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Pope Francis’ approval rating plummets in wake of new priest sex abuse scandal

Pope Francis’ approval rating plummets in wake of new priest sex abuse scandal

San Diego’s Bishop Robert McElroy’s “listening session” is disrupted by unhappy Catholics.

As a Catholic, I have been following the response of the Catholic Church to the detailed testimony of former Vatican diplomat Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that the Vatican knew about the sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by an American cardinal and covered it up.

So far, American Catholics are giving the pontiff low marks for his handling of the scandal.

Just 3 out of 10 American Catholics say the pope has done an “excellent” or “good” job handling the church’s sex abuse crisis. The approval percentage is the lowest that Catholics in the U.S. have given the pope since the Pew Research Center began tracking views of his performance more than four years ago.

Viganó has just issued a second testimony, which repeated his allegation that Pope Francis knew of the scandal associated with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, ended the sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict, and made McCarrick a member of the Vatican inner circle. Viganó is requesting documents be released to the public that will confirm his charges.

Viganó…appealed to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who allegedly told him about Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick in 2013, asking Ouellet to “bear witness to the truth.”

“Your Eminence, before I left for Washington, you were the one who told me of Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick. You have at your complete disposal key documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups. Your Eminence, I urge you to bear witness to the truth,” Viganó wrote.

…The Archbishop also provided a justification for his decision to break the “pontifical secret” that he had “promised to observe.”

“The purpose of any secret, including the pontifical secret, is to protect the Church from her enemies, not to cover up and become complicit in crimes committed by some of her members,” Vigano wrote.

Meanwhile, local Catholic dioceses and parishes are responding directly to their parishioners. Legal Insurrection readers may recall the last time I reported on our bishop, Robert McElroy, he was bashing President Donald Trump and essentially preaching #Resistance theology. In fact, his exact quote was: “Well now, we must all become disrupters.”

File that statement under: Be careful what you wish for.

McElroy has opened a series of 8 “listening sessions”, the first of which was held Monday. I took the opportunity to attend and make a few observations.

After the opening prayer and gospel reading, an audience member stood up and disrupted the session by citing the Viganò letter and urging everyone to read it. The action was met by clapping, and several members in the audience held their hands up, fingers in a “V” sign.

..[McElory] quickly ran into rough waters — and some booing — from audience members who felt he was downplaying the abuse case of recently resigned Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and mischaracterized a scathing letter by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that accused higher-ups in the church of protecting McCarrick.

“More cover-up,” one of the audience members said out loud.

Many of the questions from parishioners were heated. Several asked when bishops would be held accountable for failing to root out and remove abusive clergy. “We have no confidence that the bishops can police themselves,” one woman said.

The approach taken by McElory was to offer about 40 groups of Catholic attendees one question each, which would be agreed to within the group after 30 minutes of discussion. By the time it came to my table, I asked about the process of defrocking a priest and when we could expect that action to be taken for McCarrick.

As of right now, McCarrick is still a priest and he is living comfortably in a home for priests in Kansas located within feet of an elementary school.

Officials at the elementary school were stunned to learn a priest accused of sexually abusing young boys was living next door, the Kansas City Star reported.

“I was never made aware of it until I found out through social media today,” said Kent Michel, superintendent of the school district and principal of Victoria Elementary told the Kansas City Star.

McElroy indicated he would be joining the other U.S. bishops at a conference in November, the focus of which will be to take more aggressive steps to deal with the abuse issue.

McElroy said bishops lack formal accountability. The diocesan system, which involves lay people sitting on allegation review boards, should be adopted at the bishop level, he said.

“Lay eyes and perspectives are incredibly vital,” he repeated, having said “we need to have lay people at the very center of teaching us how to move forward.”

That’s a start. However, the questions also indicate many in the laity are disturbed about the church’s current approach to homosexuals, especially in the priesthood. Many in the audience clearly feel that the proclivities of the clergy is a contributing factor in this particular scandal.

In conclusion, I suspect Pope Francis’ poll numbers will continue their downward trend for some time to come. I also project that McElroy will be experiencing more of that disruption he once clamored for.


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Morning Sunshine | October 3, 2018 at 11:07 am

I watch with sadness what is going on. I had such great respect for John Paul II.

“we need to have lay people at the very center of teaching us how to move forward.”

Is it really all that mysterious?

Most of us manage to get through life without raping any minors, and it really comes naturally—we don’t need anyone advising us how to do it (or, more accurately, not do it).

He’s completely tone deaf and is doing permanent damage to the Church. I half expect him to attempt a “they were asking for it” defense next.

Is there no way to remove him? New leadership is needed. And his casual deflective attitude throughout all this makes me worry what message his subordinates absorbed.

I’m afraid I gave Pope Francis low marks once it became apparent that he was of the Liberation Theology ranks of the Church.

Three out of 10 think the Pope is doing an excellent or good job of handling this? I scoff heavily. Those must be the Catholics in this country that are into Liberation Theology heresy and keep backing their main man.

legacyrepublican | October 3, 2018 at 11:57 am

This question I present you, which used to be a silly question denoting the obvious speaking for itself, has become a serious question that really needs to be asked.

“Is the Pope Catholic?”

