Splitting the Church

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 25, 2018   

The silence of Pope Francis is dividing Catholics

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Even secular media is reporting on how the Pope's silence on issues of grave importance is splitting the Church.

The German magazine Der Spiegel recently highlighted several instances in which Pope Francis has chosen to use silence as his default mode on so-called "tricky topics." His history of silence dates back to when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The article tells the story of Julieta Añazco, one of the many victims of clerical sex abuse in Argentina, who was refused an audience with then-Cdl. Jorge Bergoglio.

Añazco attests that she and "13 other victims" also wrote a letter to Pope Francis in December of 2013 "describing what had happened to them." The only response they received was a receipt that the letter had arrived in the Vatican. This has left Añazco demoralized.

"It is difficult for us because nobody believes us," she said. "We want to reach the Pope, but he does not care about us."

The article shows a pattern of silence exhibited by Pope Francis on a wide array of issues including stonewalling of abuse victims, the stopping of investigations into predator clerics and other issues leading to a lack of clarity on Church teaching or Church practices. The list of grave situations met by papal silence is growing rapidly.
Most recently, the Pope rejected the proposal by the U.S. bishops' delegation calling for a full investigation into the questions surrounding former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's rise to power. At the same time, Pope Francis also nixed their plans to investigate the allegations of a homosexual network raised by Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò.
When confronted with Viganò's claim that he personally was made aware of McCarrick's homosexual predation of seminarians and priests, Pope Francis responded on Aug. 26 in like fashion: "I will not say a single word on this." This led Bp. Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois to remark two days later, "Frankly, but with all due respect, that response is not adequate."

Silence was the only response received by the four cardinals who penned the famous dubia that asked the Francis to clarify his stance on administering Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. This stonewalling of truth was noted back in 2014 by Cdl. Raymond Burke, one of the authors of the dubia. In the confusing wake of the preliminary Synod on the Family, Cdl. Burke begged for clarity from Pope Francis on practices related to Catholic morality and reception of the sacraments:

I was perfectly clear that it was a lack of clarity about where the Holy Father stands on issues related to marriage and Holy Communion that had caused the harm. It is precisely for this reason that I subsequently said that only a statement from the Holy Father himself could now remove this lack of clarity.

Burke received the same response to his call for clarity on Church teaching and practice from Pope Francis as did the victims of sex abuse in Argentina, who asked Cdl. Bergoglio for assistance — silence.

It seems the Pope is well aware of the damage that his silence will do to the Body of Christ. In 2016 the same German magazine Der Spiegel quoted Pope Francis on this harm.

"It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church."

Watch the panel discuss how silence is being weaponized to divide the Church in The Download—Splitting the Church.


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