Thu 30th Oct 2014 | Last updated: Thu 30th Oct 2014 at 13:25pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Comment & Blogs

I thought that having a new Pope at last would bring some relief from hostile media attention: how wrong can you be?

They can’t get Pope Francis over paedophilia: but they were always going to find something

By on Monday, 18 March 2013

Pope Francis greets people after Mass yesterday (Photo: CNS)

Pope Francis greets people after Mass yesterday (Photo: CNS)

“Reacting with unusual swiftness,” The New York Times reported, two days day after the present Holy Father’s election, “the Vatican on Friday rejected any suggestion that Pope Francis … was implicated in his country’s so-called Dirty War during the 1970s”.

“On a day,” the paper continued, “when Francis delivered a warm address to his cardinals and continued to project (my italics) humility” (for all the world as though the new Pope were performing some kind of PR operation), “the Vatican seemed intent on quickly putting to rest questions about the Pope’s past, dismissing them as opportunistic defamations from anticlerical Leftists. The swift response contrasted with past public relations challenges during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, when the Vatican often allowed criticisms to linger without rebuttal.”

“There has never been a credible accusation against him,” said Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, adding that such charges “must be rejected decisively.” On the contrary, he said, “there have been many declarations of how much he did for many people to protect them from the military dictatorship.”

All undeniably true: but Archbishop Bergoglio did continue to talk to the dictator, and there is an embarrassing photo of the two men smiling together: but all that means is that he continued to be a pastor to powerful sinners as well as to the virtuous poor. But this, clearly, is going to be a most profitable line of attack, just as Pope Benedict’s incorrectly alleged failure to confront paedophile scandals continued to be the main line of attack during his pontificate. We’ve been here before, of course, from the “Hitler’s Pope” allegations through St Josemaría Escrivá’s alleged support for the Franco regime. What is never speculated about is what might have been said behind closed doors: you never, for instance, hear the story of St Josemaría entering Franco’s office and announcing that he has come to talk to Generalissimo Franco about what the Caudillo will say to God on the day of judgment. There are perfectly good and valid answers to accusations of complicity in the case of the then Archbishop Bergoglio, and before that of Fr Bergoglio during his time as Jesuit provincial: the trouble is that they cannot in the nature of things be proved.

And the attacks are only to be expected: he’s not vulnerable over paedophilia, so they needed some other issue. In the words of the admirable Laura Ingraham, radio talk show host and Fox News contributor (herself a convert): “I would have been stunned if the secular progressives had come out just lauding this man for his career of service and his humility and his charity, [but] that just wasn’t gonna happen right? It’s just not gonna happen. He’s not here to be loved by the secular progressives.”

I ought to have expected all this, but didn’t. Indeed, as the cardinals were preparing to be locked in, I somewhat naively wrote an article headlined, you may remember, “Now the conclave is about to begin, we can look forward with relief, not only to having a pope again, but to the secular media’s sudden loss of interest”.

How wrong can you be? “Argentina ‘Dirty War’ accusations haunt Pope Francis,” announced the BBC website (with barely disguised satisfaction) two days after his election as Pope. “I see a lot of joy and celebration for Pope Francis, but I’m living his election with a lot of pain”: thus, the BBC reported the words of Graciela Yorio, the sister of Orlando Yorio – a priest who was kidnapped in May 1976 and tortured for five months during Argentina’s last military government. Ms Yorio accuses the then-Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio of effectively delivering her brother and fellow priest Francisco Jalics into the hands of the military authorities by declining to endorse publicly their social work in the slums of Buenos Aires, which infuriated the junta at the time.

“Their kidnapping took place,” continued the BBC report, “during a period of massive state repression of Left-wing activists, union leaders and social activists which became known as the ‘Dirty War’. Orlando Yorio has since died. But, in a statement, Fr Jalics said on Friday he was “reconciled with the events and, for my part, consider them finished”.

