Pope Francis discarded his prepared remarks and spoke off the cuff to women religious. We can therefore better see what is going through his mind.
About sexual abuse he said:
The Church’s solutions to the problem of abuse aren’t resolved from one day to another. A process has begun. Yesterday another document came out, and so slowly we are carrying out a process. Because twenty years ago until now we weren’t aware. Now we are becoming aware, with great shame — but blessed shame — shame is a grace of God. But it’s a process. And we have to go forward, forward, in a process step by step by step to resolve this problem. Some of the anti-abuse organizations weren’t happy with the meeting in February. “But, they didn’t do anything,” they say. I understand, there is interior suffering. If we had hanged 100 abuser priests in St. Peter’s Square, they would have been happy, but the problem would not have been resolved. Problems in life are resolved with processes, not occupying spaces.
How best to characterize these remarks: Unfeeling? Inhumane? Arrogant? Insensitive? Stupid?
Pope Francis has repeatedly failed to follow through on initiatives to hold abusers and bishops accountable. He has rescinded the punishments that Pope Benedict had imposed on abusers. His new document still fails to specify what happens to bishops who are found to have enabled abuse.
Francis and his advisors clearly do not realize the trauma that abuse victims have suffered. My suspicion is that abuse and pederasty have been so prevalent in the church that the hierarchy cannot understand what all the bother is about. Why do the victims keep complaining? It has always gone on, and trying to extirpate it would be like trying to extirpate original sin.
Francis’ last, puzzling remark about processes and spaces is apparently based on the theories of an Argentine political philosopher. Argentina is noted for its political stability; Francis wants the Church to follow its example.