Brittie Perez (Brittmarie Janson Perez) has sent me another excellent essay that I'm delighted to publish today. Readers who have followed this blog will perhaps remember that I've previously published other pieces by Brittie — here and here. What follows is Brittie's latest text, entitled Non Posso Piu:
The Italian phrase, Non posso piu, can be translated in any number of ways. Here it functions as "I can't put up with it any longer."
What is that "it" with which I can no longer put up?
The atitudes and behavior of the hierarchy who control the Catholic church.
My protest comprises non-attendance at the church which I attended here in Italy, built by my ancestors and now presided over by a well-meaning, innocent Italian priest. Assigned to the parish only a year ago, the priest presided over the splendid funeral given by the town to my late husband. To be assigned as the sole priest of this litte town had been a step up for him as, due to his lack of liturgical sophistication, the bishop of our diocese had kept close, allowed him to preside only over funerals, and bullied by his fellow priests. Though he will be astonished at my drastic action because he brings me Communion when I am ill, he is not as naive as most think. When I told him I was writing a piece on Kiko Arguello and the Neocathecumenals, he told me that, after attending a Neocathecumenal "mass" at the invitation of a fellow priest, he flatly told his host, "That is a sect."
After seven decades of church going, what was the drop that finally caused my cup to overflow?
Like thousands of Catholics, my road out of the Church was well paved. In fact, I had taken that route in 1993 when the huge pedophilia scandal in New Mexico erupted leading to the resignation of Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez. However, I won't go into all the causes of my dissaffection here. Just the fact that I have given this to Bill Lindsey for Bilgrimage should suffice. But as the devil is in the details, I must admit that Pope Francis' meeting with Kim Davis, with all the Machiavellic machinations it involved, opened wide the EXIT gate.
Paradoxically enough, the last drop was an article in the Italian magazine Jesus, published by the Catholic Paulist press in Rome. In the April 2015 issue, I found an article by Mauro Castagnaro on the case of Chilean Monsignor Juan de la Cruz Barros, appointed bishop of Osorno over the protests of the victims of the sexual abuse by Fernando Karadima, victims who accused Barros of having covered up for Karadima. Details of the case can be found in Jason Berry's "Chilean cardinals close to pope stained by abuse cover-ups," published by NCR on 29 April 2014.
In the Jesus article, Castagnaro relates that one of Karadima's victims, former seminarian Juan Carlos Cruz, in a letter to Nuncio Ivo Scapolo charged that monsignor Barros "was the right hand of Karadima. When Karadima abused us, he saw everything. He even kissed and hugged him (Karadima), making disappear the charges against him." The article reported that 30 priests and deacons of central Chile had written to Nuncio Ivo Scapolo asking for the resignation of Juan de la Cruz Barros as bishop of Osorno.
Francis has no excuse for Barros' appointment because he had to be well-informed of the scandal taking place in neighboring Chile. Moreover, as Jason Berry notes:
Last year, Francis named Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Karadima's most powerful defender, as one of eight cardinals on the commission advising him on Vatican reforms. Errázuriz refused to act on a victim's allegations in 2003, telling the priest not to worry, according to news accounts and legal testimony.
Moreover there have been countless protests against the appointment in Chile, including by Chilean congressmen, to no avail. The Vatican stands firm behind Barros' appointment.
Now, compare the tenacity of the Vatican's support for Barros with the lighting speed with which it reacted when the Polish priest Krzysztof Charamsa outed himself. The words were not even out of Charamsa's mouth when Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi fired him. True, as Lombardi said, Charamsa's action came on the eve of the opening of the Synod and aimed "to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure."
But I can't get out of my mind the contrast between the innaction of the Vatican in the case of a member of the Chilean hiearchy who is compicit in the cover-up of a priest who did untold harm to many Chilean youths, and this one Polish priest who did no harm to another human being when he confessed that he loved another man, except that he hurled a stone at the deceitful edifice that is Church that has covered up for thousands of priests who have sexually abused the innocent children entrusted to their care.
Non posso piu. I am through with making allowances and excuses for the Vatican because I feel that, by doing so in the past and not taking a definitive stand, I have also been part of the cover-up.
P.S. I decided to do more research after I finished the first draft of this. The situation in Osorno has burst into a new scandal. This past Friday 2 October, Pope Francis sent a message of support to Bishop Barros asserting that the protesters had been led astray by leftists and that the charges against him have been discreditted by a court. But I have not yet found evidence of this court decision.
Francis' message was read by Barros the next day and has caused renewed protests in Osorno. Also, via a reliable source, Religion Digital, I have discovered that Barros was a military chaplain with the grade of general, and that upon the charges voiced against him in relation to the Karadima scandal — because of his closeness to Karadima — the military eased him out.
(My own footnote to Brittie's outstanding analysis here: if I understand correctly this report in Crux about the 2 October message of support Francis sent to Barros, blaming leftists for the insurrection against his appointment as bishop, what happened on 2 October is that a video was released showing the pope talking to the spokesman for the Chilean bishops' conference in St. Peter's Square five months ago.
It was to that person that Francis made the (shameful) remarks blaming "leftists" for the protests against Barros, and calling the people of Osorno "stupid" for protesting. The video happened to be captured by an Argentinian tourist standing nearby with an iPad — and was apparently released on 2 October, if I'm reading the Crux report correctly.)