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Pope Francis inherited a scandal-plagued clergy and promised to clean things up. He recently told CNN his position remains "zero tolerance" on clergy abuse. In tonight's In-Depth Report, Church Militant's Paul Murano looks at the pope's determination, and paradoxical actions, regarding sex abuse.
Pope Francis: "The abuse from men and women of the Church — the abuse of authority, the abuse of power and sexual abuse — is a monstrosity."
In an interview with CNN released Tuesday, the successor of St. Peter expressed his concern that the salvation of souls is at stake with such an abuse of sacred power.
Pope Francis: "If he is a priest, he is there to lead men to God and not to destroy men in the name of God."
Francis reiterated his general policy for dealing with clergy involved in sexual abuse and cover-up.
Francis: "Zero tolerance — and we cannot stop on that. And every case of abuse that appears hurts me, but we have to face it."
But have all the pope's moves reflected this zero tolerance? Church Militant's Rome correspondent Jules Gomes has mixed thoughts.
Jules Gomes, Rome correspondent, Church Militant: "Pope Francis' sex-abuse policies are absolutely great on paper. And sadly, those of us based in Rome think they are mere cosmetic and damage-control mechanisms."
But Jules sees inconsistencies he finds difficult to reconcile with the pope's public stand.
Gomes: "'Show me!' That's what the world is asking Pope Francis. ... The main crisis that is engulfing the Church now is not pedophilia, as the media likes to spin it, but is a plague of homosexual abuse."
As reported Tuesday, Pope Francis made Bp. Oscar Cantoni of Como, Italy, a cardinal last month. Cantoni covered for abuser Fr. Mauro Inzoli.
Going back a little further, Francis elevated abuser Fr. Gustavo Zanchetta to bishop of Orán, Argentina, in 2013. After becoming bishop, Zanchetta was convicted to serve four-and-a-half years in prison for abusing seminarians. Also, Pope Francis was reluctant to acknowledge the role of Bp. Juan Barros Madrid of Chile in covering for notorious sex abuser priest Fernando Karadima.
Recent cover-ups haven't been limited to Europe and the Americas. Jules has been uncovering a big mess in India.
Gomes: "The bishop of Mysore, K.A. William, who's been accused of the murder of four of his priests, having two children with five mistresses, embezzlement, rape, sodomy — but nothing is being done."
Pope Francis says his policy is zero tolerance on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. We will let the Holy Father's words, and actions, speak for themselves.
In 2019, Pope Francis introduced Vos Estis Lux Mundi, a policy by which bishops and religious superiors are to be investigated. Now that its three-year probationary period has passed, alterations to the policy that could better serve the Church are expected.