Cardinal Verbally Attacks John Paul II's Deputy

Tuesday, 11 May 2010 11:59 AM

By Edward Pentin

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
An Austrian cardinal’s unprecedented attacks on Pope John Paul II’s former deputy is threatening to bring down one of the late pontiff’s closest aides and drag the office he once ran into disrepute.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, last week accused Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the former Vatican secretary of state (essentially the Vatican prime minister) of obstructing a probe into Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, the former archbishop of Vienna, who was charged with committing sexual abuse crimes in 1995. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had pushed for an investigation, but Sodano stopped him.

Schoenborn also censured Sodano last week for causing “massive harm” to sexual abuse victims by dismissing criticism of Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of clerical abuse when he was a cardinal as “petty gossip” at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday. The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman, said Sodano’s comments “were certainly not the wisest” and stressed that Benedict XVI never asked for such a message of support.

The archbishop of Vienna’s criticisms, unprecedented among cardinals, come on top of reports that Sodano stalled an investigation into the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the disgraced and deceased founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a Catholic order, who was found last year to have abused seminarians and fathered several children by mistresses. Maciel also is alleged to have bribed some Vatican officials to extract special favors for his order.

A wily Vatican diplomat from Piedmont in northern Italy, Sodano, 82, was very influential during John Paul II’s papacy and remains so today as dean of the College of Cardinals, a position that requires convening and chairing the conclave to elect the next Pope.

Therefore, some in the Vatican have been particularly uneasy with the attack.
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, a former senior Roman Curia official, called Schoenborn’s remarks “inopportune” and said he should have raised his concerns privately rather than risk “stirring up a hornet’s nest.” By going public, he said it gave “our enemies the idea of a church torn by controversy, which does not exist whatsoever.”

Yet such accusations are useful in shedding more light on the Vatican under John Paul II. Administering the Curia was never one of the late pontiff’s strong points, something he himself admitted. He preferred to deal with the wider church, traveling the world and evangelizing.

Left very much to their own devices, Vatican officials grouped together into Italian and Polish cliques, ran the Vatican with a good deal of autonomy and, it now seems, withheld very sensitive information from John Paul II.

But Sodano’s motives for covering up these cases remain a mystery. Was it to prevent Catholics from being scandalized, in common with the other bishops who covered up abuses (even one of Maciel’s victims thought it better to keep quiet than risk millions losing their faith)? Was he convinced at the time that the allegations against Groer and Maciel were false? Or were other considerations involved?

It’s not clear why he offered that strange message of support to Benedict on Easter Sunday. Was it, as some in the Vatican have speculated, an attempt to circle the wagons or to cover his own back?

Faced with all these questions, many believe Sodano would be wise to come clean. Doing so would salvage not only his reputation but also that of the Vatican, where most staffers are both upstanding and honorable.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Christian Militias Are Needed in Iraq

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 11:20 AM

As police struggled to contain the looting in Ferguson this week, some store owners reportedly armed themselves to defen . . .

Pope Condemns Islamic Christian Persecution

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 10:26 AM

Not since the use of chemical weapons in Syria one year ago has Pope Francis been so vociferous in condemning violence a . . .

Pope's 10-Point Plan Attracts Fans, Critics

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 09:58 AM

Pope Francis has become the latest to contribute to a largely secular contemporary debate on the nature of happiness. . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved