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, and Andrei Shleifer (read more about it here).

Figuratively speaking, we are evacuating many major, long-lived institutions. Or, nearly the same thing, we're recognizing that many arrangements and organizations in our lives are played out. Fewer of us identify as Republican and Democrat, we're more secular, and we're less likely to be married than a few decades back. None of these is a bad thing but when our major private and public institutions fail us, trust declines and, all too often, government increases.

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  • Homple||

    The outfit lost its credibility with the coup that replaced Benedict with Francis.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't know those two names but I think Newsweek still has plenty credibility left.

  • Fats of Fury||

    At least a dollar's worth.

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    If they boot Pope Francis, maybe this time we'll get a badass pope like Urban II.

    #MRCCGA

  • Agammamon||

    I mean, he did a great turn as Dread, but I don't know if he has what it takes to actually head the Church.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Pope Ultron I

    "The world has need of a fiery cleansing!"

  • Curly4||

    buybuydandavis, yes and that fiery cleansing is coming sooner than most will want it.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Not with the genocide of the Cathars?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Blasphemers! They thought Jesus wasn't coeternal with God! They needed to BURN! And they did! And they are!"

  • Curly4||

    All sin and sinner will burn up after the return of Jesus Christ at the end of time.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I'm feeling a little toasty right now

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    To think that the appointment of Pope Virtue Signal--a pope whose time in the seat has been devoted primarily to pandering to worldly institutions in order to garner their praise as a progressive thinker--was meant to serve as a sop to the media following similar scandals during Benedict's tenure.

  • John's broseph||

    Very happy that reason is covering this angle of the Catholic affair. The structures that surround us will always exist, the difference is whether or not those will be voluntary institutions like a church or if it will be an involuntary state.

    Unfortunately proponents of large government realize that and that's why they do what they can to dismantle other competing institutions.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yeah, it's not as clearcut as you claim. Both seek to crush the spirit of the individual.

  • John's broseph||

    Even under that deluded view of what churches do, an individual can avoid having their spirit crushed by simply not showing up. Whereas you cannot avoid the state. Compare skipping church service vs skipping your vehicle registration renewal.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    It is not as simple as that. If a person in certain parts of the country decides to not go to church anymore, it often means breaking with their family. Compare being disowned by your family to getting a ticket for an expired registration.

  • John's broseph||

    A person could be disowned by their family for a whole host of reasons, are you saying the concept of a family is just as tyrannical as the State?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    What? No. I am saying organized religion can be just as destructive as the State. Historically, the throne and the altar were often in cahoots.

  • TLBD||

    Organized religion has only been really destructive when it teams with the state and gets the monopoly on force.

  • Kivlor||

    Chipper, maybe you're not making the point you intend to, but it logically follows from both this post, and the previous one, that the family is just as tyrannical as the state, because the family can disown you. Church isn't necessary for that, but a family is.

  • Curly4||

    And it will be here in the US before the end of time.

  • DarrenM||

    When has organized religion been destructive most recently? When has a State been destructive most recently? At what scale? Notice anything?

  • Hank Phillips||

    So being burned alive at the stake after having one's knees crushed with wedges is a milder reprimand than ordinary torture and a firing squad?

  • Azathoth!!||

    Apparently 'when' is half a millennium ago.

  • Benitacanova||

    The only religions that practice shunning aren't really religions: they're cults.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think things like the church, voluntary institutions, do more to magnify individuality than you give credit for. Everything from the mother Church to the Eagles Lodge, to your DnD group are all voluntary commitments and are repeated voluntary commitments.

    Individuality is something that takes effort, it's a muscle. And these choices strengthen it, it defines oneself.

    Government is the opposite, it is atrophy.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I get where you are coming from, BUCS. However, there is a great deal of political indoctrination that happens in American churches, much of it to glorify foreign interventionism.

  • ace_m82||

    All the while ignoring:

    Thou Shalt not murder.
    The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you Numbers 15:15
    Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. Exodus 23:9
    I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice... Malachi 3:5
    The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me. Leviticus 25:23

    Yeah, God has lots to say about how to treat foreigners...

  • Horny Lizard||

    You know you could have gone with Daily Mail's "Nuns torturing and murdering children: I saw a nun throw a child from a window killing him".

