Attacks against Pope Francis in the wake of accusations of abuse cover-ups by a former papal nuncio to the US are “tactical” and politically motivated, according to a well-known Dublin priest.
Fr Bryan Shortall OFM Cap., who was present for Francis’ visit to a homelessness shelter in the capital, said the Pontiff’s silence on the issue was “prophetic” as people are now forming their own opinions regarding the allegations.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Fr Shortall said: “I believe that certainly it’s quite political in ways.
“I do believe that maybe there’s possibly another agenda, in terms of the fact people get put off where they think he’s leading the Church. Basically I believe he’s leading the Church right up the road of the Gospel, right up to Christ.
Regarding the Pope’s decision not to comment when questioned by a journalist on his return flight from Dublin, Fr Shortall referred to the Pontiff’s recent homily this week, in which he said Jesus’ showed that the best response to scandal and divisiveness is “silence and prayer”.
This comes after an 11-page statement was published on August 26 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò who accused Church officials, including Pope Francis, of failing to act on accusations of abuse of conscience and power by now-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The archbishop claimed he told Pope Francis about Cardinal McCarrick in 2013.
Fr Shortall added the Pontiff’s visit to the Capuchin Day Centre during his visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families was “special” and a “renewal” for Capuchins because “he has a love for and a concern for people on the margins and especially for the poor”.