Vat­i­can car­di­nal slams Pope Fran­cis as ‘ice-cold, cun­ning Machi­avel­lian’ and a ‘LIAR’ in ex­plo­sive in­ter­view about Catholic church child sex abuse scan­dal

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pope Fran­cis has been branded an ‘ice-cold, cun­ning Machi­avel­lian’ and a ‘liar’ by one of his car­di­nals, a Ger­man mag­a­zine re­ports. The anony­mous car­di­nal made the com­ments in a bomb­shell in­ter­view with Der Spiegel for its 19-page re­port on the Catholic Church sex­ual abuse scan­dal.

He said: ‘The pope preaches mercy, but in re­al­ity he is an ice-cold, cun­ning Machi­avel­lian, and, what is worse – he lies.’

The car­di­nal was re­fer­ring to claims that Fran­cis knew about sex­ual abuse al­le­ga­tions against US Car­di­nal Theodore McCar­rick long be­fore he ad­mit­ted he was aware of them or took any ac­tion.

A re­port from a high­rank­ing car­di­nal in Au­gust claimed the pope knew about McCar­rick in 2013 - but still em­ployed him as a con­sul­tant in nam­ing new Amer­i­can bish­ops un­til his res­ig­na­tion in July this year.

The pope de­clined to com­ment.

The re­port was the main item in this week’s Der Siegel mag­a­zine which fea­tured a pic­ture of the pope on the front and was ti­tled Du Sollst Nicht Lü­gen (Thou Shalt Not Lie).

The re­port crit­i­cised the pope’s han­dling of abuse al­le­ga­tions gen­er­ally, stat­ing: ‘He of­ten speaks at in­op­por­tune mo­ments, yet in im­por­tant mo­ments re­mains silent.’

On Tues­day in Es­to­nia, Pope Fran­cis ac­knowl­edged that the sex abuse scan­dals rock­ing the Catholic Church are driv­ing peo­ple away - and ad­mit­ted the church must change its ways if it wants to keep fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Fran­cis re­ferred di­rectly to the cri­sis con­vuls­ing his pa­pacy on the fourth and fi­nal day of his Baltic pil­grim­age, which co­in­cided with the re­lease of the dev­as­tat­ing new re­port into decades of sex abuse and cover-up in Ger­many.

Fran­cis told a gather­ing of young peo­ple in largely sec­u­lar Es­to­nia on Tues­day that he knew many young peo­ple felt the church has noth­ing to of­fer them and sim­ply doesn’t un­der­stand their prob­lems to­day.

He ac­knowl­edged their com­plaints and said: ‘We our­selves need to be con­verted; we have to re­al­ize that in order to stand by your side we need to change many sit­u­a­tions that, in the end, put you off.’

Mean­while, Ger­many’s Catholic Church is ex­pected to con­fess to and apol­o­gise for thou­sands of cases of sex­ual abuse against chil­dren, part of a global scan­dal heap­ing pres­sure on the Vat­i­can.

It will re­lease the lat­est in a se­ries of re­ports on sex­ual crimes and cover-ups span­ning decades that has shaken the largest Chris­tian Church, from Europe to the United States, South Amer­ica and Aus­tralia.

In Ger­many alone, al­most 3,700 mi­nors were abused be­tween 1946 and 2014, ac­cord­ing to the re­port pre­pared by the Ger­man Bish­ops’ Con­fer­ence, de­tails of which were leaked to the me­dia ear­lier this month.

Pope Fran­cis ended his pil­grim­age to the Baltics on Tues­day in sec­u­lar Es­to­nia, warn­ing that ‘ex­is­ten­tial en­nui’ can creep in when so­ci­eties put their faith in tech­no­log­i­cal progress alone.

Es­to­nia is con­sid­ered both one of the most tech-ad­vanced coun­tries in Europe and one of the least re­li­gious so­ci­eties in the world. More than half of Es­to­nia’s 1.3 mil­lion peo­ple pro­fess no re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion. The Lutheran and Rus­sian Or­tho­dox churches count the most fol­low­ers of those who do, while 6,000 peo­ple are Catholics.

Upon ar­riv­ing in the cap­i­tal Tallinn, Fran­cis met Tues­day with Pres­i­dent Ker­sti Kalju­laid. Later, he presided over a youth gather­ing be­fore cel­e­brat­ing Mass in Tallinn’s Free­dom Square for the tiny Catholic com­mu­nity.

In a speech to Kalju­laid in the Rose Gar­den of the pres­i­den­tial palace, Fran­cis praised Es­to­nia’s so­cial and eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion in the quar­ter cen­tury since the Soviet Union’s five-decade oc­cu­pa­tion ended.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Kata­rina Bar­ley said the study was ‘shock­ing and prob­a­bly just the tip of the ice­berg’. She urged the Church to ‘take re­spon­si­bil­ity for decades of con­ceal­ment, cover-ups and de­nials’.

Bar­ley also called on the Ro­man Catholic Church to work with state prose­cu­tors to bring every known case to jus­tice, and to take steps to pre­vent more abuse.

The in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sioner for child sex abuse is­sues, Jo­han­nesWil­helm Ro­erig, rec­om­mended state au­thor­i­ties step in to clear up the crimes and en­sure vic­tims get ac­cess to Church files and com­pen­sa­tion.

The state ‘has a duty of care for all chil­dren, in­clud­ing those who are in the care of the Church’, he told the Sued­deutsche news­pa­per.

The Ger­man Bish­ops Con­fer­ence was due to of­fi­cially re­lease the re­search pa­per, which it com­mis­sioned four years ago, at the start of a four-day meet­ing in the western city of Fulda.

A vic­tims’ sup­port hot­line and a ded­i­cated web­site with in­for­ma­tion was put in place dur­ing the meet­ing.

The con­fer­ence head, Car­di­nal Rein­hard Marx, said ear­lier this month that bish­ops were ‘deeply de­pressed, shaken and ashamed be­fore the re­al­ity of sex­ual abuse of mi­nors within the Catholic Church’.

Pope Fran­cis (left) ar­rives to at­tend an ec­u­meni­cal meet­ing at Kaarli Lutheran Church in Tallin, Es­to­nia Sep­tem­ber 25, 2018.

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