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A human pope, who inspires and alienates

Francis has done much good, but he has alienated his admirers

In their paired Jan. 29 op-eds on Pope Francis’s comments in Chile, the usually sagacious Alex Beam misses the point (“The man’s full measure”), while Margery Eagan gets it (“A faith misplaced”).

The pope clearly knows that Juan Carlos Cruz was without a hidden smartphone when he became a child victim of clergy sexual assault, and when Cruz said Bishop Juan Barros viewed the abuse. Yet the pope still labeled Cruz’s report and those of other witnesses worldwide as calumny unless they could somehow have left each scene with corroborating evidence. This is truly shocking.


Eagan points to the main problem: Even if Barros was not present and was truly ignorant of abuse patterns, he and the church hierarchy must be held accountable for insisting on “knowing” and doing nothing.

Yes, Pope Francis is still to be thanked for his humanity, but he has done a lot to alienate previous admirers.

Ken McElheny


Even with his blind spots, Francis will continue to inspire

Re the discussion of Pope Francis after Chile: Alex Beam got it right, except for his misunderstanding of Matthew 26:39. Jesus did not falter; rather, he displayed his full humanity without being deterred from his mission. Margery Eagan also got it right. However, “The Francis Effect” is real and will continue to inspire people around the globe. The pope’s blind spot in Chile should serve to remind us that the impact of sexual abuse is a life sentence without parole. Chile also reminds us that we are all broken people in need of healing and that the blind spots within the Catholic Church cry out for excavation and insight.

Monsignor Paul V. Garrity

Lexington Catholic Community


Critique takes aim at sanctity of life

In her latest criticism of the Catholic Church, Margery Eagan wrote that Pope Francis “focused on the poor, refugees, the planet, forgiveness, mercy — not the typical Catholic focus on anything to do with sex.” Trivializing Catholic moral teaching as a kind of Victorian prudishness about sex is perhaps Eagan’s cynical way of whitewashing the mass killing of children through abortion. While the church calls the faithful to chastity outside of marriage, more of its public witness in recent decades has been devoted to upholding the sanctity of innocent human life, a principle that many critics of the Catholic Church repudiate and despise.


C. J. Doyle

Executive director

Catholic Action League of Massachusetts