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Cardinal Sodano is a catastrophe waiting to happen

His sinister record would give the press a field day if he was left in charge of the conclave

By on Friday, 9 July 2010

Cardinal Sodano has blocked investigations of child abuse by senior Church figures (Photo: CNS)

Cardinal Sodano has blocked investigations of child abuse by senior Church figures (Photo: CNS)

Most accounts of Cardinal Schönborn’s recent wigging by the Pope for his criticism of Cardinal Angelo Sodano (for calling accusations of clerical child abuse “petty gossip”) tended to deflect attention from the fact that Sodano himself did not escape criticism. However wrong Cardinal Schönborn may have been to make his criticisms to journalists and not to the authorities in Rome, the fact is that he was dead right about Sodano. The wording of the Vatican’s press release made his real mistake clear: “when accusations are made against a cardinal”, specified the statement, “competency falls exclusively to the Pope”. After Cardinal Schönborn “clarified” his own remarks, Cardinal Sodano was made to do the same: “The word chiacchiericcio [gossip] was erroneously interpreted [hum, hum] as disrespectful to the victims of sexual abuse, towards whom Cardinal Angelo Sodano nourishes the same feelings of compassion… as … the Holy Father.”

I think not. Cardinal Sodano appears to have an exceptionally sinister record of shielding abusers, particularly eminent ones, which goes back many years. He blocked a 1995 investigation into subsequently proven accusations of child abuse against Schönborn’s predecessor as Archbishop of Vienna, Hans Hermann Groër. The most shameful episode was his consistent defence over decades of Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ. And, according to reports in the National Catholic Reporter, he had his reasons: he stands accused of receiving a great deal of money and other benefits from the Legion of Christ. In 1998, according to reports, Sodano halted investigations into sexual abuse by Maciel then being carried out by the CDF. One of Pope Benedict’s first actions was to depose Maciel and forbid him to function as a priest.

Cardinal Sodano’s continuing danger to the Church comes from the fact that he is still Dean of the College of Cardinals. This means that if the Pope were to die before he can be removed, Sodano will be in charge of the obsequies (he will preach the panegyric) and of the conclave: and the international press will have a field day, with millions of column inches about his alleged support for child abusers, his corruption and his sheer incompetence. This is a disaster which must not be allowed to happen. Sodano must go, soon.

  • catholic mom

    It would be my hope to keep Sodano, Dziwisz, Bertone and the ilk right where they are until all can be deposed under oath. (Hold your friends close and your enemies closer).
    Has anyone taken notice of the change in security for the pope? For the first time in hundreds of years the swissguard is not in charge.
    As an investigation was in progress of the Legionaires of Christ (just before the death of JPII), Sodano said publicly that there was no investigation. My suspicion is, the investigation was kept from him.
    My hope is for depositions to come before ALL of these die.

  • defiant12314

    Surely Mr. Oddie is not saying “who will rid me of this turbulent priest” ?. Rather if the good Cardinal is as bad as he is reported to be then we should simply pray for him.

  • Thegrassysageknoll

    Another wonderful appointment of the late pope.

  • Allwyn Fernandes

    Someone should tell him as Churchchill told Chamberlain: Too long have you sat there for any good you are doing. In the name of God, go!

  • topterry

    And he is not the only one!

  • Catholic Mom

    Pray deffinitely. Many have prayed daily for a long, long time. Our prayers are finally shining light into the darkness. May justice and mercy kiss and peace at last be born.

  • Stove R

    Meanwhile, when do we get even the slightest official protests against lay perverts, one of whom (a “therapist” recently dead) was appeased by the Melbourne Archdiocese over a period of decades from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s?

  • Andrew

    He is over 80! How will he be able to control the Conclave?! It looks like Cardinal Re would chair hte Conclave. Check out:

  • Anura Guruge

    Thank you for including the link to when you pointed out that it would be Cardinal Re, rather than the 82 year old, Cardinal Sedano who will be the senior most Cardinal Bishop if there was to be a conclave any time now.
    Andrew, as the author of that post can I also point you to two other related posts. When it comes to conclaves I really do not 'like' the word 'chair.' In this post I list the functions that are performed by the Dean or the senior most cardinal bishop standing in for him (in this case Re):
    You may also be interested in this post that lists those that will officiate a conclave, if one was to be held any time soon:

  • Xandar27

    I'm very wary in joining the anti-Catholic press in witchunts of Cardinals and others.

    Sodanos remarks were deliberately mistranslated and set in the wrong context by anti-Catholic journalists. He made a very important point that the media were (and are) often smearing the Church and the Pope with exagerration, distortion and innuendo.

  • Tidkunne

    Evidence against card. Groer was never presented. He said to have sexually abused more than 2000 boys and young men, which means that he should have found an abused one victim weekly, in 40 years! One of the most notorous child abusers ever, had abused 369 victims in USA.

  • Jvstroba

    There is a special place in hell for Cardinal Sodano as the same for Bertone and the one before Sodano, Villot who was really the one behind the death of John Paul the First. John Paul the First was going to remove all the Masons that had important positions. The same way as John Kennedy was killed because he was going to get rid of the Federal Reserve and we were going to print our own money.

  • Cait Finnegan

    Oh my, when I first saw the picture, I thought I was looking at Cheney! No, it is Sodano! Oops…

  • Mclom

    The real villain in the death of John Paul 1 was the man himself and his doctor; they should have owned up that he had a heart condition so that everyone around him would have taken better care not to overstress him needlessly – note I say, needlessly. Even sick popes, like sick businessmen, sometimes just have to cope with stress as part of their every day life – at least popes have access to instant and expert medical help.

