Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister

Why Francis Married Two Unknowns, But Refuses To Listen To Inconvenient Witnesses




Like clockwork, Pope Francis’s words spoken at high altitude, this time during his flight back from Peru to Rome on the night between January 21 and 22, have produced the umpteenth great confusion:

> Video of the press conference with Pope Francis

There were two explosive subjects of the press conference, both localized in Chile: the fate of the bishop of Osorno, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, and the lightning wedding celebrated by the pope between a hostess and a steward, during the flight from Santiago to Iquique.

In this second case, Francis said that he had judged at once that “all the conditions were clear” for the validity of the sacrament, and therefore it could be celebrated right away. To come to this certainty he explained that the words of the two spouses were enough for him.  {Incredible !!!  I have had people lie to me under oath that they were free to marry when they were already married but separated from their wives.}

Concerning the bishop of Osorno, the opposite took place. The pope said that he “studied and restudied” the case for a long time, but there was no “evidence” for his guilt. And because of this he is keeping the bishop at the head of the diocese, in spite of the accusations that continue to be brought against him, accusations that for the pope are in reality “calumnies.”

In Chile, responding curtly to a question from a journalist, Francis had spoken not of missing “evidence,” but of “proofs.” And for the use of this latter word – in reality little or not at all different from the former – he apologized on the airplane. He held firm, however, to the correctness of the word “calumny” as he applied it to those who say they are victims of sexual abuse that the pope maintains never happened.

He also said, however, that he had never listened to the “victims” because they neither “came to” nor “were presented to” him. When in reality they asked over and over again, publicly, for the pope to listen to them so that he could verify on the basis of their testimony precisely that “evidence” which he continues to say is missing.

During the flight back from Rome, Francis also furnished a new exegesis of the letter he wrote to the Chilean bishops on January 31, 2015, made public by the “Associated Press” just before this journey to Chile.

From how the letter was written, in fact, it seemed to be clear that Pope Francis himself thought it was right, until the end of 2014, to remove this bishop, only to change his view and promote him, on January 10 of 2015, to the see of Osorno.

But now it seems that this was not the case. From what Francis said on the airplane it should be gathered that he always maintained that this bishop was “good and capable,” even when “a few people of the episcopal conference” of Chile wanted him to resign. And in fact, not once but twice the pope said that he had turned down his resignation, both before and after the appointment to Osorno, because to accept it would have meant “admitting his guilt,” when instead, he stated categorically: “I am convinced that he is innocent.”

In this tangle of contradictions, it remains unexplained why the victims of the spiritual guide of the bishop of Osorno, the priest Antonio Karadima, should have been given the greatest credence, arriving rapidly at the canonical sentence of condemnation, while some of these same victims are instead not given credence and not even listened to when they accuse the bishop.

During the inflight press conference, Francis also said that he had “thanked” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors, for the words he had spoken on the question.

In reality, the statement that the cardinal published on January 20 on the website of his archdiocese of Boston is anything but in harmony with the pope.

O’Malley said that “it is understandable that Pope Francis’ statements  were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” because “words that convey the message ‘if you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed’ abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile”:

> Cardinal O’Malley: Pope caused “great pain” for abuse survivors in Chile

Returning to the lightning wedding blessed by Francis on the flight between Santiago and Iquique, it must be noted that this outcome had been foreshadowed by the spouses themselves a month before, in an interview with the Chilean newspaper “El Mercurio” of December 19:

> Con emoción y nerviosismo: Tripulación del avión que trasladará al Papa en Chile cuenta cómo recibieron la noticia

On the airplane, however, everything seemed to happen by surprise, to judge by the video of the “breaking news” given immediately afterward by the spouses themselves to the journalists on the flight with them:

> The pope: “I’ll marry you, come on, let’s do it!”

And even Francis – according to what he said during the flight to Rome – seems to have been taken  by surprise by the idea of marrying the hostess and the steward, but decided to proceed on the spot, giving immediate credence to the two.

And to the journalist at the press conference who asked him “what would you say to the priests who find before them fiancés who intend to get married on an airplane or on a ship,” he replied calmly:

“It must be said to the priests that the pope questioned them well, it was a regular situation.”

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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