  • Fats of Fury||

    I saw Goody Proctor consorting with the devil.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    lol

  • DajjaI||

    Yes this is a very good thing. We're relying more on ourselves and not putting all our faith in institutions. We just need to start scaling back funding slowly over time. E.g. Rand Paul's "Penny plan" for deficit reduction. Also we are finally holding child predators accountable. This is huge because despite all the rules in the bible for how to live, there are no explicit prohibitions for child sexual abuse. In fact, the bible seems to condone it in places such as when discussing the rules of wartime conquest. The fact that we recognize this independently and have succeeded for the most part in stopping it represents huge progress in human development and we ought to give ourselves a hearty pat on the back. However we still have a long way to go as far as ending war, because this is really just modern day child sacrifice and it is abominable. However I have faith. The key is preserving freedom in the US and spreading it to other countries. Restrictions only strengthen the government which then provide an incentive for everyone to try to come to power either through politics or violence, to gain control of the reins.

  • Brian||

    It's almost like people keep trying harder and harder, to create a system they distrust and dispise more and more.

  • SchillMcGuffin||

    The trick seems to be in the concept of "trust". The less one trusts a wielder of power, the more one wants to limit their discretion in using it, and thus the growth of micromanaging codified law. While we, as libertarians, favor limiting the power rather than just the discretion, a majority of people seem to accept the power as a given -- "Well, somebody's got to run/regulate "X", or it'd be chaos!" And that belief tends to hold fast even as faith in institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, declines.

    Perhaps that's the most unfortunate negative of democracy -- it makes it easier to preserve the unjustified hope that government power will be used "wisely", if we can just get the right people elected to wield it. Citizens of dictatorships can hold out that hope too (and it retains a certain resonance -- witness the folkloric tradition of good kings from Camelot up to Wakanda), but instead of waiting for a new generation of kings/chairmen, a democracy pretends they're only the next election away.

  • Hank Phillips||

    No problemo. Papa Pederastio and Elena Ceausescu both got degrees in chemistry and both wanted men with guns to force women into involuntary labor. I'm sure their motives were altruistic and collective. There's plenty more room in the dustbin of History.

  • Rich||

    many of the pope's detractors are biased against him because he is from Latin America

    ¡Ay, caramba!

  • Fats of Fury||

    Take back your Rumba, Ay, your Samba, Ay, your Pedófila, Ay Yai yai. South America, take it away.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Argentine Senate recently voted to keep them uppity females in their place with coathanger abortions. The Catholic masses applauded and are still dancing on their knees.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You really are obsessed with baby murder, aren't you?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm not Catholic, but the view from the outside?

    I've come to associate the Catholic church more and more with what they used to call "liberation theology".

    "The Case Against Liberation Theology"

    New York Times, 1984

    http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10.....ology.html

    I suppose it was only natural for John Paul II to oppose the marriage of Catholicism and Marxism back when communism was actively persecuting Christianity. With Ratzinger gone, the rest of church nowadays looks like it's all about Marxism and class struggle and other issues I'd associate with the far left.

    The church resists categorization as a social justice organization only because of its conservatism in regards to women and sex, e.g., no ordination of women, no married priests, no birth control, etc. I suppose that keeps culturally conservative Catholics on board, however reluctantly--what about the prosperous, hard working, anti-tax right? Seems like the church could use their support more than ever right about now.

    The Catholic church would do well to let women into the priesthood and drop the class struggle. I don't see the doctrinal justification for keeping chaste women out of the priesthood. If women were good enough for Jesus to die for, certainly they must be good enough to become priests.

    Meanwhile, there isn't anything Christian about Marxist class envy--and there are two commandments against socialism.

    Thou shalt not steal.

    Thou shalt not covet.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Coveting is the engine of capitalism.

  • CE||

    Yeah, but capitalists covet their neighbors' wealth and then work hard to earn more for themselves. It leads to greater wealth creation.

    Socialists covet their neighbors' wealth and take it and give it everyone else, which discourages others from creating wealth.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Technically, socialists usually skip the "and give it to everyone else" step. They just talk about doing that to get the power to execute the "take it" step.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Capitalism is about wanting to earn things for yourself, not wanting things that belong to other people.

    I want a motorcycle of my own. I don't want my neighbor's motorcycle.

    "From each [neighbor] according to their ability, to me according to my need" necessarily requires you to covet. If you believe in that, you're necessarily coveting what belongs to other people.

    The other half of socialism is about the government appropriating the means of production, and that necessarily requires the theft of other people's property.

    Socialism = Thou Shalt Not Covet + Thou Shalt Not Steal

    Christian charity is about giving to the poor and needy of your own free will--and that doesn't have anything to do with socialism.

  • DarrenM||

    Socialists covet their neighbors' wealth and take it and give it everyone else

    Only after taking their cut off the top.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Coveting is the engine of capitalism."

