Conrad Black: Pope Francis, Say Yes to the PillRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: Catholic Church, Conrad Black, National Review, popes, contraception
Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The new pope was scarcely installed, with a clear mandate to clean up whatever remains of the sex-abuse crisis, when the snipers who always surround the Holy See opened skirmishing on the subject of Pope Francis’s conduct 35 years ago when Argentina was governed by the heavy-handed military junta that evicted Juan Perón’s politically inept widow, a former nightclub dancer, in 1976. (The junta was sent packing by Margaret Thatcher when she evicted them from the Falkland Islands in 1979.) The sex-abuse crisis has been a horrible and shaming problem, but Catholicism’s enemies have amplified and exploited it to incite the inference that most of the Roman clergy are deviates compounding superstition with perversion. The most frequent and wishful version of these events is as a mighty coruscation before the great Christian scam expires in a Wagnerian inferno, an inadvertent Waco. It took the most antagonistic pundits, in their uncomprehending skepticism of the viability of what they regard as a medieval flimflam factory anyway, only one day to assimilate the election of a man none of them had mentioned, in their omniscience, as a contender, before pronouncing his papacy dead on arrival at the Sistine Chapel.
No one really has any idea what this new pope is going to do, but there seems no doubt that he has a mandate to impose a draconian screening and evaluation process to clear out sex offenders, prevent the admission of potential future offenders, and give everyone except the most rabid anti-papists a comfort level that this ghastly affair, which simmered and bubbled for centuries, has been finally lanced and ended and that the weaknesses that gave rise to it and tolerated it have been excised. Sensing that the Church may survive this wicked and psychotic conduct by 1 or 2 percent of its ordained personnel, the Church’s enemies have already moved on to Francis’s supposed lack of rebellious fervor toward the Argentinean military 35 years ago. It is reminiscent of the tempest in a thimble over Pope Benedict’s conscription as an “air-force child soldier” in an inactive German anti-aircraft battery in 1943. (He deserted at the first opportunity to do so without being executed.)...