The BBC concedes that “There is no evidence (my italics) that he was in collusion with the regime”: but then it goes on to say that “the actions of the Roman Catholic Church during the Dirty War are still being called into question”, whatever that means. The point about the BBC, whether online or on air, is that it makes a great display of impartiality; but it’s how the story is told that counts. Thus, the “pain” of Graciela Orio is emphasised near the top of the BBC piece: only near the end (when most readers’ attention has flagged or switched off entirely), are we told of the views of the Argentine Nobel Peace prize winner, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who was a human rights activist at the time, was arrested by the military in 1977, suffered 14 months of clandestine detention and was tortured severely, and who told the BBC World Service Spanish language service that “There were some bishops who were in collusion with the military, but Bergoglio is not one of them.” Mr Perez Esquivel strongly supports Pope Francis. “He is being accused of not doing enough to get the two priests out of prison, but I know personally that there were many bishops who asked the military junta for the release of certain prisoners and were also refused. There is no link” he insists, “between [the Pope] and the dictatorship.” But the BBC described him as “a religious person himself”: in other words, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

It will be interesting to follow this story over the months ahead. The secular media now has a new bone between its teeth; it is unlikely they will let it go before they have extracted the maximum journalistic satisfaction from it and done the maximum damage to the Church by it. “Cardinal Bergoglio” concedes the BBC “was never investigated as there has been no strong evidence that links him in any way (my italics) to one of the darkest chapters of Argentine history”. But does anyone really believe they will leave it at that?

  • DavidJT

    I am amazed you were surprised. Out of interest I checked The Times website the morning after the election and the only headline was about Pope Francis and the military junta. Later in the day a balanced selection of headlines appeared. I am not a catholic but I do see The Times as an anti-catholic paper. I also consider that since the Jimmy Saville scandal the BBC has become more muted in its criticism of the Catholic Church. Something about ‘people in glasshouses’ perhaps?

  • Marcus

    I would take it as a sign of failure if the Pope was not attacked from the Devil’s strongholds: the traditionalists, the political left and the secular media.

  • Deacon_Augustine

    Fr Zuhlsdorf has also written an interesting article about dissenters within the Church turning against the Pope for his close ties with Comunione e Liberazione. That will no doubt become another bogey that the devil’s useful idiots will continue to throw out until kingdom come.

    I must admit to not knowing much about that organization, but the more I am hearing, the more Catholic they seem to be.

    We should not be surprised, though, if the Pope and the Church are hated by the world and its media. Christ told us that is the way it would be and there is no error in His words. The world is enslaved to its prince, the devil, and stands condemned for its rejection of Christ. It is only obvious that it would hate anything that stands for Christ.

    Marcus, while some traditionalists have written some despicable things about Pope Francis, I believe that comes largely from fear of the unknown and a lot of inaccurate reporting about him in the media. I hope they will come to repent of their hasty judgments. I, for one, am a traditionalist who is perfectly happy to look for and expect the best from him, and am keeping him in my prayers daily. Whatever he does or doesn’t do, he is still our Pope and deserves our prayers that he might bear the heavy burden that has been placed upon him at an age when most would expect to be laying the burdens of life down.

  • maxmarley

    The power of the media to investigate wrongs should not always be criticised.
    Hiding wicked actions is not acceptable and I for one am relaxed if people in high places are called to account for their bad behaviour.
    Catholics, clerical or faithful, who have a high profile need to tread very carefully in all situations and ensure their behaviour is beyond reproach. Or have good reasons to explain their actions.
    Those hostile to gospel values will adopt any tactic to discredit Christ’s message. And they will hurt good people in the process.
    But good people have been hurt by Christians who betrayed Christ’s Truth to protect law breakers or an institution.
    Church leaders must be clear in their own minds what is right and what is wrong and no equivocation.
    Pope Francis needs the wisdom of Solomon and our prayers.

  • AsherLev

    This is Z grade apologetics. Some facts & source material for those in need:

    - There is no picture of Bergoglio with Videla. The Daily Mail had to remove a picture that they claimed was of them, but it turns out it was Monsignor Derisi with Videla – plus there is a video [1] on YouTube by Al Jazeera that mentions that that photo and others aren’t of Bergoglio, as people have suggested.

    - Another false claim in the media, was made by Alan Rusbridger. Who suggested in a tweet [2] that Bergoglio was an ‘accessory to murder’, with a link to an article by Hugh O’Shaughnessy also posted on the Guardian live blog, which claimed that Bergoglio hid the junta from human rights groups at his holiday home and cited Verbitsky as its source. But Verbitsky made no such claim and Bergoglio didn’t have a Bishop’s holiday home because he wasn’t even a Bishop then, so the article is now very short after every mention of Bergoglio has been deleted. [3]

    - The Vatican translation [4] of their ‘Response to accusations against Bergoglio in Argentina’ didn’t use the words ‘left’, ‘leftists’, ‘left-wing’ for those who’ve made claims against Bergoglio. But, of course, Horatio Verbitsky, the chief claimant, was involved in communist guerrila shootings during the ‘dirty war’ [5] – so that would be an accurate description.