    Capitalists don't want what properly belongs to other people.

    Half of socialism is "From each according to their ability to each according to their need".

    That's coveting in a nutshell.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Coveting is the engine of capitalism.

    >BZZZZZT

  • Azathoth!!||

    Well, THAT got mangled.

    Coveting is the engine of capitalism.

    *BZZZZZT *

    That's incorrect. The correct answer is 'innovation'.

    Please take your consolation prizes as you exit the auditorium.

  • John's broseph||

    Considering the fact that the Bible calls on women not to speak in the church it's kinda hard for them to lead it. There's plenty of churches that ordain women, they're also dying so I'd suggest to anyone who wants to hear sermons from women to act fast because they may not be around much longer.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'd need to see a cite for that calling on women not to speak in church.

    As far as some churches dying because they're allowing women to speak, I'm not about to accept that as fact without some evidence either.

    Surely, some churches are losing members over issues like gay marriage.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    "I'd need to see a cite for that calling on women not to speak in church"

    Doubtful you'll get one. It's like the memes people post with either out of context readings of scripture or verses from the historic books of the Old Testament.

  • JesseAz||

    The male speaker/platform hinder in Catholicism was done about 500 years of formation. Prior to changes pushed down by the pope priests were often married and women were an ordinary part of service. The push to only allow men to hold power was done through the political transformation of the Catholic Church as a powerful entity. It has nothing to do with the actual Bible. It's why many Protestant churches never had an issue with female ministers.

  • Riesen||

    Here's the verse and some context:

    First Corinthians 14:33–35 states, "As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church" (ESV). At first glance, this seems to be a blanket command that women are never allowed to speak at all in the church. However, earlier in the same epistle (1 Corinthians 11:5), Paul mentions situations where women are allowed to pray and prophesy in the assembled congregation. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 14:33–35 must not be an absolute command for women to remain silent at all times in all services. The prohibition must be limited in some way by the context.

  • 0x1000||

    I've heard southern baptists explain it the same way (with just a hint of smugness), but I've also heard biblical scholars point out that the advice in the letter was directed at a few specific women who were causing conflict within the group. Either way, the Catholic Church seems to have taken a bit more upon itself with regard to blanket prohibitions than there seems warrant for.

  • Overt||

    Reading Archbishop Vigano's testimony, where he accuses the Pope of protecting predators, I'm not sure liberalization fixes this. This is like Weinstein and Epstein. Here are some truly deplorable assholes who not only engaged in awful abuses, but institutionalized it. They found like-minded predators, and used their wealth and power to enslave these "liberal" institutions to help further their predation. In the case of Cardinal McCarrik, he was using his position to create an entire society of predators in his organization aimed at finding and grooming victims he could bed.

    Like Weinstein and Epstein, leaders shielded McCarrik because he had an influential network for fund-raising and advocacy. Church leaders in McCarrik's camp were known homosexuality and abortion sympathizers, but these "discretions" were overlooked because they also promoted the new Pope's Social Justice dogma.

    The power players who are advocating for liberalization, are the same people who were building the institution of abuse. It is the hard line Catholics who believe in prohibiting homosexuality and abortion that were frozen out of the new Pope's inner circle. Maybe they should liberalize- but in its current state, that would probably only further cement the cabal of McCarrik-like predators who have turned entire swaths of the Church into a sex slave ring. If the Church is to survive this, they are going to have to clean house- which Benedict tried to do, and notably failed at.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If women were in more places of authority, I'm not sure they would be as quick to turn their heads the other way or participate in sexual abuse. And then there's the issue of silence about the whole thing.

    It drives me crazy sometimes, but women certainly have a way of . . . not shutting up about things. And that's half the battle. It's hard to understand how the leadership in such a large organization could keep things quiet for so long.

    . . . until you realize there aren't any women in the leadership.

  • JesseAz||

    Umm... Not participate? Do you not read the news in regards to female teachers?!?!?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Because some women also individually have sex with students sometimes doesn't mean that an organization composed entirely of men, "who have turned entire swaths of the Church into a sex slave ring" would be able to operate the same way or on the same scale for so long--without it becoming public knowledge--if there were women involved in leadership.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The papal encyclicles have always been anti capitalist.

  • Kivlor||

    The Church's official stance has been against Marxism/Socialism/Communism dating back to Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Rerum Novarum.

    The fact is that the current pope is a heretic pope.

  • Ken Shultz||

    John Paul II's stance was not communism.

    Ratzinger's stance was not communism.

