Pope slams cardinal who exposed abuse cover-up
The Vatican on [June 28] issued an unprecedented rebuke of a top cardinal who had accused the retired Vatican No. 2 of blocking clerical sex abuse investigations, publicly dressing down a man who had been praised for his criticism of church abuse cover-ups. The silencing of Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna and long considered a papal contender, drew heated criticism from clerical abuse victims. They said the Vatican should be honoring Schoenborn, not publicly humiliating him, for his calls for greater transparency and demands for a crackdown on priests who rape and sodomize children.
Schoenborn has also called for an open discussion of priestly celibacy, views that the Vatican said he “clarified” on Monday during an audience with the pope. Schoenborn had accused the former Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, in April of blocking a church investigation into the late Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, who was accused by victims in 1995 of abusing boys at a seminary. “With his words, Benedict professes concern for victims. But by his actions, Benedict shows concern for his colleagues,” said David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The Catholic Church faces another scandal
(www.independent.co.uk) It emerged in April that Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, a Colombian who for 10 years was in charge of the Vatican department that supervises the clergy, wrote in 2001 with gushing approval to the Bishop of Bayeux, who went to jail rather than give French authorities information about a priest who had raped a minor. “I congratulate you for not turning in a priest to the civil administration,” he wrote. “I am delighted to have a colleague … who … has preferred prison to turning in his son-priest.”
The Vatican confirmed the authenticity of the letter, which had been posted on a French website. But then Castrillon Hoyos himself added a crucial detail. In a radio interview he said the letter was the outcome of a high-level meeting of cardinals at which [Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict] had been present. If the Pope wants to purge paedophilia from the church he must confront the compromised figures within the Curia and dismiss them. Pope Benedict XVI would like the Catholic Church to be very different from the one that ballooned out of all proportion under John Paul, purer, more beautiful, more austere. But far from moulding the church in his own image, he now risks having his own heritage fatally compromised.
Top Catholic Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing His Own Sons
A prominent Catholic priest, praised by Pope John Paul II as “an efficacious guide to youth,” Father Marcial Maciel, sexually abused not only young seminarians under his control but also abused his own children, according to a lawsuit filed today in Connecticut by a man who claims to be Maciel’s son.
The priest’s son, Raul Gonzalez, 30, says he thought his father worked for the CIA or an international oil company, until he saw the priest’s picture in a 1997 magazine article detailing allegations of sexual abuse. Under Father Maciel, the Legion of Christ became one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most prominent, conservative and financially successful orders. Among its many supporters is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
The Vatican ignored reports of sexual abuse by Maciel since the 1950s, until he was forced out of the Legion by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. Citing his age, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declined to put Maciel on trial but he was ordered to a “life of prayer and penitence.” [A] lawsuit filed by Maciel’s alleged son claims the Vatican and the presiding Pope from the 1950’s until 2002 “engaged in a conspiracy to conceal their knowledge of Maciel’s serial delicts, including the repeated sexual abuse of children.”
The lawsuit claims Maciel “gained influence and protection from the Vatican through giving substantial monies to Vatican officials” and providing other benefits and gifts.