Friday, April 23, 2010

Cardinal Castrillon steps up defense of silence on abuse as new evidence emerges

Cardinal Castrillon steps up defense of silence on abuse as new evidence emerges
April 23, 2010
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, has escalated his defense of a policy that protected priests from prosecution for sexual abuse. Meanwhile the National Catholic Reporter has unearthed evidence that Cardinal Castrillon pressured an American bishop to halt disciplinary proceedings against a notorious abuser.

In an April 22 radio interview, Cardinal Castrillon said that he did not regret writing in 2001 to congratulate a French bishop for not informing police about an abusive priest. He said that for a bishop to inform on a priest would be like a father testifying in court against a child. "Why would they ask that of the Church?" he said.

The Colombian cardinal, who has in the past charged that sex-abuse allegations have been exaggerated by the media, now implied that the victims' pursuit of financial damages had influenced the justice system. He said that bishops who defended accused priests were ensuring that "they were not, due to economic reasons, treated like criminal pedophiles without due process."

Cardinal Castrillon again invoked the authority of the late Pope John Paul II in defense of his attitude, saying "John Paul II, that holy Pope, was not wrong" to defend accused priests. He also said that then-Cardinal Ratzinger was present at a meeting at which the 2001 case in France was discussed, although he did not reveal what position Cardinal Ratzinger took at that meeting. Shortly after Cardinal Castrillon wrote his letter, Cardinal Ratzinger persuaded Pope John Paul II to assign supervision of all abuse cases to his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In a related story, the National Catholic Reporter found that Cardinal Castrillon, during his tenure as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, had urged Bishop Manuel Moreno of Tucson, Arizona, to back away from his plan to suspend a notorious abuser, Father Robert Trupia. Trupia, a trained canon lawyer, had threatened an action for damages against Bishop Moreno if he was stripped of his priestly faculties. Throwing his support behind the accused abuser, Cardinal Castrillon directed Bishop Moreno to reach a mutually amicable settlement with Trupia.

During a long correspondence with Bishop Moreno about his status, Trupia had engaged in implicit blackmail, threatening to disclose his homosexual relationship with a deceased bishop.

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