With revelation after revelation, a new wave of sexual abuse scandals is rocking the Roman Catholic Church and presenting Pope Francis with the greatest crisis of his papacy. And, in the past five years, many Catholics have looked to Francis as a figure who could modernize the church and help it regain its credibility.
But Francis’s track record in handling abuse is mixed, something some outsiders attribute to his learning curve or shortcomings and others chalk up to resistance from a notoriously change-averse institution. Analysts who have studied the church’s response to sexual abuse, and several people who have advised the pope, say the Vatican has been unable to take the dramatic steps that can help an organization get out from under scandals — and avoid their repetition.
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