Last week, Pope Francis wrote to three clerical sexual abuse victims apologizing and asking for forgiveness for defending Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, accused of covering up their abuse by a former priest. In an article for The Conversation, Mathew Schmalz, associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, explains the extraordinary nature of Pope Francis' timely public apology, framing it in the historical context of past popes.
In the piece, Schmalz also describes how "mercy and forgiveness have been the central themes of his pontificate" and closes the article by inviting Catholics to learn from the Pope's example: "When Francis apologized to the people of Chile and to victims of sexual abuse, he also was teaching the rest of us how to admit our sins as a first step in making things right."
To read the full article, go to The Conversation.
A sought-after expert on the papacy, Schmalz has published opinion pieces in Newsweek, Salon, The Washington Post, Fortune Magazine and Huffington Post. He also has provided expert commentary to CNN, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC's Good Morning America, NPR, CNBC, and U.S. News & World Report, among others.
Most recently, Schmalz was a panelist for a conference titled "Francis the Pilgrim: From Personal Devotion to Papal Diplomacy" and hosted by Holy Cross on April 11-12, 2018. The conference featured Pope Francis biographer Austen Ivereigh and Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J., senior analyst at Religion News Service, as keynote speakers.
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Religious Studies Professor and Papacy Expert Opines on Pope Francis’ Apology for Abuse in Chile