During his controversial tenure in the Vatican, Pope Francis has reportedly reduced sanctions against several priests accused of child molestation on the basis that the church must be more merciful toward everyone, including even those who abuse children.
One of those priests was Rev. Mauro Inzoli, who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2012 of having abused young boys and was subsequently defrocked. Two years later, however, Pope Francis chose to reduce the child molester’s sentence.
Instead of being defrocked, Inzoli’s punishment was reduced to “a lifetime of prayer, prohibiting him from celebrating Mass in public or being near children, barring him from his diocese and ordering five years of psychotherapy,” according to The Associated Press.
Not surprisingly, Inzoli has since found himself back in court on new charges of child molestation. Once a child molester, always a child molester, apparently. Thankfully, Francis’ atrocious decision-making did not have an effect on Italy’s secular justice system, which last November sentenced Inzoli to nearly five years in prison.
One would think the pope would have learned his lesson from what happened with Inzoli, but one would be quite wrong.
According to The Week, sources with direct ties to the Vatican have claimed that Pope Francis is pushing forward with a plan “to undo the reforms that were instituted by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI in handling the cases of abuser priests.”
Because of these reforms, the punishments meted out to child molesters became far harsher, with most perpetrators being rightly defrocked. Apparently Francis wants to undo this.
There are many possible explanations for the pope’s bizarre and seemingly pro-child-molester behavior, but the most salient is that he has allowed his heart to be corrupted by a misguided spirit of mercy, as outrageous as that may initially sound.
Mercy and compassion are positive expressions that should be offered, but only to the deserving. When, alas, the spirit of mercy becomes corrupted, as has apparently happened in the case of Pope Francis, one loses the ability to discern the deserving from the undeserving.
Those who truly deserve mercy — and much more — are the victims of priests like Rev. Mauro Inzoli. As for the priests themselves, they deserve nothing less than to be thrown to the wolves. Pope Francis ought to know that, but clearly he doesn’t.
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