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Prominent German Newspaper on Papal Silence: ‘What a Mockery of the Victims!’

Christian Geyer, writing for the German national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), is questioning Pope Francis’ silence on the Viganò allegations. “Shall the sexual violence about which people were silent for years now truly again be officially answered with silence? What a mockery of the victims!” Such is the piercing comment of the journalist.

On September 5, Christian Geyer’s article appeared in the FAZ, and the prominent Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net picked up on it today. Geyer first reports on Pope Francis’ homily last Monday, in which the Pope spoke about the silence of Jesus Christ in the face of accusations. For Geyer, “this homily is not difficult to understand as a theological attempt at exalting the papal approach ‘not to speak a single word’” concerning allegations of cover-up of abusers. Geyer noted that Francis only “breaks the silence in order to preach about the silence of God.”

“I love you, Francis, but that won’t work,” is the response of Father Thomas Reese, S.J. to these papal words, as quoted by Geyer.

Geyer then asks: “Shall the sexual violence about which people were silent for years now truly again be officially answered with silence? What a mockery of the victims!” Quoting Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – the head of the U.S. bishops – and his request for “convincing answers” to the questions raised by the Viganò report, the journalist insists himself upon receiving answers from the Pope, independently of whether this Viganò report was inspired by personal interests or not. The “matter of substance” is at the center of the current discussion, the journalist explains.

“No one in the Vatican,” he adds, “is now in the position to give out the parole ‘silence!’ after the fact that in the past years ten thousand clerical abuse cases – to include numerous networks of cover-up that span over the whole globe – have been revealed.” Quoting Archbishop Viganò, Christian Geyer says that “the rule of silence” has to be broken.

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