This week, the pope is meeting with several powerful Vatican officials to discuss even more allegations of sexual abuse within the Church. Many of the hundreds of victims were just children when they were allegedly abused by members of clergy. In many cases, church officials are accused of protecting members of the clergy and covering up abuse—allowing even more abuse to take place.

It’s very, very serious.

That’s why images from the meetings are so strange, and frankly, concerning. In this one, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is seen smiling with the pope as they shake hands. From The New York Times: “[DiNardo] has been accused of knowing about at least two episodes of sexual abuse by a priest, who was allowed to remain in ministry for years.”

In another photo, the pope and a group of cardinals appear to be laughing together. Again, this a meeting about widespread sexual abuse. 

The Vatican is facing allegations that it repeatedly covered up the abuse of children, protected the perpetrators and allowed for even more abuse to take place. The fact that they feel like it is appropriate to share these kinds of photos during such a meeting to address such disturbing allegations gives a concerning look at just how out of touch they are with the outside world.

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