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