    Did you look at the article I linked from 1984?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Small sample:

    "Leonardo Boff, the Brazilian Franciscan summoned to Rome last month to defend his decidedly proliberation theology views, wrote shortly afterward in the left-wing Rome newspaper Paese Sera that Pope John Paul II's view of Marxism, reflected in a 36-page Vatican document on liberation theology, is ''a kind of caricature.'' Friar Boff says that the document, which endorses the Church's commitment to the poor while condemning Marxism, seems ''to believe what is on the label of the bottle before trying the real contents.'' He sets aside the Pontiff's lifetime experience of Marxism, asserting: ''Marxism is a principally European theme. In Latin America, the big enemy is not Marxism, it is capitalism.''

    http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10.....ology.html

    No, it wasn't always like this.

  • Kivlor||

    Ken, I was merely pointing out that the RCC's opposition to communism goes back much farther than JPII, all the way to the 1890s, and is not merely due to persecution, for it predates communist persecution of Catholics.

  • Overt||

    The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America were both rocked by sex scandals in the 90s. The BSA instituted a strict system of transparency and accountability. The BSA instituted a system of two deep leadership- requiring two adults to be present during any activity with children. It forbade unsanctioned clubs or clans within the organization, and required all adult leaders to go through awareness training and background checks. In these trainings, there is a loud and clear message that if you suspect abuse, you are to report it to the local police and council leadership, and they are clear to point out that you will be protected if your information is mistaken, but you will also be held liable if abuse happens and you are later determined to have known about it.

    The Catholic Church, on the other hand, instituted a system of coverups. They continued to demand that those suspecting abuse report it to internal leaders and that investigations be held within the church. Even Pope Benedict, who was reportedly trying to drain the swamp, merely banished people like McCarrick to non-public service, rather than turning them over to authorities. While BSA's intended outcome was abuse prevention, the Church's reforms were constructed purely for damage control. And now we see the logical outcome.

  • Overt||

    This is not to say that the BSA is perfect, but the two cases are important. Here we are twenty to thirty years later and the Church is suffering yet another scandal (on top of many under-reported scandals in the third world) while the BSA has moved on.

    I grew up going to Catholic mass, and though church is no longer my thing, many of my memories of that community were some of my best. While I was dealing with the shit that is public middle/high school, I always found support and friendship in my local parish. But the Church has made it so that I would argue against any family ever entrusting their kids in a Church-led activity. I don't believe that every Church official is a pedophile, but the clear evidence is that they lack even the basic institutions to prevent the bad apples from getting away with horrible abuses. And the most recent evidence is that they have been infiltrated by a cabal of priests who are actually institutionalizing abuse.

    This entire affair is instructive, as once again you see awful predators getting away with deplorable behavior merely because they espouse the "correct" virtues of socialist dogma. It is utterly disgusting to this former Catholic.

  • Rock Lobster||

    From the BSA to the NFL to the Catholic Church, the left descends on institutions like cockroaches. What they can't eat, they shit on.

  • JFree||

    I don't think it's a coincidence that the RCC can't really deal with the problem. Their head of the church here in the US is also the apostolic nuncio (ambassador) to the US.

    We need to downgrade official govtl relations with the Vatican. 1stA still obviously means they have an apostolic delegate who does their church stuff here. But without the diplomatic stuff, the RCC would have a much tougher time avoiding actual legal consequences when they screw up.

    IDK whether they are so internally corrupted that they just don't give a damn. But at least if they don't, states should be able to jail those priests for their crimes

  • Nardz||

    Right.
    Because The Church isn't deep in with a bunch of politicians and people of power.
    Yep. Any day now The Church will be treated just like anybody else.
    I'm sure they don't have compromising information on our governors, especially considering all the time they've spent developing pedophile rings and covering them up...

  • Hank Phillips||

    Carpe coaxit!

  • Azathoth!!||

    The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America were both rocked by sex scandals in the 90s. The BSA instituted a strict system of transparency and accountability. The BSA instituted a system of two deep leadership- requiring two adults to be present during any activity with children. It forbade unsanctioned clubs or clans within the organization, and required all adult leaders to go through awareness training and background checks. In these trainings, there is a loud and clear message that if you suspect abuse, you are to report it to the local police and council leadership, and they are clear to point out that you will be protected if your information is mistaken, but you will also be held liable if abuse happens and you are later determined to have known about it.

    Because of this the BSA has been all but destroyed. The provisions put in place have been removed, one by one, to leave behind a structure that is ripe with young boys whose parents are reviled as 'homophobes' for noticing.

    Or did you miss that?

