Your Minor Heretic has been busy wrestling with large mechanical things for a while, but all the feel-good PR about the papal visit has gotten me feeling disgruntled and heretical.
Yes, Papa Frank has been saying the right things about poverty and climate change. Fine, thanks. It’s always fun to see the far right tie themselves in knots when a conservative authority figure breaks ranks. However, His Eminence has failed to address child sexual abuse by the clergy and his church’s historical and present efforts to protect the child rapists in its midst. When a parishioner can’t trust the church to protect children from sexual abuse, really, what use is that church?
I wrote about this back in 2008 and not much has changed since then. One point I covered then was that Catholic canon law required an oath of secrecy from anyone involved in a sexual scandal. Violating that oath “even for a greater good”, such as notifying the police, resulted in excommunication, “latae sententiae, ipso facto.” The Latin means that the person who complains to the police that a priest raped their child would be excommunicated without any process, at the moment of the commission of the act.
I looked up latae sententiae excommunication and there are a number of things that will get you instantly booted from the church. Throwing away a communion wafer is one of them and assaulting the pope is another. Heresy as well, so I’m out. Raping a child is not. To paraphrase a line from the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to excommunicate.”
If Pope Francis wants me (along with many other Americans) to dredge up a few warm and fuzzy feelings for him, he could issue a papal bull declaring any cleric committing an act of sexual abuse to be excommunicate, latae sententiae, ipso facto. If tossing a sanctified cracker in the trash warrants it, raping a child should pass the test for expulsion.