    - Orlando Yorio wrote a report on his kidnapping, which the Daily Mail said [6] “claims Bergoglio not only failed to quash the rumors, he actively spread them among Jesuits” – yet they only note that he said Bergoglio “promised to put a stop to the rumors and to hurry up and speak to people from the armed forces to testify our innocence” and that the two priests
    “began to suspect his honesty.” But Jalics never actually made such a claim and in his recent statement, in which he describes the matter as concluded, he says that the junta arrested them because “we lost our connection to one of our lay coworkers who had joined the guerrillas. After he was taken prisoner nine months later by the soldiers of the junta and questioned, they learned that he had been connected with us.” As Thomas Reese writes: ‘The junta did not get information from Bergoglio. Contrary to rumor, he did not throw them out of the society and therefore remove them from the protection of the Society of Jesus. They were Jesuits when they were arrested.’ [7]

    - Another important thing to note in this case is that Jalics and Yorio were released unlike tens of thousands of others kidnapped by the junta – why? Well Juan Luis Moyano, a Jesuit who’d been imprisoned and deported by the military, told historian Jeff Klaiber in an interview that Bergoglio went to bat for imprisoned Jesuits [7] and Bergoglio himself gave an interview saying: “I warned them to be very careful. They were too exposed to the paranoia of the witch hunt. Because they stayed in the barrio, Yorio and Jalics were kidnapped. Fortunately, a while later they were freed, first because they couldn’t accuse them of anything, and second, because we moved like crazy people. That same night when I heard of the kidnappings I started to move. In one of my attempts to meet Videla I found out who the military chaplain was who gave mass to Videla and convinced that priest to call in sick and I managed to be named to replace him.” [8]

    - Another claim made by Verbitsky is that there is a 1979 memo that shows Bergoglio gave information on the two priests to the junta [7]. This memo relates to Fr Jalics passport application when he was in Germany. ‘Not only did this take place after they were arrested and after they were released, it was after they were safely out of the country. Nothing he could say would endanger them, nor was he telling the government anything it did not already know.’ [7] And as Verbitsky noted elsewhere [9], there is actually another memo ‘in which Bergoglio asked the ministry to [grant] the renewal of the passport’.

    - Perez Esquivel also said “Bergoglio never turned anyone in, neither was he an accomplice of the dictatorship.” [10] And judge German Castilli who presided over this case, with Bergoglio testifying for four hours as a witness, said: ”It is totally false to say that Jorge Bergoglio delivered these priests. We addressed this issue, we heard the allegations, we reviewed the facts and we felt there was no case to answer. If we had done we would have prosecuted. There cannot be any questions about it because a court has cleared him.” [11]


  • Cestius

    I am not in the slightest bit surprised. There are journalists (particularly Catholic hating ones) that were always going to grub around desperately trying to find something on the new pope and if they couldn’t find anything then there’s always the option of making something up (or deliberately taking some past innocent remark out of context etc. etc. – all the usual tricks.) I know that depressing but that’s the way the world is.

  • kentgeordie

    Give it a rest, William. We should not complain but rejoice that when Catholics behave like Catholics, the world turns hostile.

  • Paul Bostock

    Totally Agree…. Not really in to gold crosses and incense but this man appears to have something about him which makes you stop and wonder ? A man of the poor taking about the poor. Words like that haven’t been heard in many years around the halls of the good and the godly…. lets wait and see and pray it will be different this time around

  • LocutusOP

    I am curious as to how you managed to bunch traditionalists into the “devil’s strongholds”.

    Enlighten me.

  • Padraig Costello

    The new pope is being attacked by all sides. I listened to a protestant talk show last week and a guest SSPX layman was attacking Pope Francis as if he was the spawn of Satan, anti-pope, black pope and ant-Christ. He hasn’t even been installed yet and the vitriol from all sides is already apparent.