  • Robert||

    I'd find such a regime oppressive, stifling. Isn't there something in between, where we can, you know, trust each other? Like, by being good?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Consequences cannot be avoided over the long term, nor should they. I'll take my chances, Nick.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    talking about the environment and protecting migrants

    I still oppose the Catholic Church because of its indefensible stances on same-sex marriage and abortion access, but it's good to see the Pope moving toward the Koch / Reason position on immigration.

    #NoBanNoWall
    #AbolishICE
    #OpenBorders

  • buybuydandavis||

    Reason sticks up for the Social Justice Pope, because Open Borders is more important than institutional child rape.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Opposing killing the innocent is indefensible? Are you pro your life?

  • Eddy||

    The evidence of past cover-ups is still pouring in. (Whatever the reason, a lot of these priests were ordained in the 60s and 70s.)

    Today, they have a good system in place for purging Fr. McFeely the creepy parish priest (Pope Benedict was working on this even before he became Pope), but the problem now is dealing with bishops - both bishops who personally committed sexual misconduct and those bishops who covered up such conduct in others. If they get away with it, they'll be sending a message to the next batch of bishops to do the same crap.

    They're getting serious about catching the little fish but not the big fish (bishops).

    I don't think the laity will be appeased this time by any half-assed reforms or "oops I did it again" apologies. I've been reading articles and statements which have an aura of "cooling off the mark" - agreeing with the laity's anger up to a point and then trying to divert it.

    This Pope already has problems with his orthodoxy - the majority opinion among canonists is that an openly heretical Pope has, by his heresy, deposed himself - it would remain only for a high enough Church body to proclaim this fact and start the process for electing a new Pope.

  • Eddy||

    Unlike heresy, sinful behavior by the Pope doesn't automatically depose him, which is a problem because there's no human authority in the Church which can examine the Pope for sin as opposed to heresy. This would leave the question to the International Criminal Court, and I wouldn't wish that outcome on anyone, even if he weren't the Pope.

    So if he can't get thrown out for heresy, then the other way out would be for the Pope to resign like his predecessor (and for better reason). That would certainly set an example for the bishops - if an abuse coverup scandal could bring down a Pope, the crooked bishops wouldn't be safe any longer.

  • Eddy||

    Let me add that the Pope's response of he won't comment, maybe he'll have a comment when he see how this is playing in the media, is suspicious.

    It's as if he's seeing if his lefty media bootlickers will be willing to cover for him again, and if so he'll try and ride it out, but if even the lefty media turns against him maybe he'll take this thing more seriously.

  • Overt||

    Reading the testimony of Archbishop Vigano, it is not clear that there is a "good system". Instead it appears the system has been corrupted by people like McCarrik who continue to transform the Church into an abuse factory. If his testimony is accurate, then what we see is this:

    1. A large society of priests were actively pursuing a culture of abuse. Not covering up past deeds, but continuing to put their cronies in positions where they used seminaries to abuse young men and transform them into predators themselves. They had Cardinals and Bishops in their ranks.

    2. Benedict was only able to move these guys out of power, such as banishing McCarrik to a life of solitary reflection. He didn't hand these people to authorities, he tried to fix it and hide it at the same time.

    3. But the testimony reveals that McCarrik did not fade away. His cronies allowed him to continue establishing a network of influence over new and incoming priests, engage in outreach, and public seminars against the Pope's order. And when Benedict resigned, his reach- all the way to Rome itself- allowed him to resume his official capacity.

    The indication I get is that, first, the "good system" was actually a system of finding bad apples and hiding them from the public, hopefully pushing them into other roles where they wouldn't abuse. Second it seems that those same bad apples have been building a power network that renders even that inadequate system ineffective.

  • Eddy||

    I should have said they had a expeditious process for trying abusive priests - but as I said, the bishops aren't facing consequences. So if they don't face consequences, they'll still be able to shelter abusive priests despite the system for trying abusive priests. And there's no pretense of a system to deal with crooked bishops effectively. Given the moral rot coming from the bishops, I shouldn't have sounded as if I were confident they've gotten all the abusive priests.

  • Overt||

    Yeah the only distinction I was making is that these Bishops and Cardinals are not merely covering up or shielding abusive priests. They are ACTIVELY promoting the systemic abuse, because they are, themselves, abusers. If you read the testimony mentioned above, you see that people like McCarrik were regularly taking young seminary students to bed.

    No investigative arm is going to prevail when these guys have perverted entire regions of clergy into pedo-farms.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Whatever the reason, a lot of these priests were ordained in the 60s and 70s.

