First let me say that all these child abuse scandals make me sick. I don’t think the Church has handled it right in the past, and I still think the hierarchy has a long way to go. There has never been an excuse for it and there still is no excuse for it. I don’t mean anything I am about to say to diminish that in the slightest.
But Popes throughout history have done much, much worse. Also, I’m suspicious about why this Vigano was saving this up. Did he have it in for Francis and was just waiting for the right time? He and other cardinals, as well as Benedict himself, have known about this for a while. Why bring it up now? Is it because the Church is vulnerable and the time is right to bring Francis down? That would be a greater offense than anything Francis is accused of.
I have my reservations about Francis, but this doesn’t change my view of him. He is still the successor to Christ. His managerial, political and social positions are subordinate to that. If we believe in apostolic succession, we have to support him. If something like this overshadows apostolic succession, then that concept should have been thrown out long ago.
- Stephen VI dug up his predecessor’s corpse and put it on trial.
- John XII was accused of homicide, perjury, sacrilege and incest.
- Boniface VIII said pedophilia was no more problematic than “rubbing one hand against the other.”
- Sixtus IV had a kid with his sister.
- Innocent VIII had lots of illegitimate children.
- Paul IV ordered horrific acts of anti-semitism
- Pius XI authorized the Vatican Secretary of State (who would later become Pius XII) to sign the first formal recognition of, and cooperation pact with, the Third Reich
- And don’t get me started on the Borgia popes!
So either you believe, like I do, that imperfect men can carry on apostolic succession, or we need to fold the whole Roman Catholic tent and do something else.