  • Marcus

    To say the Devil has a stronghold within the traditionist camp, is not to say traditionalists are in the Devil’s camp. Not all leftists and journalists are in the Devil’s camp either. There is no secret that some of the most vile and false attacks against our Pope have come from traditionalists of various strips. It is all over the blogosphere to the horror of Catholics around the world.The Devil plays on the paranoia, persecution complex and schismatic mentality of traditionalists in order to create divisions in the Church, lead souls into sin and turn Catholics against one another. The Devil knows the traditionalist movement presents a mighty force for renewing the Church and works vigorously against it, in part from within.

  • Ghengis

    Journalists are just as dishonest as an overall group as politicians and lawyers; a lesson we should learn. We should use critical thinking skills to discern truth from fiction since much of what is reported in the media is distorted. If anyone has an idea of how to diminish the influence of the dishonest media they should get on with it.

  • Marcus

    The forces of evil would like nothing more than to train-wreck the renewal of the Church and they know what a threat traditionalists represent. The Devil is working tirelessly to tempt traditionalists with anxiety, fear, despair and discord.The hasty attacks on the Pope demonstrate a victory for evil; one that has caused scandal and divided Catholics. At its worst it draws traditionalists into schism. I am sorry if I offended, but I honestly believe the Devil has formed a stronghold within the traditionalist movement, and is preying on paranoia, a persecution complex, enthusiasm and self-righteousness to undermine the Church.

  • $20596475

    Of course he is going to be put under the spotlight, and it is really stupid to believe that this wouldn’t happen. If you expect the Pope to be listened to by the wider world then you must expect the wider world to examine his credentials. My own view is that the media reaction has been largely positive and encouraging. Much, much better than that shown to Benedict. You ought to be pleased.

  • teigitur

    Would you care to define”traditionalists”?

  • arcadius

    ““There is no evidence (my italics) that he was in collusion with the regime”: but then it goes on to say that “the actions of the Roman Catholic Church during the Dirty War are still being called into question”, whatever that means. ”

    Once upon a time, the news media merely reported the news. Today, they often create it, as shown here. “Called into question,” yes… primarily by the news media. Not exactly false, but misleads naive readers who mistake it for news reporting.

    Like the abuse scandal “crisis” that occurred primarily in the 1970′s and 1980′s, the charges against Pope Francis were primarily made and disproven over a decade ago.

  • Annie

    Sad to say, our media here in Australia is now ;picking up the same line – the celebrity dissidents, ie ex-priests and disgruntled older priests lending a hand, the anti-Catholic line has now switched from ‘what will he do about paedophilia’ to the ‘what did he do during the junta’. I agree too with the comment about glass houses and stones, because sexual abuse and or child pornography charges have been laid against media personalities too, as well as in the armed forces.
    I’ve decided to ignore them, at least we know that these reactions are totally predictable and will always find new ways to surface. Let us follow the lead of the suffering Redeemer and pray for those who hate us…

  • James M

    “There has never been a credible accusation against him,” said Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, adding that such charges “must be rejected decisively.” On the contrary, he said, “there have been many declarations of how much he did for many people to protect them from the military dictatorship.”

    ## Fr. Lombardi needs a lesson in logic. Doing good to others is compatible with being squeaky clean, but it is also compatible with being lousy in all sorts of ways. It seems to have escaped Fr. Lombardi that “Trust us – we’re the Catholic Church” is not quite as persuasive as it might have been when less was known about what clergy have been up to in the past. For the sake of the Church’s public reputation, if no better reasons, Popes these days have to be beyond reproach. Fr. Lombardi doesn’t have to deal with all the suspicion of the CC, the perfectly justified accusations against its personnel, and the issues arising from their crimes, real or alleged – a lot of us on the Net do have to. It is a sin against the virtue of justice to expect Catholics outside the Vatican cocoon to have to clean up after those who inhabit it :(

    “Such charges “must be rejected decisively”” is not a disproof of the charges, but something that looks – because it is supported by any reasoning – like an attempt to stop discussion. Honest men with nothing to hide don’t try that. Catholics – if no one else – have to be given something more intelligent, more to to the point, and very much more convincing. If the accusations are true, and the media can prove them, it would be a service to the public, to the common good, and to the Church. If there is filth, in the Church’s life or the Pope’s background, let it be exposed, as soon as possible. Then the air will have been cleared. If the Pope is squeaky clean, then there is nothing to fear, and nothing for his or the Church’s critics to latch on to. If not – then the cardinals should have elected someone who is beyond reproach.

