Pope Francis vowed to end clerical sexual abuse and overhaul the historically corrupt Vatican bank. But on the fifth anniversary of his papacy, he's fallen short on those promises, according to two Vatican experts.
“He has said all the right things about about abuse and how it must be stopped. The problem was, that as time went on, although he approved all the policy changes and structural changes that the commission recommended, he didn't push with the implementation side,” said Marie Collins, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse appointed to Pope Francis’ sexual abuse advisory commission in 2013. “We haven't heard of any bishops being removed. We haven't heard of any disciplinary procedures being taken.”
Collins resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors last year in frustration. She expressed disappointment in Francis’ recent comments in defense of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up for a pedophile priest. She called the episode a “misstep” on the part of the pope.
Pope Francis — whose broad appeal has made him a hero not just for Catholics but for the secular world as well — remains a well-liked pontiff. But his popularity has started to wane among Catholics, particularly regarding sex abuse. More now disapprove of his handling of these scandals than when he first became pope.
Pope Francis' pledge to reform the Vatican's finances has also gone largely unfilled.
The Vatican appeared to get serious about financial crime between 2012 and 2016, when officials announced 23 cases of suspected money laundering. But there's scant justice being delivered.
“Here we are, coming on two years later, and there hasn't been a single money laundering case brought to trial," said Gerald Posner, author of "God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican. "We do know a lot more about the Vatican bank than we knew when he [Pope Francis] first came into office."
Posner also pointed out that aside from cleaning up financial corruption, many hoped Francis would shake-up church doctrine on controversial issues, including women in the priesthood, gay marriage, and remarriage for divorcees.
“All of these were a list of things that people expect Francis to tackle, and he has tackled none of them in terms of substance," Posner said.
This segment originally March 13, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.