NBC reviews recent problems in Latin America. Journalist Simeon Tegel lays a lot at the feet of “conservative” clergy south of the border. Is that fair? He does mention the wide range of ideological sympathies in Catholic clergy in many nations. The JPII and B16 bishops don’t come off looking too good:
In Peru, an auxiliary bishop, Gabino Miranda, has been on the run for more than a month since child sex allegations surfaced. He is alleged to have selected his victims during confession.
Lima’s ultraconservative* archbishop, Juan Luis Cipriani, even scolded journalists covering the scandal and demanded “mercy” be shown to Miranda.
Bishop Miranda admits “imprudence,” but fleeing an investigation? Celebrities on the run from the law, even ones with colored piping on cassocks, are indeed news.
In Pope Francis’s home country, a priest was sent to prison for sexual assault.
(His home diocese of Morón) issued a statement highlighting how (he) had been acquitted on 15 of the 17 charges against him.
The case is summarized here.
My sense is that much, probably most, sexual abuse and the seemingly-inevitable cover-up is part of a system of addiction. Sex addicts ensconcing themselves in positions of respect and above scrutiny, gathering allies, grooming superiors, and taking full advantage of aspects of culture that keeps people subjugated and silent.
The crimes of this once saint-to-be, sadly, are not unique to the Church. To stave off any future backlash, the institution and its theologians and pastors would do well to give a serious look at Church authority. Placing all its theological eggs in the basket of obedience to a religious aristocracy may well prove catastrophic.
Jesus did not found a Church of the privileged. Mansions, fancy cars, and even fundraising acumen can and should be jettisoned whenever it interferes with the preaching of the Gospel. It is something that we are right to demand of our leaders. For their own good, if not for the good of Christ’s mission.
* He believes Peru’s former dictator Alberto Fujimori, serving a 25-year prison sentence for embezzlement and directing death squads, should be released. And he opposed a pension of less than $100 a month for the penniless elderly.