    I suggest Father Time. Priests ordained that far back haven't been able to get it up and molest young boys long enough that the statute of limitations has rendered them immune to punishment.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I would suggest it's because there were actually reforms put in place to stop this sort of thing after the 60's and 70's. Not completely stop it, but reduce the frequency something like 100 fold.

    Unfortunately, the Church hierarchy is composed of people who entered before those reforms, and that will be the case for a couple more decades. It will take a long while for the guilty to age out of the system, and while they're running it, doing more than preventing them from being replaced by similarly corrupt clergy will be difficult.

    Speaking as a Catholic, and I think I'm not alone, I welcome the fading credibility of Pope Francis. He's not quite as bad as some of the Borgia popes, but he's down there.

  • Kivlor||

    Well said Eddy. I have my doubts that we can expect him to be thrown out, but I think that there are things the laity can do to shut down this heretic until such time as he resigns or passes away. I was listening to some young traditional Catholics discussing this the other day. And as I said when we interacted last week, now is the time for action on the part of the laity.

  • DesparateReasoning||

    What the actual crap? American's trusting people in places of authority is some how supposed to lead to more government power (people in authority)? How the hell does that follow?

  • Eddy||

    They probably figure that if life is simply a game of doing unto others before they do unto you, then you may as well take a gamble with the state - it's crooked, but maybe it can be crooked on my behalf.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I larfed when Francis lamented that libertarians are taking over all the elite institutions (if only!), but he has been a general disappointment with his silly proclamations against free market capitalism. (Pro-tip: lifting people out of poverty all around the world means they can make bigger Sunday contributions, your holiness.)

    His protection of molesters is just baffling, however. Why not just excommunicate the lotnof them?

  • Eddy||

    There's all sorts of reasons for him to protect his own caste.

    You'll find abusers and crooks of various political and sexual orientations (I don't think Maciel was a lefty, for example), but there's a surprisingly large number of Vatican II era liberated liberal types.

    Be that as it may, being sufficiently evil, and having opportunity and assurance of impunity, provides the needed combination.

  • Shirley Knott||

    But isn't the only absolute power the deity?

  • Overt||

    As I note above, the cabal of clergy that are perpetuating this molestation ring are the best allies Pope Francis has in his Social Justice crusade. Like Weinstein and Epstein, these assholes engage in their depravity, all while mouthing progressive dogma and (most importantly) bringing in millions of dollars to the coffers of The Cause.

    To excommunicate these assholes would mean losing a powerful network headed by the likes of McCarrik, and would also give the bulk of power to hardline conservatives who- in addition to being against homosexuality- also do not see the Church's role to be agitating for Marxist nonsense in the international community.

  • Rockabilly||

    I was raised a catholic, I went to what they called pre-primary, grade school, and a half year of high school

    Nuns hit me with sticks, they had a drunk janitor shake me before the class because I skipped school.

    The nuns smelled real bad, like no baths for days.

    The high school was only boys and most of them knew who the pervert priests were and we kept them at bay.
    I got kicked out for rude behavior which was fine with me because at least there were girls in the pubic high school.

    I was even an alter boy and spoke in Latin. Somewhere I have a picture of me in the outfit and I"m praying.

    Anyway, I lost my train of thought.

    Oh yea, fuck the catholic church and fuck the pope and his fucking pope mobile.

    Release your golden treasures and repent.

    What kind of god would allow this to happen?

    A fucking ass hat god.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I'm a fan of the show Supernatural. In later seasons, God, or Chuck, as he prefers to be called, becomes a recurring character. When asked why he doesn't fix all the horrible things that go on in the world, he explains that long ago, he did. He figured that humanity would learn it's lesson and not repeat it's mistakes. This didn't work. So a few thousand years ago, Chuck decided to step back and let humanity solve it's own problems, much like letting your children learn from their own mistakes. Which is a consequence of free will.

    From that point of view, humanity is slowly getting better. We now have capitalism, concepts of freedom, natural rights, due process, etc..

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Chuck is the bartender in Deadpool. Make of that what you will.

    The episode where there's a convention is the best episode except Yellow Fever, season 5 finale, and any time Loki or Crowley have major plot points. Don't @ me.

  • DarrenM||

    Hmm. I always thought was something supernatural about bartenders.

  • Kivlor||

    How dare God allow us free will!?!? What a monster!

  • Inigo Montoya||

    So when trust in government declines, people demand MORE government intervention? Umm, okay...

    To paraphrase our own cleric around here:
    Carry on, (statist) clingers!

