Could the Pope be culpable for knowing about the clergy abuse scandal but not taking appropriate action?


Since the bishops report directly to the Pope, isn’t it reasonable to assume that some of our recent Popes were aware of the “quiet” settlements with abuse victims…and, if so, shouldn’t we fully investigate this possibility before we canonize any more of our recent Popes (i.e., Paul VI)?


“We” don’t canonize people. The pope does.

There are over 3,000 dioceses in the world. The bishops generally give a “report” to the pope every 5 years (though that has tended to be more like 7 or 8 years recently). I doubt this report outlines every legal settlement a diocese has made.

So, no, I would not presume that our recent popes had any knowledge that they swept under the rug.


We don’t know what the Pope did or did not know. He seems to have a very busy schedule too. Besides lots of saints made mistakes and they are canonized. Really it is mostly how they were at the end of their life that should be most considered.


This. Plus, I wouldn’t put it past a corrupt Bishop to hide certain things or gloss over and/or represent it wrong.


Under canon law, the metropolitan archbishop is responsible for reporting the misdeeds of his suffragan bishops to Rome. Yet, he is not responsible for managing those other dioceses and can only be privy to so much. Likewise, the Pope can’t be privy to all the doings of 2500 or so ordinaries around the world…


Yes, I understand that only the Pope can canonize individuals. But, with respect to these settlements, I believe that the Pope sets the tone for the moral operation of his Church (i.e., the BUCK stops HERE)… and HE should be held accountable for immoral action by his bishops - especially on such a large scale as the sex abuse scandal.


Simple math helps.

2500 Ordinaries around the world. 365 days per year. The Pope does deserve a few days off, so let’s say he works 300 days per year.

That would mean he can review just over 8 Ordinaries per day. Spending an hour on each one, time for Mass and LOTH, that is just about all the Pope could ever do. No time for writing, for meetings, for anything except giving a cursory review of Bishops all day long.

The world is a BIG place.


Even then, that’s assuming all the Bishops are giving honest reports.


Well, I can only relate to this issue from my own perspective in the work environment. As a supervisor, if one of my subordinates undertakes gross misconduct in their job, I would always report it to MY supervisor. I don’t understand why a bishop should be held to ANY LESSER STANDARD…


I would also add that theologically speaking it is not the pope’s job to micromanage his brother bishops. He is not a CEO to their middle managers.


I don’t think it would be reasonable to assume that no. I think it’s personally reasonable to investigate it though.

Of course, I’m sure that there are people who are. So if you’re looking for that, and find out either way, let me know. But I don’t think anyone here is going to draft you into their investigation into the Vatican nor perform one on your behalf though.


Well, with respect to my own involvement into a potential investigation, I APPRECIATE the VOTE OF CONFIDENCE! The bottom line is that the bishops had the opportunity to fully disclose and address this issue back in 2002 and FAILED. So, now we have a SERIOUS CREDIBILITY ISSUE. To my way of thinking, the only answer is a fully independent review board largely consisting of LAITY.


Look at what the Bishops in Chile told Pope Francis compared to what the Vatican investigators found!


Exactly. The Church is comparable to a business corporation.


Yeah but if you were complicit in your co-subordinate’s misdeeds - or knew they would cause huge scandal and reflect badly on both of you - you’d be less keen to give full and frank report … or maybe any report …


So, in addition to secretly agreeing to financial settlements with abuse victims, those bishops were guilty of the sin of omission - for not reporting it to Rome…


Not necessarily. If these bishops were more concerned with saving face than justice, do you really think they’d be frank with their superior who has power and authority over them?

Either way, I hope not.


Not true, not true in the least. It was the bishops in the United States instituted the independent John Jay Report, then responded with the Dallas Charter that has resulted into a drastic reduction in abuse, while cooperating with law enforcement when abuse does occur.


Thank you for pointing that out. So even though the vast majority of abuse coming to light in the Pennsylvania report occurred prior to the safeguards resulting from the 2002 situation (some going back 70 years), the fact that the numbers are so large in this recent finding creates such great concern among the faithful. But I still am not convinced that the sitting pope at the time was completely unaware of what was going on…


Pope Francis was given a 300 page report by outgoing Pope Benedict.

That was 5 years ago.

It’s reasonable for a court to ask Pope Francis what he has done about what was in the report.

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