Nothing else compared to the new pope’s obligation to deal with the anarchy infecting the priesthood and the hierarchy, and his 2019 declaration Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You are the light of the world”), he was hailed by the church establishment for doing just that. But the decree’s fatal flaws in its response to covering up priestly abuse of children and others quickly became apparent: its new accountability structures required no public disclosure, required no reporting to civil authorities unless the civil law does not require it, and did not require any participation of the laity in the judgment of the crimes of priests and bishops. The most obvious (and protector of clerics) of Your Estis flaws is that it makes ecclesiastical self-surveillance compulsory: the bishops investigate their colleagues; the reporting of crimes committed by priests not to civil authorities, but to ecclesiastical offices long complicit; the Vatican alone determines the penalties. Who knows how many complicit prelates have been sanctioned in any way as part of this policy? Three years later, with Your Estis’ with the probationary period ending June 1, the Vatican has disclosed nothing about the bishops investigated, charged, or punished under its procedures. Rules of Omerta.
Pope Francis has denounced clericalism, the malignity that inflames it, but he has done nothing to uproot its sources in the sexually repressive all-male priesthood and the authoritarian system of ecclesiastical power to which this clerical culture is essential. And Francis has done nothing to address the misogyny that is at the heart of Catholic teaching on everything from birth control to reproductive biology to the purpose of marriage. Inhuman notions of sexuality, stemming from misinterpretations of the Adam and Eve story and reinforced by theologians like St. Augustine, serve to subjugate women. Such male supremacy is morally equivalent to white supremacy. Yet, by church officials and most Catholics, this remains undisputed.
Francis called the subject of women’s ordination a “closed door” and said a “No! resounding. to married priests. When, for example, the bishops of the Pan-Amazonian region voted overwhelmingly in 2019 to ask him to admit married deacons to the priesthood in order to overcome the severe shortage of priests in the region, Francis even refused to answer the question. request. That is to say, the bishops of the Amazon offered him a golden opportunity to take a step, however small, towards dismantling the toxic culture of clericalism – an opportunity from below, attacking a serious pastoral problem and advancing a diaconate, a subsidiary form of holy orders, which his immediate predecessors had already put forward as an instrument of change. Indeed, this approach could also have paved the way for the admission of women to the rank of ordinate. But Francis left intact the male and celibate priesthood, and with it the soul of clericalism – the pyramid of ecclesiastical power, the structure of abuse.
Here is the tragic irony: what the world needed most from Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he donned the legendary white cassock nine years ago was not his empathetic intervention in secular affairs, however urgent- them, but its firm progress in terms of reforms. in Catholic Church. Failing that, it reinforces within Catholicism the currents and the very values to which it most opposes outside of it. Francis rebels against inequality, but inequality defines the being of the Church. He is the tribune of the poor, but by protecting the second-class status of women, he supports a global engine of poverty.