  • Eddy||

    I suggested above that the Pope may be waiting to see if his lefty media backers will help him before he issues a statement.

    If such were the Pope's expectations, maybe these expectations were justified - Reuters is suggesting a conservative conspiracy against a liberal Pope who's been trying to "reach out" to gays and divorced people. And who could object to reaching out? OK, let me rephrase that....

  • Eddy||

    Strictly, the article says Francis' enemies object to his "openings to divorced and homosexual Catholics." And who could object to openings?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Generic recitation of recent events, Chicken Little fear-mongering, Libertarian Moment.

    There. Now you never have to read another Jacket article again.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Basically.

  • CE||

    It's the old argument for creating a government of great power: men can't be trusted with great power, so let's create a government to watch over them (and give the really untrustworthy ones something to aspire to lead)

  • JeremyR||

    The Church has always been for more State, with the Church playing a role in telling the State how to govern I mean, it literally started off was the official Church of the Roman Empire

    It's almost always going to push for more State power. That the Pope is a communist is really just the culmination of the Church's legacy.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    That communism shit will kill the church.

  • ace_m82||

    "The Church has always been for more State..."

    I think most of the early martyrs would disagree, as the State was the thing killing them...

    Also, I read nothing in all of the New Testament about the size of the State, and 1 Samuel 8 was a warning about what the State would do to you, if would tax you at the incredible rate of 10%!

  • Bearded Spock||

    "Fewer of us identify as Republican and Democrat, we're more secular, and we're less likely to be married than a few decades back. None of these is a bad thing but when our major private and public institutions fail us, trust declines and, all too often, government increases."

    And I thought only Shikha was capable of such doublespeak.

    So, to parse the sentences above, it's not a bad thing that fewer people support and trust traditional institutions such as churches, political parties, and marriage. But when public trust of these institutions declines, support for Big Government increases.

    I would think such a result would count as a definite BAD THING, but apparently this is the New Libertarianism we are talking about here.

    Make up your mind, Gillespie: Either private institutions such as the Catholic Church are a valuable firewall against government expansion, or they are superfluous entities that can be discarded without consequence.

    If fewer people supporting the Catholic Church means more people support Big Brother, then that means the increasing secularization of society is not going to produce your "Libertarian Moment" any time soon.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Note to foreign readers: The libertarian platform legalized abortion on January 22, 1973 and has since secured the repeal of many bad laws. To ignore this, looter partisans invented the "Libertarian Moment." This is where the LP suddenly controls the House and Senate and has its candidate in the White House. Force-initiating parties thus declare anything short of this a "Libertarian Failure" in hopes of stanching the steadily growing transfer of votes from the kleptocracy to the Libertarian Party via its platform and candidates.

  • Juice||

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Hey, hey, guys GUYS -

    remember those 1 (do stupid thing) 2 (do bad thing to cover stupid thing) 3 (???) 4 (profit!!!) memes?

    That's a dang good 3.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Worry? About a priest who sets himself up as an expert on economic and political matters? The leader of an organization which has been so widely recognized as covering up for pedophiles as to be the butt of jokes for centuries? And can't even get his own religion straight, who claims to be infallible like his predecessors yet changes their proclamations?

    I think not. I rather relish it.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Pope Leo XIII between swigs of Vin Mariani denounced looter socialism and recommended freedom of contract back in 1893. But he infallibly warned against the false "lesser of two evils" dichotomy looter politicians push to this day. "If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice." In both cases, whether signing an abusive agreement or sanctioning aggression by force-initiating looters rather than cast a libertarian vote, the worker or citizen is the victim of his or her own self-inflicted choice. There was more than one employer in 1893 and there is a Libertarian Party today to multiply the law-changing clout of any vote it gets.

  • Nardz||

    Eddy and Overt, great discussion.

    Much of what y'all brought up regarding structures and institutionalization, both of abuse and coverup, should be duly noted by those who so flippantly dismiss the possibility that such behavior could also take place in DC - notably, involving Epstein's and Weinstein's extended circle, specifically David Brock's boyfriend and Podesta.
    Circumstantial evidence is nonetheless evidence - and there is enough of it to raise legitimate questions.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Depletion of trust and confidence in public and private institutions is happening across the board and leads to more, not less, government."

    Revolutionary Nick says "Trust The Man".

    What happened to this guy?

  • Hugh Akston||

    You realize that's not what he's actually saying, right? He's saying institutions need to be more trustworthy.