  • Marcus


  • Pope Zicola

    The hostile media will dig for dirt until the cows come home.
    Don’t be surprise to see them popping up from the Vatican dumpsters…
    … hopefully, with more dirt on them than they can find with Pope Francis! ;-)

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Vatican should make arrangement for the Pope to reply and clarify on major issues raised by the world and the anti forces working against him and the Church. once in a while set aside some 10-15 minutes for this important task, if needed.

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

  • Marco

    Being from Brazil, I can say that both American and Church leaders supported the so called dictatorships in Brazil and Argentina and thank God they did. Those dictatorships were the only thing standing between us and absolutist totalitarian communist dictatorships that would have taken over if they hadn’t been stopped from developing. Communism killed 150 million people last century and so anyone opposing that, even if imperfectly, is to be commended.

  • GFFM

    Expect more innuendo, and shoddy journalism from The Times and other papers. And expect the Argentinian government to behind a good bit of misinformation.

  • NYer

    The morning after his election the NY Times talked about how Francis fought hard against gay marriage and abortion rights, but that he didn’t fight so hard during the dirty war.

    Three years ago, in an “above-the-fold” front page article, they did the same treatment on Benedict. Here they claimed he fought harder to silence dissident theologians than he fought against sexually abusive priests.

    Identical tactics. The goal is to remove all moral authority from the pope and hence, the Catholic church and her teaching.

    Three years ago I cancelled my 25 year subscription to the NY Times. They haven’t changed their spots.

  • Jacques

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us

  • The Great Stalin

    The world will always hate Christ, Comrades. Which is why the church made a catastrophic mistake in the early 1960′s to allow the world inside the Church. The result is as it should have been (and may be, was) anticipated.

  • The Great Stalin

    Just a little word Comrades on the so-called Argentinian “dirty war”.

    The Communist terrorists killed about 13,000 Argentinians during the conflict. The actions of the junta were therefore eminently sensible in protecting the nation.

    But you won’t hear that from the vile BBC, the Guardian et al.

  • Benedict Carter

    Hear, hear!

    I only wish that we could do the same with the liberal-progressive Cultural Marxists in Britain.

  • lewispbuckingham

    Hi Annie, Cardinal George Pell was given a good interview on 2GB this morning which is podcast on the 2GB website.This is an Australian site.

  • Con Logue

    I think Fr Z et al may well be surprised. No-one is going to prevent Traditionalists from celebrating the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and there is a huge amount of goodwill out there from many who haven’t a clue who CL are. This is a papacy of actions moreso than words, entirely in line with St Francis of Assisi’s “Preach the Gospel, and where necessary use words”.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    ” Popes these days have to be beyond reproach.”

    If we took that line we would never have a Pope!

  • Deodatus

    This Pope is a cause for hope, hope even in a cynical, cruel world that has corrupted every institution, the Church included. This Pope will be derided, sneered at and misinterpreted. The media, especially some of the British jingoistic tabloids (i.e., the Sun) will vilify him for his understandable previous stance on the Falkland Islands issue. But hopefully, he will survive this and be a vehicle of renewal in the Church and be a light of hope for the poor and despised vulnerable in our increasingly self-centered and nasty society, especially that of England in the UK. A holy man with a vocation whose guide is the Holy Spirit in the light of Cross of Christ – light that shines especially for the poor and despised vulnerable. Opportune and God sent. Thanks be to God.

  • Little Eccles

    Best if you went back to sleep then.

  • Roderick Blyth

    It reminds me of the the way that the memory of Blessed Pius XII has been trashed over his alleged ‘sympathy’ for the National Socialist regime. An unbiased observor with some knowledge of church history might conclude that since 1870, the Church has stood back from the world, appalled, and has tried, one way or another, to shepherd those, who like it, are more interested in the Kingdom of God than the variously misguided, and often murderous attempts to construct it’s alleged semblance on Earth. I belive that all men of goodwill can see in the succession of Popes since Pius IX, a sincere attempt on the part of holy, wise, and well-informed servants of God and the Church to guide his flock along the difficult path of truth and conscience – I would shudder to be counted among those who would presume to know better than they did what was in the true interests of ordinary, practicing catholics in any given jurisdiction.

