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Pope Francis greets then Cardinal McCarrickJonathan Newton-Pool/Getty Images

NEW YORK, August 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has called for Pope Francis to speak up or step down, saying “Pope Francis will have to disclose and explain the truth or forfeit his moral authority.”

An editorial appearing yesterday in the United States’ most famous business journal summarized and swept aside the possible motives of warring Catholic factions in defending or attacking the pontiff’s refusal to confirm or deny a retired papal nuncio’s charges against him.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released a testimony on Saturday accusing Pope Francis of having eased sanctions on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite knowing of his serial sexual misconduct and putting McCarrick’s favored candidates in key episcopal roles in the U.S.

“… [M]otives are irrelevant here, or at least they should be,” stated the WSJ editors. “The question is whether the archbishop’s claims are true, and that should be fairly easy to determine.”

The WSJ praised American bishops for having implemented reforms that were “designed to hold abusive clerics accountable to the law and the church.” However, it noted that if Viganò’s claims are true, a culture of lies persists in the Church.  

The editors contrasted unfavourably Francis’ opacity to the forthrightness of USCCB chief Cardinal Di Nardo.

“Pope Francis did not help himself when asked about the charges on his way home from Ireland on Sunday, saying he would neither confirm nor deny the allegations,” the WSJ opined. “More encouraging was the reaction from the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. Far from dismissing Archbishop Viganò, he asked for a Vatican investigation and issued a statement saying ‘the questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.’”

The WSJ, no stranger to Pope Francis’ opinions of the markets it represents, could not resist pointing out that even the business world holds its chief executives to a higher standard:

“Among the ironies here is that, in the capitalist system Pope Francis so often attacks, no corporate executive publicly accused of covering up abuses like this could escape accountability.”

But because Pope Francis is not just a corporate executive, it is especially important that he tell the truth, the WSJ believes.

“The Catholic Church is not a profit-making corporation, and the Pope is no CEO,” the editors observed. “But when it comes to allegations of abuse and coverup against its leaders by a man who is also a senior leader, surely a church has an even greater interest in getting to the truth.”

The newspaper concluded with a devastating challenge, saying “Pope Francis will have to disclose and explain the truth or forfeit his moral authority.”

Other Washington, D.C. newspapers have been critical of how Church leadership has handled the sex abuse crisis, calling for Cardinal Donald Wuerl to step down. Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner penned an article today titled, Pope Francis normally won't stop talking. He's picked a funny time to go silent.

“Francis is not acting like the shepherd of the people of God. He is acting like a feeble politician who is looking to buy time while using the press’ deep-rooted prejudices against his critics,” Adams wrote.

The New York Times, meanwhile, has rushed to defend Pope Francis from his “conservative” critics, saying the pontiff is taking the “high road” by refusing to say whether he helped cover up sex abuse.