In the print edition of today's USA Today, online here, is a sad commentary by Melinda Henneberger, a former Vatican correspondent for the New York Times, where she announces her apostasy.
Henneberger, who is known to be center-left (dissident on, for instance, Humanae Vitae, but sympathetic toward limited pro-life causes) via her many years of writings, blamed her apostasy decision on "these men" and "the men who run the church" while avoiding any blame toward the man who runs the Church.
Who runs the Church? Who is the Supreme Pontiff? Who blocked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week from moving forward with a plan to get serious about the abuse crisis? Even Tom Reese, S.J. (deemed too liberal for America magazine), called the move this week a "disaster" that would result in "terrible public relations for the pope."
Pope Francis is the leader. Pope Francis makes the decisions. It is not enough to blame "the Vatican" or, as the media's current favorite dissident John Gehring did this week, toss Francis into a larger mix: "The Vatican, including Pope Francis, has also not done enough."
A building, or an independent city-state, or a faceless bureaucracy is not to blame. Pope Francis is to blame. It is he who makes the decisions. It is he who should face the consequences of a decision such as telling the U.S. bishops they must not consider child abuse reform.
It is time to stop covering for Pope Francis. He is the problem.