Cardinal Sodano’s “Peripheral Issues”

Tom Roberts in his blog on the National Catholic Reporter <a href=http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/cardinal-sodanos-peripheral-issues>(Click Here for National Catholic Reporter Article)</a> reports that Cardinal Angelo Sodano was recently asked to comment regarding accusations that he had been Father Macrial Maciel’s most ardent protector and supporter in Rome, at one point shutting down the canonical process against him. The question came following an Associated Press article that had been written by Nicole Winfield.

Cardinal Sodano replied that it wasn’t the time to speak about it and then questioned how in such a great moment the reporter could get into such peripheral issues when the world was applauding the pope.

Tom Roberts commented that it was stunning to him that Cardinal Sodano has not been banished because of the way he benefited from the Maciel largesse that was lavishly dropped around the Vatican.

Tom Roberts commented that:
<i> <q>This is hardly a peripheral matter. Maciel and his protector, Sodano, provide a window into the deepest flaws of a culture where abused children were cast aside while their molesters found sanctuary and in the case of Maciel, even adulation</q>?.</i>

<b>ReGAIN Comment:</b>

Cardinal Sodano was Pope John Paul II’s secretary of state and although he has retired from that position, he remains a powerful influence in the Vatican (as do other Legion and Father Maciel supporters). His response to a valid question from a reporter seems callous considering the suffering of Father Maciel’s victims who had sought and expected justice from the Holy Catholic Church.

Other powerful Vatican figures also supported and covered for Father Maciel and the Legion and according to an article written by Jason Berry last year, they benefited financially from their support.

ReGAIN has no interest in criticizing the Catholic Church, which is the Body of Christ, or John Paul II, who was an exceptional pope, beloved around the world. But when it is obvious that there are attitudes shared by specific members of the hierarchy that are not in keeping with truth and justice and integrity then it is important that Catholics be aware.

Legion’s news traced to Vatican ally

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

Rome

In a potentially significant twist to the case involving the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, NCR has learned that the office that recently released a statement saying there is no case against Fr. Marcial Maciel regarding sex abuse accusations is not the office with responsibility for making that judgment.

On May 20, the Legionaries of Christ issued a news release stating that the “Holy See” had informed them that “at this time there is no canonical process underway regarding our founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC, nor will one be initiated.” Subsequently, the Catholic News Service and other press agencies quoted the Vatican Press Office as confirming the statement.

That news startled some observers, since an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged in 2001 by Pope John Paul II with responsibility for reviewing cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, traveled in early April to New York and Mexico City to collect testimony from alleged victims. Those efforts by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the promoter of justice within the congregation, suggested that a preliminary investigation was underway.

Most observers assumed that the new communication to the Legionaries must have come from that congregation, the office once headed by Pope Benedict XVI.

In fact, however, the communication came from the Secretariat of State, the department that handles papal diplomacy and acts as a coordinator for the work of other Vatican agencies. It came in the form of a fax, which was unsigned but bore a seal from the Secretariat of State indicating official status. Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state, is a longtime supporter of Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ.

What this means is that the statement did not come from the Vatican agency that ultimately has responsibility for deciding Maciel’s fate. Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have refused to make any comment on the recent news reports, but a senior Vatican official told NCR May 25 that the congregation has made “no statement” on the Maciel case, even to the Secretariat of State.

The official stressed this does not mean that there eventually will be a canonical case against Maciel, merely that the agency charged with making that decision has not yet communicated its intentions. Given the preeminence of the Secretariat of State within the Vatican, at a minimum these recent developments suggest there are grave doubts within the Holy See about proceeding.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Legionaries of Christ in New York said that he did not believe the distinction of which office issued the statement ultimately made any difference.

“We believe the Holy See is speaking with a unified voice on this issue,” Jay Dunlap, the Legionaries’ communications director for North America, told NCR May 25. “The way in which it was communicated was intended to make that clear.”

In terms of what force the communication enjoys, the precise wording of the communication from the Secretariat of State is important. In Italian, it went as follows: “Non vi è nessun procedimento canonico in corso né è previsto per il futuro nei confronti di P. Maciel.” Literally translated, it reads: “There is no canonical procedure in course nor is one foreseen for the future with regard to Fr. Maciel.”

The communication thus did not say categorically “nor will one be initiated,” but that one “is not foreseen for the future.” The formula “is not foreseen” is sometimes used in Vatican argot for a development that is not officially in the works, but that is not completely outside the range of possibility. When papal trips are first rumored, for example, spokespersons sometimes say they are “not foreseen,” only to have them eventually materialize.

The official who spoke to NCR stressed again that this does not mean there will be a procedure, only that such a procedure cannot be definitively ruled out until a statement is issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In 2000, Sodano went to the Regina Apostolorum, the Roman university sponsored by the Legionaries, to inaugurate a new facility. In 2003, he made another visit to the university, at which time he praised Maciel.

“Dear Father, I’ve seen the great work that you do,” Sodano said to Maciel while embracing him. “You’re always young, always strong,” Sodano said.

Maciel in turn thanked Sodano for his support, recalling his 2000 visit, which is marked by a plaque at the Regina Apostolorum.

“Three years later, you accepted our invitation with fraternal charity to return, and I’m very grateful,” Maciel said. “You have always encouraged this university in its birth and growth.”

The charges of sexual abuse against Maciel first surfaced in 1997, when eight former members brought a canonical complaint related to incidents that allegedly took place decades before. Maciel and the Legionaries have strenuously denied the charges.

“We hold no grudge against those who accuse us,” the May 20 statement from the Legionaries said with regard to the accusers. “Rather, we keep them in our prayers while expressing our humblest gratitude to the countless people of goodwill who in these circumstances have reiterated to us their support and esteem.”

John L. Allen Jr. is NCR Rome correspondent. His e-mail address is jallen@natcath.org.

Statement on Maciel not issued by agency responsible for sex abuse cases

New Legionaries intrigue:
Statement on Maciel not issued
by agency responsible for sex abuse cases

By John L. Allen, Jr.
Rome

In a potentially significant twist to the case involving the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, NCR has learned that the office that recently released a statement saying there is no case against Fr. Marcial Maciel regarding sex abuse accusations is not the office with responsibility for making that judgment.

On May 20, the Legionaries of Christ issued a news release stating that the “Holy See” had informed them that “at this time there is no canonical process underway regarding our Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC, nor will one be initiated.” Subsequently, the Catholic News Service and other press agencies quoted the Vatican Press Office as confirming the statement.

That news startled some observers, since an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged in 2001 by Pope John Paul II with responsibility for reviewing cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, traveled in early April to New York and Mexico City to collect testimony from alleged victims. Those efforts by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Promoter of Justice within the congregation, suggested that a preliminary investigation was underway.

Most observers assumed that the new communication to the Legionaries must have come from that congregation, the office once headed by Pope Benedict XVI.

In fact, however, the communication came from the Secretariat of State, the department that handles papal diplomacy and acts as a coordinator for the work of other Vatican agencies. It came in the form of a fax, which was unsigned but bore a seal from the Secretariat of State indicating official status. Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, is a longtime supporter of Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ.

What this means is that the statement did not come from the Vatican agency that ultimately has responsibility for deciding Maciel’s fate. Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have refused to make any comment on the recent news reports, but a senior Vatican official told NCR May 25 that the congregation has made “no statement” on the Maciel case, even to the Secretariat of State.

The official stressed this does not mean that there eventually will be a canonical case against Maciel, merely that the agency charged with making that decision has not yet communicated its intentions. Given the preeminence of the Secretariat of State within the Vatican, at a minimum these recent developments suggest there are grave doubts within the Holy See about proceeding.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Legionaries of Christ in New York said that he did not believe the distinction of which office issued the statement ultimately made any difference.

“We believe the Holy See is speaking with a unified voice on this issue,” Jay Dunlap, the Legionaries’ Communications Director for North America, told NCR May 25. “The way in which it was communicated was intended to make that clear.”

