X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Coffee House

The Pope and ‘paedophile cardinals’: another clue that Francis is at war with the Vatican

18 July 2014

5:46 PM

18 July 2014

5:46 PM

Today’s front-page splash in The Catholic Herald reads: ‘Vatican in a spin as Pope Francis grants an explosive new interview’. That interview, with La Repubblica, quoted Francis as saying that his advisors had told him that two per cent of clergy were paedophiles – including ‘bishops and cardinals’. The Independent ran with the headline: ‘Pope Francis: “One in 50” Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals is a paedophile’.

What fascinates me is the reaction of the Vatican Press Office, which has gone into full L/Cpl Jones ‘Don’t Panic!’ mode. Fr Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s hapless press officer, has been pointing out that La Repubblica’s interviewer, Eugenio Scalfari, (a) didn’t use a tape recorder, (b) didn’t take notes but relied on his memory and (c) is 90 years old.

[Alt-Text]


All of which is true. But it was also true last September, when Francis gave an earlier interview to Scalfari – an atheist, incidentally – under exactly the same conditions. That produced lurid headlines: Francis supposedly called the Vatican court ‘the leprosy of the papacy’, and poor Lombardi had to run around saying, hang on, there were no notes, Scalfari is ancient, etc.

So why did Francis go back to Scalfari? I reckon the uncheckability of the quotes suits him fine. He can express his views that the Vatican is crawling with fawning backstabbers and that sexual perverts are over-represented among the clergy right up to the level of cardinal – yet leave himself diplomatic legroom by allowing for the possibility that he’s been misquoted. He is a Jesuit, after all. So is Lombardi, but it’s obvious who is being more Jesuitical here.

The background to this is the Pope’s war on the Vatican. I think he hates the place. And it’s interesting that he’s placed enormous power in the hands of Cardinal George Pell, who is also full of contempt for its greedy placemen. My guess is that the reforms, when they come, will be savage.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close