The asymmetry between the press’ coverage of the Roman Catholic church’s scandal and the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh are remarkable. Whistle-blowers in the church receive a level of scrutiny that the judge’s accusers do not.
But not to worry. If the press is as favorably inclined to Pope Francis as it seems, the Vicar of Christ may have just supplied one of his flock with the rationale he needs to defend himself tomorrow:
I take the Pennsylvania report, for example, and we see that the first 70 years there were so many priests that fell into this corruption, then in more recent times it has diminished, because the Church noticed that it needed to fight it in another way. In the old times these things were covered up, they even covered them up at home, when the uncle was molesting the niece, when the dad was molesting his sons, they covered it up because it was a very big disgrace… it was the way of thinking in previous times or of the past time. It is a principle that helps me to interpret history a lot.
A historic event is interpreted with the hermeneutic of the time period in which it took place, not as a hermeneutic of today passed on. For example, the example of indigenous people, that there were so many injustices, so much brutality, but it cannot be interpreted with the hermeneutic of today [now] that we have another conscience. A last example, the death penalty. The Vatican, when it was a State, a pontifical State, had the death penalty. In the end the state decapitations were 1870 more or less, a guy, [sic] but then the moral conscience grew, it is true that always there were loopholes and there were hidden death sentences. You are old, you are an inconvenience, I do not give you the medicine, it went so… it is a condemnation to social death. And about today… I believe with this I have responded.
Boys were boys at Georgetown Prep, and priests were priests in Pennsylvania.
Actually, in the case of Kavanaugh, Francis’ point has merit since movies like Animal House indicate what American society could bear back then about young men’s antics.
But can the pope really be serious that priests’ abuse of children or adolescents was part of the church’s outlook before 2002? Was it even acceptable for men called to celibacy to have sex, consensual or not?
Pope Francis may have said more than even Rod Dreher thinks.