Analysis | Francis' Promises: Did the Pope Listen to the Victims?
Criminals in cassocks are the pet peeve of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis had promised to listen to the victims. Promise kept? Or disappointment? This is the second in a three-part series on Francis' ten years as head of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis promised to listen to the victims of the Church.
For 10 years, Pope Francis has repeatedly praised humility and the left behind. A humble, indulgent and benevolent Church. Here is the project!
But is there a particular file that allows us to measure how the pope's speech has changed or not the reality of the left behind?< /p>
If there is such a file, it is that of criminals in cassocks who ruined the lives of thousands of victims and the Church.
This is the story of Juan Carlos and the Battle of Chile.
I met Juan Carlos Cruz in Rome. I was there for a report. Him, to see a friend he loves deeply.
When I asked Juan Carlos to tell me his story, he didn't hesitate for a second. He has the habit. After all, it is his story that will lead to the Battle of Chile and the wholesale resignation of all Chilean bishops.
I was 15 when I I lost my father. So I was told "go see this priest, he is a holy man". So I went.
Father Fernando Karadima indeed had quite a reputation! He knew everyone in Chilean high society.
“Shortly after, the beatings started…Obviously it was horrible. »
— Juan Carlos Cruz
The Chilean Juan Carlos Cruz is a victim of Father Fernando Karadima.
To add to the horror, while Juan Carlos or his friends were attacked, another priest, in the background, allegedly observed the scene in silence.
Bishop Barros is a bishop today. At the time, he was just a young priest. And he saw the assaults. He was watching, he was there. He walked away when we were attacked.
The story of Juan Carlos may seem incredible, but not so much, after all, when we listen to the many testimonies of victims of criminals in cassocks.
In France, on his own , Father Bernard Preynat allegedly committed hundreds of assaults over twenty years. Among the victims, François Devaux.
The Church does the opposite of what it was created to do. Pedophilia and covering up crimes in the Church is killing the minds of little boys.
François Devaux created the association La parole liberated, on the initiative of the victims of a scout chaplain of the diocese of Lyon, in France , Bernard Preynat.
François Devaux was 10 years old at the time. From the first sexual contacts, he spoke about it to his parents, who believed him. This is really not the case for all the victims, who keep the secret of their attacks buried in them for decades.
Juan Carlos kept his heavy secret for more than thirty years, horrified by his memories. Never, he told me, would I have imagined being able to talk about it.
Well, that's what changed.
Today, if we know the modus operandi of criminals in cassocks, it is because, everywhere, the victims have started to speak. In Lyon, for example, François Devaux co-founded an association of victims of Father Preynat, La parole liberated.
“I unleashes this war out of conviction, out of spirituality. You have to respect life. The Church is not a respectable institution, it is an enterprise of spiritual corruption that has done the extreme opposite of what is written in the Gospel. »
In January 2018, when Pope Francis arrived in Chile for what was to be another beautiful apostolic trip, he must not have suspected that Juan Carlos, François Devaux and many other victims from everywhere were waiting for him. Together, in Santiago, they have just created a first international association to denounce the hypocrisy of the Church.
Protesters and victims of Catholic priests await Pope Francis upon his arrival in Santiago, Chile, in 2018.
To Santiago, the pope appears in public with Bishop Barros, the one who allegedly watched Juan Carlos being assaulted. This is too much! The anger of the victims bursts.
Juan Carlos challenges the pope and denounces the presence of Barros at his side. The pope becomes scathing and replies publicly that it is slander, that there is no proof of what Juan Carlos and the other victims are claiming.
Still today today, when I talk to Juan Carlos about it, I smell the mustard rising in his nose.
It was painful. In front of the whole world, seeing the pope say I was lying!? And I saw it live. It was unbearable.
The case turns into a major crisis. As much for the Chilean Church as for this pope on the verge of losing his credibility when he talks about the left behind.
Bishop Barros was present during Pope Francis' mass in Iquique, Chile, in January 2018.
In Chile, the bishops said that I could not be Catholic since I am the enemy of the Church! I thought, “I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to let this gang of criminals say that I am unworthy!"
And what Pope Francis could not imagine happened. Not even Juan Carlos!
The townspeople got angry. It was a revolution. They supported me and the other survivors. It was impressive!
It is unclear whether it was the tears or the anger of Juan Carlos that convinced François, but he ordered that an investigation be carried out. As a precaution, he appoints a confidant from the Vatican. The report is damning for the Church… and for himself. How could he doubt Juan Carlos and the victims? He who, upon his election, had promised to fight this scourge of criminals in cassocks.
Sometimes, in politics, public men and women get their feet stuck in the flowers of the carpet. Sometimes governments even fall, presidents resign, regimes are overthrown. Never the Catholic Church.
In the battle for Chile, Francis came very close to falling. What may have saved him, Marco Politi, one of the Vatican's foremost analysts, told me, was the courage to criticize himself.
And that, this is a big difference with other popes. He had obtained false information about the situation in Chile. But afterwards, he had the courage to admit his mistakes publicly.
For Juan Carlos who was publicly humiliated by the pope, this victory is jubilant.
No one expected the pope to say: "I made a big mistake and I I apologize to Juan Carlos and the others”. Afterwards, he summoned all the bishops of Chile to the Vatican, demanding their resignation. We had never seen that. It was great!
In France, François Devaux and the victims of Father Preynat also fought a colossal battle. Father Preynat is now in prison. Cardinal Barbarin ended up in court and had to submit his resignation to Pope Francis. In the aftermath, the victims forced the establishment of an independent commission which concluded that, contrary to what the Church of France has always maintained, more than 216,000 victims have been attacked over the years in France. by pedophile priests.
Father Bernard Preynat is today in prison for sexual assault.
This battle of Lyon was David against Goliath. The victory of the victims is immense. The columns of their parish temple shook all the way to the Vatican! And yet, in the Lyon countryside where I met François Devaux, I felt a deep anger that nothing can extinguish.
We will not be able to reform the #x27;Catholic Church because it has granted itself powers which it will not renounce, believes François Devaux. But who can regulate sexuality and, at the same time, displace pedophiles who have destroyed lives?
It was a beautiful November day in Rome. I was there reporting. I greeted Juan Carlos one last time. He had a date with his friend he loves so much: Pope Francis. Like every two months.
“I blame the Pope's entourage for lying to his face. All these hypocritical cardinals and bishops who protect each other, who protect their assets. So I will never be silent.
—Juan Carlos Cruz
Pope Francis fully intended to put an end to this scourge of criminal priests. He had the mission. He had made the promise. But there are those scourges that noble intentions cannot stem.
To learn more about Pope Francis' 10th birthday, don't miss the documentary The promises de François, broadcast on Saturday March 11 on RDI at 6:30 p.m., then in rebroadcast on Sunday March 12 at 9:30 p.m.