Saturday, August 04, 2018

Pew Research: U.S. Catholics Give Pope Francis Failing Grade on Sex Abuse Scandal

Pope Francis arriving in Chile where Church cover ups remain a hot button issue.

Many Catholics, especially in the United States, had hoped that Pope Francis would lead the Roman Catholic Church into the 21st century and mark a turning away from the reactionary policies of his predecessors, the far less than saintly John Paul II, and the "Nazi Pope", Benedict XVI.   Five years into Francis' reign, little has actually changes, especially in terms of addressing the still ongoing global sex abuse scandal - a scandal that will be further reignited once the Pennsylvania grand jury report is released.  The more or less forced resignation of Cardinal McCarrick for sex abuse - something reportedly known by many in the Church hierarchy - is adding fuel to the demands that a house-cleaning of implicated high clerics be undertaken.  Of the things fueling the exodus from the Catholic Church is the sex abuse scandal. Among the others are the Church's continued anti-gay agenda and its rejection of commonsense contraception policies.  A piece in Pew Research looks at the growing impatience with Francis' failure to clean house.  Here are excerpts:

The long-simmering Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has been back in the headlines following new allegations against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned from the College of Cardinals last weekend. Pope Francis accepted the resignation — reportedly making McCarrick the first cardinal in church history to resign over allegations of sexual abuse. In addition, some church officials have been accused of having long known about at least some of the allegations against McCarrick.
Even before news stories about McCarrick came to light in recent weeks, U.S. Catholics were increasingly unhappy with the church’s handling of the sex abuse scandal. A January 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that just 45% of U.S. Catholics said Pope Francis is doing an “excellent” (13%) or “good” (33%) job addressing the crisis, down from 55% who said this in 2015, the last time the question was asked.
The survey also found that U.S. Catholics’ ratings of Pope Francis had become less positive on some other issues, including spreading the Catholic faith and standing up for traditional morals.
U.S. Catholics have long viewed addressing the sex abuse scandal as a particularly high priority. A survey conducted immediately after Francis’ 2013 election found that 70% said this should rank as “a top priority” for the new pope, compared with far fewer who said the same about standing up for traditional moral values (49%) and spreading the Catholic faith (39%).
Francis’ declining rating on the sex abuse scandal mirrors a pattern seen during the papacy of his immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI. By the time of Benedict’s retirement, in February 2013, just a third of American Catholics who were following the news of his resignation (33%) rated his handling of the issue as excellent or good – down from roughly half (49%) who held this view five years earlier.
Francis' problem, of course, is the entrench, power mad Vatican hierarchy which cares far more about money, power, perks of office and protecting the secrets of the many bishops and cardinals who aided and abetted predator priests or engaged in sexual misconduct themselves.

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