Two top Catholic bishops have joined in criticizing Pope Francis’ handling of the controversy over the mass killings at a Mexican church, saying his comments on the church were “inappropriate” and “not reflective of his Christian faith.”
Kevin O’Brien of the Archdiocese of New York, and Fr.
Philip W. Stapley of the archdiocese in Washington, D.C., released a joint statement Monday calling for an apology from the pope and a reversal of the church’s response to the attacks, in which at least 12 people were killed and hundreds wounded.
The bishops, who were visiting Mexico City for a conference on women’s rights, said the pope’s comments on Friday that he didn’t know what had caused the mass killing are not reflective of Catholic faith, but are inconsistent with the church tradition of silence.
The statement said the statements “reflect a lack of understanding and respect for the victims and their families and do not reflect the Catholic Church’s view of the violence of the perpetrators and the need to protect the innocent.”
It is also “inappropriately and not reflective” of Catholic teaching, the statement said.
The church’s position, which is not always the position of other church leaders, is that “the perpetrator should be brought to justice.”
In their statement, the bishops also called on the pope to condemn the attacks and for his government to work with Mexico to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice.
“The Church has always stood for the innocent, the vulnerable and the vulnerable at the core of our lives,” the statement read.
“Our message is simple: we will stand for you.
We will stand with you, and we will help you.
We call on all Catholics and people of faith to stand with the victims, their families, and the Mexican people in their grief, sorrow and anger.””
We are all at stake, but at the same time, we are all doing our best to honor the victims,” the bishops said.
In his remarks, the pope said he doesn’t “have an answer to the questions of why,” but that he knows “that we are dealing with an extraordinary situation.”
He also criticized the way he has responded to the killings.
He said that, in Mexico City, “we see the devastation that has been caused.
It is clear that the victims are being denied their humanity.
We are not the victims.
They are the perpetrators.”
The pontiff said that if people are being harmed in a church, “it’s our responsibility to take care of them.”
He said he’s “disappointed” in the way the pope has been handled and he would like to see a change in his behavior.
The archdiocesan leaders also expressed disappointment in what they said were delays in the release of the Vatican’s response on the attacks.
The pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said he was aware of the issues raised by the bishops and “will work with them.”
The archbishop of Mexico, Archbishop Carlos González, said his country would not allow a situation like this to continue.
“We’re in a difficult time,” he told reporters after a meeting of Mexico’s bishops.
“We have to find a solution, and I think that is why the bishops are speaking out.
They have a right to speak out.”
The pope is in the middle of a two-day trip to the United States, and his comments in Mexico have caused a firestorm in the U.S. He is also on a six-day visit to Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.