Sexual Abuse In The Catholic Church Priest Abuse and The Pope

Since his investiture, Pope Francis has encouraged a new openness in the Catholic Church that is unprecedented in church history. He has been applauded for beginning dialogues with Jews, atheists, and dissenters from within his own faith.
But the new pontiff has been less than forthcoming in dealing with the plague of sexual abuse committed by Catholic Priests. In spite of his calls for transparency, this past week Pope Francis secretly recalled Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski of the Dominican Republic over allegations of sexual abuse.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi announced that Wesolowski had been “relieved of his duties” only after local media outlets began investigating abuse complaints filed against the Archbishop.
Barbara Dorris, the director for the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said “Like all of his predecessors, Pope Francis is acting belatedly, secretively and recklessly.”
“Catholic officials act only when forced to do so by media pressure. When they do act, they act secretively — in this case, by not disclosing the allegations, the suspension or the reason for the suspension,” Dorris added.
Closer to home this same pattern of secrecy and non-disclosure from the Vatican is being used by the Archdiocese of Miami as it faces new and continuing cases of sexual abuse.
Allegations of sexual abuse have recently been leveled against a former teacher at Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens.
In a lawsuit, three former students accuse Marist Brother Kenneth Ward of sexually abusing them while he was the dean of students from 2000 to 2006. The lawsuit also names the Archdioceses of Miami, and accuses it of ignoring obvious signs that Ward was victimizing the boys.
What sets the four former Pace students’ claims apart from dozens of other clergy sex-abuse cases filed against the archdiocese over the past decade is the lengthy period of the alleged abuse and its relatively recent history.
The Miami Archdiocese also continues its ongoing silence regarding Father Rolando Garcia. Previously Garcia had been named in several lawsuits against the archdiocese alleging he engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with alter boys.
However, it wasn’t until September 2012, after another lawsuit was filed alleging Garcia used hush money to conceal another priest’s abuse of an underage boy – that the Church placed Garcia on administrative leave.
Since then petitions have been circulated calling for the removal of Father Garcia and for the Church to release information in regards to the charges against him, both of which the Archdiocese Of Miami refuses to do.
What is abundantly clear in all three of these cases is that in cases of sexual abuse the Catholic Church is continuing its long history of secrecy and denial.
In spite of Pope Francis’ commitment to transparency and open dialogue, the church still strives to protect its pedophile priests rather than care for the victims of these horrifying assaults.
It is also worth noting that Pope Francis recalled Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski from the Dominican Republic after it was apparent that criminal charges would be filed there. Instead, Wesolowski will now be investigated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Under the Catholic Church’s canon law, which doesn’t provide for prison time for guilty verdicts, he will only face canonical sanctions.
When questioned about Archbishop Wesolowski over the weekend, the Vatican could only respond that, at present, his whereabouts were unknown.