Vat­i­can to clar­ify papal cover-up ac­cu­sa­tions

Cape Argus - - WORLD - NICOLE WINFIELD

THE Vat­i­can is pre­par­ing the “nec­es­sary clar­i­fi­ca­tions” about ac­cu­sa­tions that top Vat­i­can of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Pope Fran­cis, cov­ered up the sex­ual mis­con­duct of a now-dis­graced Amer­i­can ex-car­di­nal, Fran­cis’ top ad­vis­ers said Mon­day.

In a state­ment, Fran­cis’s nine car­di­nal ad­vis­ers ex­pressed their “full sol­i­dar­ity” with the pope over the scan­dal, which has thrown his pa­pacy into cri­sis.

The car­di­nals, who are meet­ing at the Vat­i­can this week, said they were aware that “the Holy See is work­ing on for­mu­lat­ing the po­ten­tial and nec­es­sary clar­i­fi­ca­tions”.

Fran­cis has re­fused to re­spond to the 11-page doc­u­ment pub­lished on Au­gust 26 by the re­tired am­bas­sador to the US, Archbishop Carlo Vigano.

Vigano named more than two dozen cur­rent and for­mer Vat­i­can and US of­fi­cials and ac­cused them of know­ing about and cov­er­ing up for ex-car­di­nal Theodore McCar­rick, who is ac­cused of sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing and ha­rass­ing mi­nors as well as adults.

Specif­i­cally, Vigano ac­cused Fran­cis of re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing McCar­rick from canon­i­cal sanc­tions im­posed on him by Pope Bene­dict XVI in 2009 or 2010.

The Vat­i­can has known since at least 2000 that McCar­rick slept with sem­i­nar­i­ans.

Fran­cis re­moved McCar­rick as car­di­nal in July fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions he groped a teenage al­tar boy in the 1970s, a canon­i­cal crime that could re­sult in him be­ing de­frocked.

Fran­cis’s re­fusal to im­me­di­ately re­spond to Vigano’s claims has frus­trated many Catholics in the US, who were al­ready out­raged that McCar­rick’s pen­chant for sem­i­nar­i­ans and young pri­ests was ap­par­ently an open se­cret in some Catholic cir­cles.

That out­rage has been com­pounded by the rev­e­la­tions of the Penn­syl­va­nia grand jury re­port, de­tail­ing the abuse of more than 1 000 chil­dren by around 300 pri­ests over 70 years, while bish­ops cov­ered up for them.

Fran­cis’s nine car­di­nal ad­vis­ers is­sued the state­ment at the start of three days of meet­ings to hand in the fruit of their five years of work: a pro­posal to re­form the Vat­i­can bu­reau­cracy.

POPE FRAN­CIS

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