Friday, September 7, 2018


(Posted by Frenchie)

Last week, the local media, and some on this blog, made a lot of hay about a comment Pope Francis made during his chat with the journalists, in the plane that was taking him back to Rome, from his stay in Ireland.
If there is one thing, that we should all have learned over the last few years, it is not to think that you can conclude precisely what the Pope intent was, when he makes a statement.
More often than not, what Pope Francis means is only clear to him only. What is almost as important to understand, is the context in which he said what he said, but also what he did not say, or perhaps only inferred in that statement.

So lets look back at the famous comment: 
Pope Francis on Apuron: the evidence is clear.

To many people this was evidence that the Pope was finally going to put the Apuron case to bed, and give us, a clear cut answer, following Apuron's "Appeal" of the tribunal findings.

This is exactly the mistake many observers of Pope Francis have made in the past, they pick and choose what they liked in what the Pope declared, and usually have a tendency to ignore the rest of his statement, and the context.

Therefore, lets go back to what Francis  really told us.

The context of the comment.

How did the Pope come up to mention Guam in his statement?
He was being questioned about the upcoming visit of a former Irish member on the Pontifical Commission on the protection of minors, led by Cardinal O'Malley, herself the only real victim of abuse on the Board, who had resigned from said Board, because of the lack of actions taken.
She also had been very critical of the Pope , telling the press that the Pope's mind was not really in addressing the issues at hand, specially the cases of Bishops.
You also have to put this in the context of two other revelations:
  1. The Pensylvannia AG report on abuse in the Church
  2. The still developing story of  former Cardinal Mc Carrick .
The Pope, under obvious pressure, mentioned that he was not for having a permanent court to handle Bishops trials, and he took as an example the latest case, which was the trial of the "former Archbishop of Guam" who had filed an appeal.

He then explained , that rather to have the whole court rehear the appeal, he was going to handle it himself, with the help of a few selected canon specialists.

Right away, everyone here on Guam, or at least a majority of people, jumped on the fact that the Pope was going to handle the case himself. Quoting in particular, his comment that the case was very clear.
What most people failed to note, is the rest of the Pope statement: "it is a very complex case"

These are the exact same words, uttered by Cardinal Filoni himself, on different occasions, regarding this case.

What does that tell us?

It tells us one clear thing, it is that Cardinal Filoni is at the origin of this move. Filoni did not wish the same tribunal to revisit the case, and in view of the new elements that came to light since the original verdict, take the chance of a stiffer sentence.
Filoni has been working hard from the get go, to nuance and influence the final version of the verdict.
Guess who helped select that board of Canon specialist to work for Francis?

This is a typical Vatican two steps.
The beauty of the case, is that no matter, what the Pope decide, Filoni can do a Poncius Pilate of the whole thing. He can wash his hands of it, and claim it was the Pope decision.

This, my friends, does not bode well of Apuron ever facing a real and deserved judgment.

The only thing working in our favor, at this time is that the Pope himself is under tremendous pressure to show that he shall keep his bishops accountable for their misdeeds, and that he actually cares for the victims.

In view of the coming revelations about Francis actions while Archbishop of Buenos Aires, nothing is really sure in that regards.


  1. I think you're right, Frenchie, Pope Francis is trying to walk a tight-rope.

  2. Tight rope or not, when someone says the evidence is clear, he clearly believes that Apuron is guilty thus sending a cear signal to the world and to his advisors what he believes. The Pope will damage his credibility beyond repair if he backtracked out of that.

    1. You are correct anon at 6.10am, but you also miss the point I was making: which is that the Pope also said, in that same sentence that: "this is a very complex case".
      Reading one part of the statement without the whole phrase leads people to jump to conclusion, like you do.
      The article was meant to warn people of that issue.
      I also underline, that other actors, in the background are working hard to have an excuse for Apuron.
      I guess we shall all see the results by the end of this month.
      Nothing in this case, nor in the ones defraying the news as of late is black or white, but rather a lot of shades of grey.
      Which is exactly why so many people are upset, including Archbishop Byrnes.
      We all need clear and precise informations and decisions.