The Guardian reports: The In his own words, Pope Francis comes over as a clever, thoughtful and skilful mixture of social conservative and radical progressive who preaches zero tolerance of pederast priests but whose own behaviour during the terror of Argentina’s military juntas remains decidedly blurred.
In his latest book, On Earth and Heaven, the man then known as Jorge Bergoglio, discusses the divine and the mundane with the prominent Jewish rabbi Abraham Skorka in a series of conversations published in 2010.
Bergoglio appears as a man with a profound social conscience, expressing admiration of some atheist socialists and professing a genuine belief in interfaith dialogue – to the extent that some radical Catholics accuse him of heresy.
He is critical of those who covered up the paedophile scandal that has done so much damage to the church he now leads.
“The idea that celibacy produces paedophiles can be forgotten,” he says. “If a priest is a paedophile, he is so before he becomes a priest. But when this happens you must never look away. You cannot be in a position of power and use it to destroy the life of another person.”
Bergoglio says he has never had to deal with such a case, but when a bishop asked what he should do, he told him the priest should be sacked and tried, that putting the church’s reputation first was a mistake.
“I think that is the solution that was once proposed in the United States; of switching them to other parishes,” he says. “That is stupid, because the priest continues to carry the problem in his backpack.” The only answer to the problem, he adds, is zero tolerance. [Continue reading…]