ABC News reports: "Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope's own advisers question.
One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope's clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him, The Associated Press has learned.
The Inzoli case is one of several in which Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.
In some cases, the priests or their high-ranking friends appealed to Francis for clemency by citing the pope's own words about mercy in their petitions, the church official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are confidential.
"With all this emphasis on mercy ... he is creating the environment for such initiatives," the church official said, adding that clemency petitions were rarely granted by Pope Benedict XVI, who launched a tough crackdown during his 2005-2013 papacy and defrocked some 800 priests who raped and molested children.
At the same time, Francis also ordered three longtime staffers at the congregation dismissed, two of whom worked for the discipline section that handles sex abuse cases, the lawyers and church official said..."
Contrast the attitude of Francis with that of St. Basil of Cesarea (322-379AD). He instructed that the cleric or monk caught making sexual advances (kissing) or otherwise sexually molesting young boys or men was to be whipped in public, deprived of his tonsure (head shaven), bound in chains and imprisoned for six months, after which he was to be contained in a separate cell and ordered to undergo severe penances and prayer vigils to expedite his sins under the watchful eye of an elder spiritual brother. His diet was that of water and barley bread - the fodder of animals.
Outside his cell, while engaged in manual labor and moving about the monastery, the pederast monk was to be always monitored by two fellow monks to insure that he never again had any contact with young men or boys.
Clearly Francis, his mind corrupted by false notions of "compassion" and "mercy," has more regard for sexual predators than their innocent victims and those who seek to discipline the predators.
While it is true that everything must be done to help sinners, this cannot include helping them to sin or to remain in sin. Because of human frailty, every sinner deserves both pity and compassion. However, vice and sin must be excluded from this compassion. This because sin can never be the proper object of compassion. (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.1, ad 1).
It is a false compassion which supplies the sinner with the means to remain attached to sin. Such 'compassion' provides an assistance (whether material or moral) which actually enables the sinner to remain firmly attached to his evil ways. By contrast, true compassion leads the sinner away from vice and back to virtue. As Thomas Aquinas explains: "We love sinners out of charity, not so as to will what they will, or to rejoice in what gives them joy, but so as to make them will what we will, and rejoice in what rejoices us. Hence it is written: 'They shall be turned to thee, and thou shalt not be turned to them.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 25, a.6, ad 4, citing Jeremiah 15:19).
St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that the sentiment of compassion only becomes a virtue when it is guided by reason, since "it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason." (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, c.3). Without such regulation, compassion is merely a passion. A false compassion is a compassion not regulated and tempered by reason and is, therefore, a potentially dangerous inclination. This because it is subject to favoring not only that which is good but also that which is evil (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.1, ad 3).
An authentic compassion always stems from charity. True compassion is an effect of charity (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.3, ad 3). But it must be remembered that the object of this virtue is God, whose love extends to His creatures. (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 25, a.3). Therefore, the virtue of compassion seeks to bring God to the one who suffers so that he may thereby participate in the infinite love of God. As St. Augustine explains: "'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Now, you love yourself suitably when you love God better than yourself. What, then, you aim at in yourself you must aim at in your neighbor, namely, that he may love God with a perfect affection." (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, No. 49,
Weakening or watering-down moral norms is not an act of charity. It is an act of counterfeit charity, an act of spiritual violence.
It seems that Francis is committed toward re-victimizing those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of predator priests and is not truly concerned with showing an authentic compassion and mercy toward convicted pederasts.
Recall the anger Francis demonstrated and the tough words he had for a rowdy crowd when their shoving caused him to fall in Mexico. He was angry because he perceived his safety was in jeopardy. What a shame he lacks the same concern for the safety of innocent children.