It’s time to shitcan the commie, socialist, POS impersonating the Pope!
Is the Pope Catholic? No!!!

    littlebit in reply to RWRFAN. | October 3, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    He turned his back on the Lamb Jesus Christ taking satans side with his meeting with the muslim tin-pot dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, being against America and Israel as the capital of Israel being Jerusalem. In the koran Jerusalem is listed 0 times, while Jereusalem is listed 667 times in the Bible.Turkey’s red flag with its white cresent moon and white star, the cresent moon on all muslim minarets on their mosque story in the newspaper. Catholic charities fidelis bank yellow and purple flag, shame on them flooding America with refugees. Sickening the cover-up of the pedophillia see also interpol.

Who has time to waste on such proletarian tasks as tending to the flock? Besides, Jesus is their shepherd, not them. The NWO of Gaia beckons!

Francis is a fairy and he thought the time was finally here when he could fundamentally transform the church into an official dictatorship of gays over straights. He is the Barack Obama of Popes.

American Human | October 3, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Just who is it these Bishops, Archbishops, and Popes are supposed represent?
I don’t recall the Savior ever requiring his Apostles or disciples to call him “Your Eminence” or wearing expensive robes and fancy hats and having throngs of people bowing and kissing rings and stuff.
He didn’t have legions of soldiers or even an assistant. This church seems to be the epitome of Top-Down rule. Priest are chosen based on simple graduation from some Seminary somewhere. Remember Matthew 22:14 Many are called but few are chosen. Who chooses them? Some other guy who has graduated from some seminary somewhere?
Where is The Lord in all of this?
They call it the Throne of Peter but I don’t recall Peter ever sitting on a throne either.

    filiusdextris in reply to American Human. | October 3, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    A lot of the honorifics are voluntary and the person giving them is thrilled to do so. I don’t know of any that are required. The same for the Swiss guard. The Lord chooses and calls certain men to be ordained, and various men and women to the religious life; he has a vocation for all of us. The throne reference you’re seeking would be in the book of Revelation. Most of us call it the Chair of Peter, though, since “throne” can definitely sound too pretentious here on this side of eternity.

    While I have similar criticisms, I dont think we need to criticize the Catholic faith in general.

    All good works are claimed by Aslan, all evil works claimed by Tash. And some of Aslan’s people are in this thread.

    When Constantine usurped Christianity as his glue for re-uniting the Roman Empire, Jesus was transformed into something far removed from being a shepherd. There are depictions of Jesus as a Roman General, e.g.

    Constantine depicted himself as Apollo, even placing himself above him in glory and power.

    Constantine is the one who refocused Christianity away from serving God in this world in order to gain entry into “the kingdom of God” into serving empire in this world. Your Roman/Christian leaders stepped in between you and God as the intermediary who listens to your prayers and can deny you access to heaven.

    Little, if anything, is known about the first ten or so popes but what emerged eventually was the claim of a “direct line” from Jesus to Peter to each successive pope to oversee God’s kingdom on earth.

    This is not what Jesus had in mind or he would have said so.

      littlebit in reply to Pasadena Phil. | October 3, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Only catholics do that its not part of bible based spiritual Christianity liar, Jesus is the only way to God Ac 19:9 many false Gods just like muhhamed 2nd Cor 11:4

Pope Francis will follow the standard operating procedure of all leftwing “community organizers” when faced with a monumental scandal: Deny, delay, obstruct, and keep silent until it either blows over or it becomes obvious that nobody has the power to remove him.

It worked for Obama, didn’t it?

DieJustAsHappy | October 3, 2018 at 4:06 pm

For starters, Pope Francis ought to declare a Year of Priestly Repentance. During such time, all priests, the pope included, would suspend wearing any ecclesiastical garments (yes, this includes mass). Instead, they all ought to wear habits, such as Franciscan ones.

During this time, any priest guilty of any crime, sexual and otherwise, would be given the opportunity to come forward, make known their deed(s), and accept appropriate punishments.
Meanwhile, every priest would be fully vetted. Panels for this would be selected from within each diocese and consist of a majority of lay persons. Moreover, it be known that after the year’s end, any priest who is later found guilty would be immediately laicized.

Also, during this the Dominicans (“Hounds of the Lord” would be called into service to travel far and wide to do as they did in the High Middle Ages, revolutionize religious life and help to re-orient the Church to its mission, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to DieJustAsHappy. | October 3, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    “and accept appropriate punishments.”

    What is an appropriate punishment for raping children? Death from a thousand cuts?

    What do you do with a morally bankrupt church?

    We should start with jerking their nonprofit status. There should be criminal prosecution of everyone involved in the cover up. The church should be subject of loss of most assets as a result of racketeering, conspiracy to hide what they have done and to continue their disreputable conduct.

buckeyeminuteman | October 3, 2018 at 4:23 pm

He is terrible; with all the pontificating about climate change and building walls while remaining mum about sex abuse across the Catholic church. Is there a way the bishops can recall or impeach him?
I’m not Catholic so I really don’t get a say, but perhaps letting priests marry would allay some of these issues. Then again, priests assaulting grown women never makes it into the news…

Firstly, Frankie the Red is an antipope. Popes DO NOT RESIGN, according to the Catholic Canon. Benedict, while either complicit or under duress to “resign” is still the true pope. He is as guilty as Frankie for perpetrating this travesty on The Church.

Francis is more than a commie or liberation theologist. Check out his latest: