1. Pope Francis in the Dock, A former papal nuncio accuses the pontiff of a sex abuse coverup.

By The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2018, Pg. A16, Editorial

A former papal nuncio (ambassador) to the U.S. claims Pope Francis lifted or ignored sanctions imposed by his predecessor on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for the cardinal’s abuse of seminarians.

At least in America, most bishops have done a fair job implementing the 2002 reforms designed to hold abusive clerics accountable to the law and the church. Most Americans have thought the ugly subculture of priests abusing boys and girls was largely cleaned up. But if the archbishop is right, the lies continue.

Pope Francis did not help himself when asked about the charges on his way home from Ireland on Sunday, saying he would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.

Among the ironies here is that, in the capitalist system Pope Francis so often attacks, no corporate executive publicly accused of covering up abuses like this could escape accountability. The Catholic Church is not a profit-making corporation, and the Pope is no CEO.

But when it comes to allegations of abuse and coverup against its leaders by a man who is also a senior leader, surely a church has an even greater interest in getting to the truth. Pope Francis will have to disclose and explain the truth or forfeit his moral authority.


2. Pope’s Accuser: Keeper of Faith Or of Grudges?, By Jason Horowitz.

The New York Times, August 29, 2018, Pg. A1

Archbishop Viganò, the former chief Vatican diplomat in the United States, spent the morning working shoulder to shoulder with the reporter at his dining room table on a 7,000-word letter that called for the resignation of Pope Francis, accusing him of covering up sexual abuse and giving comfort to a “homosexual current” in the Vatican.

The letter, published on Sunday, has challenged Pope Francis’ papacy and shaken the Roman Catholic Church to its core. The pope has said he won’t dignify it with a response, yet the allegations have touched off an ideological civil war, with the usually shadowy Vatican backstabbing giving way to open combat.

While Archbishop Viganò, who was once criticized by church traditionalists as overly pragmatic, has aligned himself with a small but influential group of church traditionalists who have spent years seeking to stop Francis, many of his critics think his personal grudges are central to his motivations.

3. China’s Re-education Camps, Evidence grows that Beijing has imprisoned thousands of Muslims.

By The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2018, Pg. A16, Editorial

More information keeps coming to light about China’s mistreatment of its ethnic Uighur minority, and Beijing’s responses aren’t helping its credibility.

The Journal reported this month that China is expanding a network of internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang. Satellite photos show several walled facilities under construction as recently as four weeks ago. Six former prisoners told the Journal that they and others were subjected to physical and mental abuse to make them renounce Islam.

The Chinese government also admitted this month for the first time that this ethnic prison system exists. Hu Lianhe, a high-ranking official handling minority affairs, told a United Nations panel on racial discrimination that the camps are vocational schools for petty criminals.

For all of Beijing’s indignation, evidence that the camps hold hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims is overwhelming. Whole neighborhoods in the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar are deserted, with homes sealed by police. Adrian Zenz, a researcher at the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany, analyzed public construction contracts that show the government has spent more than $100 million to build 78 re-education camps of up to 82,000 square meters. Mr. Zenz estimates there are as many as 1,300 camps.

Communist China has never lived up to its promises to respect freedom of religion, but for a time after Mao Zedong the regime showed some tolerance. Under Xi Jinping persecution is the most extreme since Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Authorities are harassing mainstream believers across the country, demolishing Christian churches as well as mosques. The world may not be able to stop these abuses, but it can expose them.


4. Pressure on archbishop grows, By Julie Zauzmer and Michelle Boorstein.

The Washington Post, August 29, 2018, Pg. B1

Catholic teachers on Tuesday added their voices to the escalating calls for the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, to resign after a one-two punch of major scandals for the church implicated the cardinal in covering up sexual abuse.

First, a sweeping investigation in Pennsylvania, documenting abuse by 300 priests over the course of 70 years, focused attention on Wuerl’s mixed record of dealing with abusive priests when he was bishop of Pittsburgh.

And then Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in a dramatic and largely unverified letter that is rattling the Catholic Church, included a charge that Wuerl knew about alleged sexual misconduct committed by his predecessor, Theodore McCarrick. Wuerl has denied knowing of anything about misconduct until McCarrick was suspended this summer.

Numerous other bishops, facing calls from concerned Catholics for criminal investigations and mass resignations in their dioceses, have responded to Viganò’s letter, with some urging caution about believing the inflammatory claims and others indicating they find it credible.

Wuerl submitted his retirement paperwork in 2015, when he turned 75, as the Vatican requires of all bishops. He could request that the pope accept his resignation, if he wanted to step down, but only Francis can choose when Wuerl leaves his position. Vatican spokesmen have not responded to questions about whether Francis would consider removing Wuerl.


5. Cupich dismisses Viganò claims as a ‘rabbit hole’.

By Catholic News Agency, August 29, 2018

Archbishop of Chicago Blase Cupich has dismissed recent allegations made by a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., saying that Pope Francis has a “bigger agenda” to worry about, including defending migrants and protecting the environment.

Speaking Aug. 27 to Chicago’s NBC 5, Cupich said that the pope has “got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the Church.”

Cupich described the contents of Archbishop Carlos Maria Viganò’s 11-page testimony, published Aug. 25, as a “rabbit hole” that he does not think the Church should be going down.

Vigano’s testimony claimed that Pope Francis had removed restrictions on Archbishop Theodore McCarrick that had been imposed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It also stated that McCarrick was instrumental in Cupich’s appointment as Archbishop of Chicago in 2014.

Cupich also implied that racism was a motivating factor behind the release of Viganò’s letter and the ensuing criticism of the pope.

“Quite frankly, they also don’t like him because he’s a Latino,” said Cupich. Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to parents of Italian descent.


6. Catholic board seeks parishioner-led abuse investigation.

By Lisa Marie Pane, Associated Press, August 28, 2018, 7:06 PM

A committee created by the Catholic Church specifically to prevent sexual misconduct by clergy on Tuesday issued a damning assessment of the failings to stem the abuse, calling it an “evil” caused by “a loss of moral leadership.”

The National Review Board called for an investigation led by parishioners, saying a new wave of abuse scandals point to a “systematic problem” and that the bishops themselves can’t be trusted to lead an investigation.

Some survivors of clergy sex abuse said the call was a disingenuous attempt by the church to get around a true independent investigation.

The board was formed in 2002 in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal that started in the Boston Archdiocese and rocked the church globally. The committee said it was compelled to seek a lay-led investigation after recent revelations from a grand jury investigation into six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania and allegations that led to the resignation last month of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C.