I made ‘serious errors’, ‘offended many’, ‘I apologize’, he had said repeatedly
Dr James Kottoor
“Shatteringly frank and transparent, honest to the core, unparalleled, compelling and towering example, glorious, beautiful and magnificent, humble-simple-childlike-leadership in action at its very best,” what other adjectives should I use, I don’t know, I confess. The eternal truth:”One who humbles himself will be exalted” is proved right before our eyes.
“Errare humanum est” (to err is human) even to an “infallible pope” but to admit the mistake openly to come out brightest like the noon-day Sun, is the thundering message Francis sends out to the whole world, especially to the die-hard conservative Catholics and more specially to bishops of the ‘Syromalabar’ variety. Any doubt on that?
Francis did it after seeing reports of a total of 64 sex abuse victims in Chile and New York connected to Chilean bishop Juan Barros. The inquiry was conducted from February 17 to March 1. Three main accusers of Bishop Barros were: Juan Carlos Cruz, Jose Andres Murillo and James Hamilton, when they were abused by Father Fernando Karadima.
Pope’s visit to Chile was in last week of January. Then he had supported Bishop Barros saying "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny," slander etc.
The dramatis personae in this whole episode is the Pope who made an “honest” mistake about Bishop Barros, the accused for cover-up, the three accusers mentioned above, Father Fernando Karadima the sex abuser, Archbishop Scicluna of Malta, Pope’s trusted investigator who brought out the whole truth forcing Francis to break into a more honest cry: ‘I have been misled and erred seriously, I have offended many, please pardon me’.
Lessons for India
More important: What are the practical lesons for us in India and Ernakulam specially, drowning in a whirlpool of financial and sexual corruption led by our dear prelates, Alencherry and Edayanthrath? Unlike the Pope, Mar Alencherry took weeks and months to open his mouth to respond clearly to legitimate questioners.
Even after admitting certain unintentional errors and mistakes to a chorus of demand from both priests and laity to step down until he is cleared of all charges, nothing was happening, especially a transparent explanation from him. So the case in court goes on to everybody’s disgust, against the Gospel injunction not to carry your case to a heathen’s court.
In the case of Bishop Edayanthrath, another close friend of ours, he was quoted several times in the Times of India that he knew nothing of the land deal, thus putting the whole blame on the Cardinal. Then came a video circulated in which this scribe saw him presiding over a meeting which took decisions on the land sale, which raised the question: “Can bishops be saying lies through deliberate silence or through their spokespersons?”
Credibility of Bishops in Tatters!
The result is that credibility of the Ernakulam Syromalabar hierarchy is in tatters totally. To reduce confusion and get greater clarity, this scribe asked the question: “Are you in agreement or disagreement with the Archbishop?” to the local parish priest and assistant separately and the answers received were non-commital, “neither hot or nor cold” which a Jesus would only spit out. So confusion and unhappiness reigns supreme among the faithful.
The greatest causality is Jesus who spoke things openly from house tops and exhorted his followers, especially his self proclaimed vicars, to imitate him and not do things furtively in secret for self gratification for power, pleasure or pelf, all to no avail.
But like the lotus in a dirty, stinking pond, Francis shines as an honest dispenser of the PEACE of the Risen Lord. May the whole world draw inspiration from him and change for the better.
Please read below the report in America the Jesuit weekly
Pope Francis admits ‘serious errors’
in handling Chilean sex abuse cases
April 11, 2018
in America, the Jesuit Weekly
In what has the appearance of the beginning of an earthquake in the Chilean church, Pope Francis has sent a strong letter to the Chilean bishops in which he speaks of his “pain and shame” on receiving the report on the abuse scandal in Chile from Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta. He had sent Archbishop Scicluna to listen to the victims of abuse last February.
In the three-page letter, he admits his own “serious mistakes” in dealing with this scandal and asks for forgiveness and goes on to take two dramatic steps: He summons the entire Chilean hierarchy to meet him in the Vatican and invites the three main accusers of Bishop Barros to meet him there too at a different time.
The pope admitted that he had badly misjudged the situation, or as he put it: “I fell into serious errors in the evaluation and perception of the situation, due especially to the lack of true and balanced information.”
He said, “From here on, I ask pardon of all those that I have offended, and I hope to do so personally in the coming weeks, in the meetings that I will have with representatives of the persons interviewed” by his envoys—Archbishop Scicluna and Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos.
Pope Francis admitted that he had badly misjudged the situation in Chile, or as he put it: “I fell into serious errors in the evaluation and perception of the situation, due especially to the lack of true and balanced information.”
Pope Francis said that when his envoys gave him their 2,300 page report, they told him that they “were overwhelmed with the sorrow of so many victims of grave abuses of conscience and power and, in particular, of sexual abuse committed by several consecrated persons against minors” who were denied an audience “and robbed of their innocence.” The report was based on their meetings with 64 witnesses, together with “their juridical and pastoral evaluation of the information received” during a inquiry conducted from February 17 to March 1.
Pope Francis said all this “has caused me pain and shame.” In response he has summoned the entire Chilean hierarchy to the Vatican “to dialogue” with them about “the conclusions” of Archbishop Scicluna’s mission and “to humbly ask” their collaboration and assistance “in discerning what measures need to be taken in the short, medium and long term so as to re-establish ecclesial communion in Chile, with the aim of repairing so far as possible for the scandal, and re-establishing justice.”
The bishops said they will come in the third week of May.Pope Francis has also invited persons from Chile to come to the Vatican to meet him, including the three main accusers of Bishop Barros, sources in Chile said. The three men, Juan Carlos Cruz, Jose Andres Murillo and James Hamilton, have accused Bishop Barros of being present when they were abused by Father Fernando Karadima. They accuse the bishop of being part of a coverup for these acts. The men have confirmed that they had received and accepted the pope’s invitation and will come to the Vatican at the end of April.
In 2011, Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys. Father Karadima denied the charges; he was not prosecuted civilly because the statute of limitations had run out.
In the letter, released to the press in Chile and in Rome, the pope warmly thanked the victims and other people for their “honesty, courage and sense of church” in coming forward and baring their souls to Archbishop Scicluna and Father Bertomeu, “who listened from the heart and with humility” to them. He also thanked these envoys for their work and news media that had acted “professionally in dealing with this so delicate case, respecting the right of the citizens to information and the good name of those that testified.”
He called on the Chilean bishops to join him in prayer and told them that his meeting with them “would be an occasion to restore confidence in the church, a confidence broken by our errors and sins, and to heal the wounds that continue to bleed in the actual situation of Chilean society.”
Pope Francis has moved quickly after receiving the report from Archbishop Scicluna, and it is clear from the letter that there is much more to come when he meets the bishops, and also the victims, in the Vatican in coming six or more weeks.
One more word on Archbidhop Scicluna: He is president of a board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the board handles appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse or other serious crimes.
The archbishop also had 10 years of experience as the Vatican's chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases at the doctrinal congregation.