In terms of what force the communication enjoys, the precise wording of the communication from the Secretariat of State is important. In Italian, it went as follows: “non vi è nessun procedimento canonico in corso né è previsto per il futuro nei confronti di P. Maciel.” Literally translated, it reads: “There is no canonical procedure in course nor is one foreseen for the future with regard to Fr. Maciel.”

The communication thus did not say categorically “nor will one be initiated,” but that one “is not foreseen for the future.” The formula “is not foreseen” is sometimes used in Vatican argot for a development that is not officially in the works, but that is not completely outside the range of possibility. When papal trips are first rumored, for example, spokespersons sometimes say they are “not foreseen,” only to have them eventually materialize.

The official who spoke to NCR stressed again that this does not mean there will be a procedure, only that such a procedure cannot be definitively ruled out until a statement is issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In 2000, Sodano went to the Regina Apostolorum, the Roman university sponsored by the Legionaries, to inaugurate a new facility. In 2003, he made another visit to the university, at which time he praised Maciel.

“Dear father, I’ve seen the great work that you do,” Sodano said to Maciel while embracing him. “You’re always young, always strong,” Sodano said.

Maciel in turn thanked Sodano for his support, recalling his 2000 visit, which is marked by a plaque at the Regina Apostolorum.

“Three years later, you accepted our invitation with fraternal charity to return, and I’m very grateful,” Maciel said. “You have always encouraged this university in its birth and growth.”

The charges of sexual abuse against Maciel first surfaced in 1997, when eight former members brought a canonical complaint related to incidents that allegedly took place decades before. Maciel and the Legionaries have strenuously denied the charges.

“We hold no grudge against those who accuse us,” the May 20 statement from the Legionaries said with regard to the accusers. “Rather, we keep them in our prayers while expressing our humblest gratitude to the countless people of good will who in these circumstances have reiterated to us their support and esteem.”
John L. Allen Jr is NCR Rome correspondent. His e-mail address is jallen@ncronline.org

Bertone Will Be Named Secretary Of State

http://canali.libero.it/affaritaliani/cronache/bertoneee1006.html

here in translation – The item comes from both an online news service called Affari Italiani and from the newspaper Il Giornale

 

Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa, will be Benedict XVIâ€s new Secretary of State. Sources at the Vatican said this was “90% sure” and that the announcement could be made on June 29, feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

In the intricate course of deciding the successor to Angelo Sodano, who is 3 years overdue for retirement, this is a triumph for the 70-year-old Bertone, who served for years as second in command to Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [and his good friend and next-door neighbor at Piazza della Citta Leonina, 1].

A native of Vercelli (halfway between Milan and Turin), tall and distinguished-looking, Bertone is a canon law expert who is very prepared and equally strict on doctrine, capable of dealing with complex questions in a clear and decisive way.

In short, he is not a diplomat, but will be a good executor of decisions that come from the Papal apartments.

It is well-known that the Pope and Sodano have little love lost between them. Sodano, who was Apostolic Nuncio to Chile in Pinochetâ€s regime, son of a Christian Democrat who was a member of the Italian Parliament, and who is said to have harbored papal ambitions in the last conclave, was at odds with Ratzinger even during John Paul IIâ€s Papacy.

The German was too strict, the Italian too diplomatic. Among other things, under Papa Wojtyla, Sodano defended Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who has been accused of sexual offenses and was recently sanctioned by the Vatican without holding a canonical trial because of his age and poor health.

And now, Benedict XVI, after starting to reassign certain prominent personalities from the Curia(like Cardinal Dziwisz, now Archbishop of Cracow, or Cardinal Cresencio Sepe, assigned to Naples), is proceeding with his Curial reform. First, with the men in charge, and next with legislative action that will incorporate pontifical councils with similar functions and thus help reduce administrative personnel at the Vatican.

It is interesting to note that the two top nominations to the Curia – assuming Bertone is confirmed – would both be alumni of the CDF under Ratzinger. Cardinal William Levada, whom the Pope named to be his successor at the CDF, worked with him at the CDF for years in the early 1980s.

In this way, the Pope is reaffirming the key principle in his ‘cleaning up†of the Church: he needs men who are at the service of the Pope, who follow his line without stepping too much out of line as some did under the previous Pope. Above all, they should know not to speak ahead of the Pope.

And Bertone, who does not take part in talk shows although he has commented on some football games with his beloved Juve, appears to be the right man for the Pope at the Secretariat of State. A man who is sober and moderate, in keeping with the discreet style of this German Pope.

Additional bonus: Many sources say that the present Archbishop of Monreale, Sicily, Mons. Cataldo Naro, is in line to take over as Archbishop of Genoa. Which would put him on tap to become Cardinal at age 55, and a possible new Curial aide in Benedict XVIâ€s government.

 

Did Fr. Maciel Use Money to Stall Vatican Justice?

A recent two part article in the National Catholic Reporter by Jason Berry, author of “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” and co-author with Gerald Renner of the book “Vows of Silence” has revealed new allegations that Father Marcial Maciel, Founder of the Legion of Christ, used large sums of money to lavish gifts on the Roman Curia to ingratiate himself and to secure support and protection. Jason Berry said that Fr. Maciel “sent streams of money to Roman curia officials with a calculated end” and revealed that he had Legion priests dole out envelopes with cash and expensive gifts, including for example expensive wines, rare brandies and Spanish cured hams that alone cost upwards of $1,000 each.

Even though strictly speaking the Vatican does not have a constitution or statutes that would make such transactions illegal the Legion donations raise ethical questions regarding the impartiality of Vatican officials responsible for overseeing the Legion and Regnum Christi. Jason Berry links Legion funding of costly renovations for a former cardinal’s residence to the later signing and approval of the controversial Legion constitution, which required Legionaries to never speak ill of their founder and rewarded spying on each other as an expression of their obedience. Mr. Berry also reported how the Legionaries facilitated a large transfer of funds from a Mexican family to someone very close to Pope John Paul II.

Reportedly Legion members arranged for large sums of money in the tens of thousands of dollars to be transferred to Vatican officials. Such large sums of money are not considered bribes under canon law if their use qualifies as a “pious cause” and in such cases do not have to be reported.

Based on Jason Berry’s findings, Fr. Maciel delayed Vatican justice by issuing cash payments and expensive gifts to those who would later be responsible for dealing with complaints against him. The report also showed a connection between the cash transfers and the softening of the wording of the Vatican communiqué at the conclusion of the Vatican 2005 -2006 investigation into Fr. Maciel’s life. The soft tone of the Vatican statement enabled the Legion to claim that their founder had been an innocent victim, similar to Jesus Christ, and apparently they continued for years to teach their seminarians that Fr. Maciel had led a virtuous life.

Regain recognizes and applauds the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in his personal honesty, solid leadership and the actions he has taken to initiate the 2005 Maciel investigation even while under considerable pressure to avoid this, and later to conduct an investigation into the Legion after he became pope. It is not our role to be critical of the Vatican or of members of the hierarchy.

However, on behalf of past, present, and future victims of sexual and emotional abuse, we deplore any attempts that were made by the Legion to influence those in power to prevent disciplinary action on their founder. We hope and pray for the introduction of needed reforms to close up any loopholes in the Vatican policies to provide true justice that all Catholics can be proud of.

In part 2 of his article, Jason Berry provides details of Fr. Maciel’s life, including how he took advantage of an opportunity during a period between popes to be reinstated before the first visitation in 1956 had concluded. Father Maciel’s connections to the extremely wealthy Garza-Sada families resulted in Maciel securing millions of dollars for his growing empire.

How Fr. Maciel Built His Empire by Jason Berry

Jason Berry goes on to describe Fr. Maciel’s relationships with his different families and how he even risked exposure by daring to bring two of his children to receive communion from Pope John Paul II.

The article has some details of the controversial personal and financial relationships among Maciel, Cardinal Sodano, Sodano’s nephew Andrea Sodano and his involvement in a very questionable business scheme that ended up in Andrea’s associate Raffaello Follieri being sentenced to prison. It is alleged that a large amount of money was paid to Andrea Sodano for engineering services that were not performed.

Translate »
%%footer%%