Pope Francis decries critics of church as ‘friends of the devil’

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Pontiff disturbed over tide of accusations prior to Vatican summit on sexual abuse

Wed 20 Feb 2019

Pope Francis with priests at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Pope Francis with priests at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday. Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Pope Francis has said that those who constantly criticise the Catholic church are “friends of the devil”. Speaking to pilgrims from southern Italy, the pontiff said that defects of the church needed to be denounced so they could be corrected, but that those who condemned “without love” were linked to the devil.

“One cannot live a whole life accusing, accusing, accusing, the church,” he said. People who did, he said, were “the friends, cousins and relatives of the devil”.

His remarks come as dozens of victims of clerical sexual abuse gathered in Rome ahead of an unprecedented Vatican summit on the issue. In the lead-up to the four-day event, which begins on Thursday and which will be attended by about 180 bishops and cardinals, the victims have criticised the church’s failure to sufficiently address the issue so far.

The Vatican said it hoped that the meeting would mark a turning point. But people who had survived sexual abuse by priests said the church was nowhere close to confronting the deeply entrenched problem.

Peter Isley, spokesperson for Ending Clergy Abuse, an organisation that brings together activists from different countries, told reporters on Wednesday that the victims’ group would demand Pope Francis adopted zero tolerance measures for paedophiles.

“There are two points,” Isley said. “Kicking out abusive priests and expelling the bishops and cardinals who covered them up. Resignations are not enough.”

Twelve victims met together with the organising committee of the summit on Wednesday afternoon. One, Phil Saviano, whose revelations to Boston Globe journalists in 1992 led to a widespread investigation that exposed sex abuse by the clergy, gave a letter to the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, asking for the names of thousands of priests found guilty of child abuse to be released. “Peoples’ faith and trust in the Vatican is rapidly washing away,” he wrote in the letter.

Anne Barrett Doyle, from the US-based website BishopAccountability.org, told reporters in Rome that canon law had to be fundamentally changed so that it stopped “prioritising the priesthood of ordained men over the lives of children and vulnerable adults who are sexually assaulted by them”.

9 Responses to Pope Francis decries critics of church as ‘friends of the devil’

  1. Sylvia says:

    Dear Lord above help us!

    It seems to me that the real friends of the devil are the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Some of you will recall that in the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel we implore the saint to “cast down into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.”

    If by now the Holy Father still does not realize that the clerical sexual abuse of a child is paramount to the rape of the child’s soul, and that that rape almost invariably begets loss of faith , and that that loss of faith is compounded by denials, coverups and the abysmal failure to at the very least get the predatory charlatans out of the priesthood, then, well, then let’s just put aside all pretense of anything of any significance coming out of this summit.

    St. Michael the Archangel
    Defend us in this day of battle…..

  2. PJJ says:

    I think the “friends of the devil” wear collars in that church. Not all of them but a large percentage for sure. If they were friends of the devil, they would not have abused, covered up abuse, or pay lawyers to defend their pervert collars from the truth. Waht a bunch…right from the top down.

  3. Gary Paterson says:

    I’ll quote Flip Wilson, “The devil made me do it”!

    And yet another chapter in the Fall of Rome!

  4. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Blaming it on the devil is such an easy out! Even Donald Trump has not resorted to this base and pathetic excuse! (Yet)
    Integrity and credibility is lost. I think Sylvia is right – the only resort left is to pray that these vermin get put in their place – it remains to be seen……………….Mike.

  5. Mike Mc says:

    On anothr page at this site Sylvia states Pope Francis knew of various sexual misdeeds of Cardinal McCarrick. https://www.theinquiry.ca/wordpress/rc-scandal/vatican-2/new-book-confirms-viganos-report-that-pope-francis-knew-about-mccarrick-abuse/
    In light of what is happening in Rome right now, I think Francis should resign. Devil or no devil…..the state of the RC church is in such a mess I believe it will soon collapse. If the Pope doesn’t himself admit his own wrong doing, what’s the sense of continuing all this? Yes, the “fall of rome” would probably be best said “the fall of the ‘old boys club’ in Rome!”

  6. Gary says:

    I have a lot of experience with Cults from India, most are completely wacko but this doesn’t seem to bother the fawning followers! I see the same adoration around Popes, it’s built into the structure of the faith and very difficult to dislodge.
    Always remember Jesus Christ is the Way, these people just get in the way!

  7. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane is quoted yesterday – “Our credibility is shot to pieces”. Yes it most certainly is Archbishop, but did you just suddenly realize this now? Did we have to come up and slap you in the face to get you to realize what you and your organization have been doing for decades?
    While Cardinal Timothy Dolan continues to live in temporal opulence in his 15,000 sq. ft. mansion in Manhattan, valued at approximately 26 million dollars U.S., complete with cooks, servants, and chauffeurs, your credibility will continue to suffer and degrade.
    Why do you seem so surprised? Is that just a show? What would your leader Jesus Christ have to say about this? Mike.

  8. MS says:

    Would Pope Francis recognize “friends of the devil” if he saw them? The Vatican is tainted by occultism, witchcraft and religious spirits that choke it from within.
    Pedophilia and the like is the devil’s playground. Those who don’t criticize this are either blind, bound by guilt, shame and perhaps threats by people in the ranks. Perhaps the Pope would prefer to take away our freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and demand the new religion of political correctness. Our political systems are rife with that new religion. The Vatican is working to make ChriIslam the new world religion. It’s not about the TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE GOSPEL, it’s about money and power, and there are merges at different levels, including some very large evangelical groups, as we have heard in the last few years.

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