Pope Responds to Abuse Allegations: 'Christians are Communicating a Lifestyle'
Francis posts response on Twitter, quickly deletes following backlash
As pressure has been mounting for Pope Francis to act regarding the most recent wave of child abuse allegations, the head of the Catholic Church posted what appeared as a sales pitch from his official Twitter account.
The pope, real name Jorge Bergoglio, posted a tweet Thursday saying “We Christians are not selling a product. We are communicating a lifestyle,” before quickly deleting it following a backlash from Twitter users.
The choice of words seems particularly off, considering it's the lifestyles and actions of the church's clergy members that are being called into question.
The pontiff later backtracked and posted a new tweet with a similarly worded message, instead declaring that Christians communicate “Life.”
Is it just me, or is “we’re not selling a product, we’re communicating a lifestyle” sound like some sort of brand manager/PR flack motto? pic.twitter.com/JFdKMObItd— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) August 30, 2018
May not be selling... but defintely have seen buying of faith. https://t.co/kVBtpY1ZlC— Vani Saraswathi (@vanish_forever) August 30, 2018
The pontiff later altered his message, though critics continued their outcry against the new tweet, expressing disdain over the disconnect between the church’s message and the recent abuse scandals that have enveloped it.
We Christians do not have a product to sell, we communicate Life.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 30, 2018
Many Twitter users also lashed out at the pope’s message in light of his ongoing refusal to address allegations from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that he helped to cover up allegations of sexual abuse against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
We need to communicate rage and sorrow at the abuse of minors and seminarians through penance and full-scale investigations imho— Ryan (@alwaysonoffense) August 30, 2018
Several prelates have demanded an investigation into the claims while both lay faithful and clergy have demanded greater accountability from the Church, given not only those allegations but also recent reports on massive sexual abuse scandals in Pennsylvania and Ireland.