For all of Pope Francis’ deserved acclaim in leading the Roman Catholic Church to new directions, he is failing badly on his promise to address the child abuse scandal at the crucial level where ranking churchmen systematically protected priests who raped and molested children.
Other critics have been skeptical of the pope’s promise to discipline bishops guilty of cover-ups. Francis provoked outrage in Chile by appointing the Rev. Juan Barros as a bishop, despite his closeness to a notorious serial abuser who had been defrocked by the Vatican. The pope was later caught on videotape dismissing objectors as “stupid” and “leftists.” Now Francis is without a trusted adviser because of a scandal he has failed to confront at the highest levels.