A sycophantic cove called Giovanni Becciu, a one-time senior Vatican official, has declared that the recent letter to German clergy by Pope Emeritus Benedict was intended to support Francis’s analysis of the abuse scandal. Coming from such a source one can be sure that the opposite is true.

Bergoglio’s treatment of the crisis has itself been little short of a scandal. As further evidence of negligence or actual cover-up emerges – and the favoured phrase ‘zero tolerance’ disappears from the Papal vocabulary – any in-depth consideration of causes must surely be seen, at this stage, as deliberate reproof.

Subtlety and innate good manners dictate that Benedict treads carefully. But, as in his refusal to endorse the eleven booklets on ‘The Theology of Pope Francis’, his meaning is clear.

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