In My Eyes: by Edward B. Antonio
Religion is the most controversial topic man has ever invented.
I don’t know if you agree with me, fellas.
Lately, Catholic Pope Francis visited our country which ushered an era of popemania. Everywhere, life-size streamers adorn the entrance of almost all Catholic churches nationwide with the inscription: “I Love Pope Francis.” Catholics insist that he heads the Church in the same manner that Peter headed the Church after Christ died. Catholics believe that the bishop of Rome inherits the mantle of Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ who was entrusted with the administration of his church after he died. Peter travelled to Rome where he is believed to have established a Christian community before he was martyred.
But Austin Cline begs to disagree. He does not see the relevance between Peter and the papacy at the Vatican. He said: “There isn’t even any evidence that, once Peter was in Rome, he functioned as any sort of administrative or theological leader certainly not as a bishop in the way we understand the term today. All available evidence points to the existence not of a monoepiscopal structure but instead to committees of elders (presbyteroi) or overseers (episkopoi). This was standard in Christian communities all over the Roman empire.Not until a couple of decades into the second century do letters from Ignatius of Antioch describe churches led by a single bishop who was merely assisted by the presbyters and deacons. Even once a single bishop can definitively be identified in Rome, though, his powers were not at all like what we see in the pope today. The bishop of Rome didn’t call councils, didn’t issue encyclicals, and wasn’t sought after to resolve disputes about the nature of Christian faith.
Finally, the position of the bishop of Rome was not regarded as significantly different from the bishops of Antioch or Jerusalem. Insofar as the bishop of Rome was accorded any special status, it was more as a mediator than as a ruler.
Now, back to Pope Francis, fellas.
Certainly, not all are fans of the pope, although he created wave in our country when he literally begged the Philippine government to stop corruption.
Red Tani, founder and president of a group called Filipino Freethinkers, is not a fan of Pope Francis. His free thinking researches are surprisingly amusing and certainly not funny.
Tani shares the following revelations putting the pope in the B-side:
A poor 13-year-old Dominican boy needed epilepsy medicine, so an archbishop gave it to him in exchange for sexual acts. The archbishop would go on to abuse the boy for four more years.
In 2013, minors inter-viewed by the police admitted to masturbating and having oral sex with the same archbishop as he filmed them. Such footage was later found in the suspect’s laptop, which contained over 100,000 files of child pornography, digitally archived in category-specific folders.
Pope Francis had known about the allegations since August 2013.
His response? On Aug. 21, the abuser was recalled to Rome in secret.
The following month, a year long investigation was broadcast with the allegations against Archbishop JózefWesolowski, a former envoy of the Vatican to the Dominican Republic. This was the first time the Dominican authorities had ever heard of the allegations. By this time, Wesolowski was already under the Pope’s protection.
In a New York Times interview, the Dominican district attorney said the Vatican even sent someone in October to investigate, but it still did not cooperate with the authorities.
Protests and petitions in Santo Domingo called for Wesolowski to be extradited from the Vatican, to no avail. Meanwhile, Wesolowski would live freely in Rome for over a year, living luxuriously in an upscale house, according to reports.
On Sept. 23, 2014—or more than a year after the Pope was told directly about Wesolowski—the Vatican finally arrested the alleged abuser. But instead of extraditing him to the Dominican Republic, authorities decided to hold a trial in the Vatican this year.
This isn’t the first time that the Pope saved an alleged abuser from prosecution. When he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina, he did nothing about the more than 100 abusers documented by the Attorney General’s Office in Buenos Aires alone.
According to bishop-accountability.org, which has one of the most comprehensive databases of clerical child abuse, not only did the Pope do nothing, there was even “evidence that Bergoglio knowingly or unwittingly slowed victims in their fight to expose and prosecute their assailants.”
The punishment of Fr. Julio Grassi of Argentina, who was sentenced to 15 years for child abuse, was delayed in part because Pope Francis had commissioned a private report to prove his innocence and discredit the victims.
A United Nations panel has continued to criticize the Vatican for failing to report abuse charges to authorities, for transferring clergy to avoid prosecution, and for failing to properly compensate the victims and their families.
Pope Francis’ “misdeeds” to me, are mere fingernail dirt. There are more evil popes in history which can shock even the most callous minds. The story of popes like Stephen VI, John III and Benedict IX constitute the darkest chapters in the Church’s history.
We can talk about them next time, fellas.#