  • Sibyl

    Lately, I've been thinking that the Catholic Church would be greatly blessed if there were a branch or a monastery in upper Iceland or Greenland to give such people as Sodano a place for retirement to a life of concentrated prayer and fasting and where their remains can be easily preserved. What a perfect and well-deserved reward for their service to Christ and His Church.

  • Ian Too

    Stove, there is a difference in the situation. Lay/secular perverts are subject to secular law and have been tried and convicted for so long it is no longer newsworthy.

    However, it is clear that the Catholic church has been covering up allegations of sexual abuse by clergy to the point of allowing even more children to be raped.

    A psychologist may claim superior knowledge of the psyche, but they don't claim moral superiority, so hypocrisy is not added to depravity.

    People expect the Church to do the right thing, so there is an added sense of betrayal. This is why priests are being treated even more harshly and rightly so.

  • Joe LaCour

    It was not Churchill. It was Leo Amery. Churchill, as First Lord, could not speak against the Government. Instead, as the last speaker, he delivered a very eloquent defence of the Government. Later afer a close vote on the Conduct of the War, Chamberlain resigned.

  • Js888

    Agreed. wonder why he was not retired by the current Pope and retired to some low profile post. Or does Sodano have something incriminating on the current Pontiff in HIS FILES? Even now at their Thursday breakfast with the Congrgation of Bishops at the vatican he is often seated immediately to the right of the current pope. perhaps in the last conclave he was the POPE MAKER and canvassar gathering the votes for the current Pontiff.

  • johnny sprite

    Agreed he is a disaster waiting to happen on the clerical abuse scandal. This is because of his background as the Vatican top diplomat for 16 years. Honesty is not his forte diplomacy is. He won't stir the can of worms. He rather sweep all the dirt under the carpets. A most sinister looking fellow. I always wondered how he became a cardinal. And you are right the resemblance to Cheney is remarkable!

  • Rjpjcr

    Is Sadano one of the men spoken of in the following information?

    Catholics not only have to worry about the masons in our midst, but also the communists. In the early 1950s, Mrs. Bella Dodd gave voluminous testimony on communist infiltration of Church and state before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and also provided detailed explanations of the communist subversion of the Church. Speaking as a former high ranking official of the American Communist Party, Mrs. Dodd said: “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” Twelve years before Vatican II, she said: “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church”. She also predicted changes in the Church that would be so drastic that “you will not recognize the Catholic Church.”

    Dr. Alice von Hildebrand recalled, during an interview with Latin Mass magazine, that “Bella Dodd told my husband and me that when she was an active [Communist] party member, she had dealt with no fewer than four cardinals within the Vatican 'who were working for us'.” (Latin Mass magazine, Summer 2001)
    to read more got to………..

  • Patricia

    Please keep yourself informed and read the above site. We need to know our history.

  • Gareth

    It is to defend the Church to winkle out those who have bin sinful in omission in this regard: for the paedophile scandals have meant souls lost to the Church. We should not be in the 'business' of defending the good name of Cardinals: we should be in the 'business' of caring for the innocent, the Truth and of the souls given into the care of Mother Church.

  • Philomena Carolan

    This Cardinal Sodano seems to be a worry for the Catholic church.

    Why can't Pope Benedict XVI resign, the sooner the better and Cardinal Christoph Sconborn be the next Pope, he obviously knows his stuff.

  • Michael Aaron

    God will keep everything as they should be, for reasons we might be fortunate to know.

  • crouchback

    Was it not Cromwell who said that to Parliament in the 1640′s..??

  • John_haggerty

    Why did Sodano flourish? Because of the power structure of the Curia. Years ago, Fr. Andrew Greeley expressed his contempt for the Curia in his bitingly honest book ‘The Year of the Two Popes’. No one appears to have learned from it. Now many Catholics have left the church for good. We find a welcome home within reformed Christianity. I continue to buy the Catholic Herald as well as The Tablet. Child abuse is not merely ‘serious sin’ as a senior English bishop described it. It is depravity. Something is rotten in the state of the church and Sodano is part of that rot. Catholics who are unhappy should turn to books such as ‘A Faith to Live By’ by Donald MacLeod, formerly principal of the Free Church College, Edinburgh. Read the Banner of Truth, a monthly magazine edited by Iain Murray. You can also now download the sermons of the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, described by Emil Brunner as the greatest preacher of the 20th Century. Dr Lloyd Jones used to say there were real Christians within the Catholic Church, but that they were Christians in spite of the system. As for Sodano, soon he will stand before the judgement seat of Jesus Christ.

  • John_haggerty

    May I be allowed to add a coda to my comment from three days ago? Only yesterday I came across a book of essays by Meriol Trevor entitled ‘Prophets and Guardians – Renewal and Tradition in the Church’ (Hollis and Carter 1969). Miss Trevor, who wrote the foundational two-volume biography of John Henry Newman, has an essay in this book on Saint Philip Neri, entitled ‘Saint as Joker’. It is my hope and prayer that Saint Philip’s holiness and profound Christ-centred wisdom can be a guide and light to all Roman Catholics in these troubled times. Philip Neri was a very great influence in the life of  Newman, who will always be one of my heroes. It is fruitful to ask ourselves what Cardinal Newman would be saying if he were alive now. We can ask for his prayers.