  • Kivlor||

    Ironically, Pope Francis, being a liberal, would be the ideal Pope to aggressively root out, end and punish these severe moral atrocities. "Traditionalist" Popes have ignored it for decades

    How so? liberalism is moving rapidly toward the promotion and normalization of pederasty, right along side the other sexual degeneracy that has been propped up by it, such as homosexuality, transsexualism, divorce, etc. In what way would such people be ideal for aggressively rooting out and punishing severe moral atrocities?

    Traditionalist popes haven't ignored this for decades. There hasn't been a traditionalist pope since before JPII, arguably not since Pius XII

  • Mickey Rat||

    The collapse of organized religion is also the collapse of a major wing of Burke's "little platoons" of a classical liberal society. Progressive governance is actively working to destroy them. You may find that when they are gone libertarian ideals have nothing to stand upon.

  • Rob Misek||

    For the first time in earths history we can say, "We don't need no stinking blind trust!" But are we?

    With today's technology, we can make a legal human right to voluntarily and effortlessly record all our memories and remotely store them in the cloud as irrefutable evidence.

    We can also criminalize all lying.

    With a few thoughtful questions, who then will we need to trust on faith? Trust will come from objective evidence and the concept of self preservation.

    I'd prefer to trust that.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "With today's technology, we can make a legal human right to voluntarily and effortlessly record all our memories and remotely store them in the cloud as irrefutable evidence."

    While I think technology will get there, it's not yet to the point of recording memories. Everything you see and hear, maybe, if you don't mind carrying around the equipment.

    And I'd remind you that "the cloud" is just a euphemism for "other people's computers". Be careful what you put there.

  • Rob Misek||

    If one tenth of today's espionage hardware and software was used, it would be effortless.

    The cloud is like a bank.

    911 calls could be voice activated with gps location and open live audio and visual communication with police.

    Who will mug someone knowing this?

    Who will commit any crime in public when all heads turn record and transmit?

    This would all but eliminate the initiation of fraud. What good NAPsters would disagree with that?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Most mass shootings are over with in less time than it takes my iPhone to turn on.

  • TLBD||

    Or, Nick, when people realize that can't trust an institution, they reform it, or burn it to the ground. Seems like this would be good practice on how to deal with governments.

    But, the Pope likes open borders, so we must find some way to help him stay in power.

    The Pope needs to be gone. If he doesn't resign and big reforms aren't put in place, there is no saving the church. It will have no credibility left.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I think not sexually exploiting the Church's youth is a higher priority on the "work of the Church" than protecting migrants and the environment, however laudable those goals may or may not be

    There is apparently some evidence of a strong correlation between high societal diversity and low trust. Almost like those two things are related.

  • Michael Cook||

    In America I have heard it alleged that the Seminary Class of 1971 produced a bumper crop of priest pedophiles, allegedly a direct result of certain changes in the recruitment profiles at the seminaries back in the 1960's.

    Be that as it may, this Pope mainly turns me off when he starts nattering on about climate change, about which he seems to be particularly ignorant in a one-sided way.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    We might be due for another great awakening that creates new institutions for us to turn to.

  • Ron||

    our constitution was designed as an instrument of distrust against the government with tools built in to protect the citizens from it. So I'm good with this distrust now people just have to realize that more government is not the solution to distrust, unfortunately people have not learned from history

  • Bob Meyer||

    Covering up crimes comes easily to a pope who said:

    "I must say that communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian," he said, recalling the Beatitudes and the story of the Final Judgment in Matthew 25. "Poverty is the center of the Gospel. The poor are at the center of the Gospel."

    Ever hear this pope talk about the 100 million people killed by Communists? If he considers that not worthy of mention, but is upset that the commies are stealing his poor, then why should he care about tens of thousands of rapes when millions of corpses aren't worth a few words?

    This pope is a monster and all the pleasant smiles won't change that.

  • ||

    There are a couple of very old prognostications that indicate that this is the last pope...Nostradamus made a few references to this...not wishing for it...just saying....

  • Laird||

    Maybe this is a "low trust" issue. Or maybe it's just that mainstream Catholics are upset that the Church elders elected a low-grade moron as Pope. This is a man who grew up and spent most of his adult life in Argentina, and has experienced first-hand the evils of socialism, and yet is still an avowed socialist. He is more interested in trendy social issues (global warming, etc.) than in Catholic doctrine. I'm no Catholic and so have no direct interest in this matter, but this is a man who wields substantial moral authority over a large percentage of the world's population, so it does affect me (and everyone else). If this priest sex scandal is what it takes to bring him down and force his resignation, good. At least some benefit will come out of it.

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