  • Alison Vella
  • Peter

    “and there is an embarrassing photo of the two men smiling together”

    Is this the photograph which is being referred to?

  • Benedict Carter

    Much before that. Popes always, but particularly since the start of the Great Darkening (called by some the “Enlightenment”) have been preoccupied by the state of the world.

  • Benedict Carter

    The devil has a stronghold, through Original Sin, on ebvery human heart.

    You might more properly say that he attacks Traditionalists particularly, because they are indeed a great threat to him.

  • Benedict Carter

    See my comment above.

  • Marcus

    Yes. I tried to clarify that when was clear my original post was taken as a slur on traditionalists.

  • Guest

    The funniest thing about this article is Dr Oddie using a quote to advance his dubious argument that their is some sort of monstrous conspiracy by the Times and the BBC against the Catholic Church from ‘ a radio talk show host and Fox News contributor’. Of course Fox News is the last bastion of moral rectitude! Come to think of it are not Fox News and the Times part of the same ‘Evil Empire’ . There’s balance for you.

  • Terry B

    No one hates Christ. If they don’t believe in him how can they hate him?

  • ninoinoz

    Something’s puzzling me.

    If a bishop (or head of order) protected his priests from the civil authorities, there would be outrage from the secular left for interfering in the administration of law and order.

    If a bishop (or head of order) fails to protect his priests from the civil authorities, there is outrage from the secular left for NOT interfering in law and order.

    Well, I can’t be the only person who thinks they are making themselves look foolish.

  • joe

    This has happened many times in the history of the Church…the clergy are often forced to choose between two alternatives: publicly oppose an evil criminal government, like the Nazis or Communists, or keep silent. If the former, they risk arrest and death, in which case they can no longer serve their parishioners. If the latter, then they might be able to continue serving their fellow Catholics, but then later comes the certain criticism that they were colluding with the enemy. This has happened during the persecutions of the Roman Empire, and it continues in the present, with the communist countries of Cuba, China, North Vietnam, North Korea, and the Muslim governments of Africa and Asia. There must be priests in the field, if the Church is to continue, but how can they avoid arrest? The lives of priests are then forfeit, and the utmost bravery is required for them. How easy it is for the NY Times, the BBC, and the Times to criticize priests. There isn’t a single person on the staffs of these newspapers, that has to face the daily fear of arrest, or loss of life, as priests do in Communist China. But you can be certain that the NY Times will be the first to assert that priests there are guilty of collaborating with an evil totalitarian dictatorship.

  • jae

    Right between the eyes! The great fall of their king (Lucifer) was through disobedience. From disobedience comes pride, arrogance, judgmental, hatred and ego.

  • Ballarmine

    Now you are showing your true colours! How desperately sad! The only difference between those dictators and the Nazis is that they operated in different continents.

  • Iztherapist

    And…no comment on Rorate Caeli and their absolute filth of a campaign? Really, the worst is from the inside.

  • w.oddie

    For the record, two days after I posted this, Fr Jalics made the following statement: “‘I myself was once inclined to believe that we were the victims of a denunciation. [But] at the end of the 90s, after numerous conversations, it became clear to me that this suspicion was unfounded. It is therefore wrong to assert that our capture took place at the initiative of Father Bergoglio…Some commentaries imply the opposite of what I meant. The fact is: Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio.”

  • James M

    “but all that means is that he continued to be a pastor to powerful sinners as well as to the virtuous poor.”

    ## Well, maybe – but aren’t all sinners called to conversion, and to turn from their wickedness, and live ? If the rest of us aren’t indulged, but *must* turn from our sins, why should the powerful be indulged ? If a defence of the Pope topples over into a denial of what we owe God, something is not right. The CH is apt to give the (highly unfortunate) impression that defending the Pope is more important than what the Church requires her children to believe & do.

    The concerns about the Pope may be without foundation – it is to be hoped that they are; it does not follow that the secular press is blameworthy for expressing these concerns. On the contrary, doing so is a morally responsible act; it shows concern for the moral character of the Pope and the Church. Since Christian theism is not an amoral but a moral monotheism, this is surely a good thing.