James Carroll at The Atlantic:
The body knows when it’s in love, and the body knows when it’s ensnared in something beyond endurance. My body knew last summer, as the revelations in Ireland provoked a visceral collapse of faith.
Pope Francis, challenged by the disgrace of his close ally, the now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, of Washington; by accusations, like Viganò’s, of his own complicity in the cover-up of sexual abuse; and by the moral wreckage of the Church around the world, responded with silence, denial, and a business-as-usual summoning of crimson-robed men to Rome.
Events in subsequent months only magnified the scale of the Church’s failure. With maddening equilibrium, Pope Francis acknowledged, in response to a reporter’s question early this year, that the rape of nuns by priests and bishops remains a mostly unaddressed Catholic problem. In Africa, once AIDS became common, priests began coercing nuns into becoming sexual servants, because, as virgins, they would likely not carry the HIV virus. It was reportedly common for such priests to sponsor abortions when the nuns became pregnant. “It’s true,” Francis said calmly. “There are priests and bishops who have done that.”