A new book by Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi claims there has been little improvement in preventing and dealing with the high number of sexual abuse cases by Catholic clerics despite Pope Francis’s declaration of “zero tolerance.”
“I would like us to renew our complete commitment to ensuring that these atrocities will no longer take place in our midst…it is a sin that shames us,” wrote Francis in a letter released earlier this month.
With the establishment of new processes and a special commission to protect minors, Pope Francis may have done more to combat the Catholic sex scandal than did his predecessor (Pope Benedict XVI) – but he has also been criticized for promoting officials who have been accused of abuse.
“The principle message of the book – the problem – is that the phenomenon of pedophilia is not being fought with sufficient force,” said Fittipaldi in an interview. “Across the world, the church continues to protect the privacy of the pedophiles and also the cardinals [who protect them].”
“Francis is not directly defending the pedophiles, but he did close to nothing to contrast the phenomenon of pedophilia.”
In his book Lussuria (Lust), Fittipaldi argues that the Vatican simply isn’t doing enough. He cites few new cases, but instead reexamines past cases and “church responses to allegations that have mostly been previously aired, occasionally adding fresh details,” reports The Washington Post.
The book cites the case of Mauro Inzoli – a flamboyant Italian priest found guilty of molesting children in 2012. Inzoli “even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimized by scripture and their faith,” reports The Week. Pope Francis reinstated the defrocked Inzoli in 2014 on the grounds that he was to live “a life of prayer and humble discretion as a sign of conversion and repentance.”
Lussuria includes numerous long-standing allegations against members of the pontiff’s Council of Cardinal Advisers – a group of nine men who work closely with the pope. Cardinal George Pell, the pope’s top financial adviser, slams the book as “particularly shoddy and dated.”
Pell, who has denied numerous accusations of sexual abuse, says Lussuria is “a blatant attempt to blacken his name and reputation, it is simply erroneous on many accounts.”
Fittipaldi has become a thorn in the Vatican’s side in recent years. He was tried in a Vatican court last year after accusations that his 2015 book Avaricia (Greed) included illegally published material. Charges were dropped, and he went on to attack the Church again with a second publication.
Lussuria states that approximately 1,200 sex abuse cases have been filed with the Holy See since Pope Francis took office in 2013. “In some of the twenty cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests in Italy in 2016…priests have been convicted of abuse without the church taking any canonical action against them,” reports The Guardian.
The Vatican has refused to comment on Lussuria or the accusation that Francis is not doing enough to stop sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
Editor’s note: While any organization of over a billion people will have issues, the pedophilia problem has been a systemic problem for a long time. It drives away potential participants and is a disgusting blemish on an institution which is largely responsible for progress and greatness we see in the world today.