Monday, March 11, 2013

The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing Gets The Last Word

Cardinal Schonborn is the only Cardinal who had the guts to take on the wolf in sheep's clothing otherwise known as Cardinal Angelo Sodano.  He deserves serious consideration for Pope just for that act.

Old energy dies hard.  Old corrupt Vatican energy dies harder. It never seems to stop.  It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.  It is currently epitomized by Cardinal 'Angelo' Sodano and now he gets the last word.  He 'celebrates' the Mass and gives the homily which will open the Conclave because he has somehow retained his position as Dean of the College of Cardinals.  I am at a loss as to why Sodano wasn't forced into retirement along with his patron Marciel Macial.  Well, maybe I'm not.  

Sodano surely has some serious patronage somewhere.  Serious enough that Sodano is still a 'king' maker and still capable of swinging a papal election.  In fact, so serious he has apparently convinced his supposed nemesis Cardinal Bertone to cave into his machinations to keep the Secretary of State appointment in Italian curial hands.  What is that about I wonder?  Well, maybe I don't wonder.

Peter Isley of SNAP gives a rundown on some of 'Angelo's' finer actions:

......Sodano has the distinction of occupying during the past 23 years the two senior most positions of power after the Pope, at one time simultaneously, of Vatican Secretary of State and Dean of the College of Cardinals, where he either enabled or ignored clergy child sex crime worldwide.

It was Sodano, according to knowledgeable sources, who blocked the investigation of the notorious Austrian pedophile Cardinal Hermann Groer. (For which Austria's Cardinal Schonborn publicly rebuked Sodano and then was himself in turn rebuked by Benedict's Vatican.)

It was Sodano who fiercely and publically defended another of the church’s most high profile sex offenders, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Just as with Groer, Sodano deliberately obstructed the investigation into Marcial in 1998, and then publically defended Marcial right up until 2005, even though the evidence of Marcial’s guilt, in spite of Sodano’s efforts to prevent justice, was absolutely incontrovertible. (Sodano's puppet in this process was papal candidate Cardinal Leonardo Sandri whose entire career has been shepherded by Sodano.)

But perhaps the saddest of the known actions committed by Sodano concerns yet another infamous child sex predator, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who operated a boarding school for deaf children in Wisconsin. By 1995, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and other Vatican officials knew Murphy had sexually assaulted at least 200 deaf children, according to Murphy’s own archbishop. That same year, one of Murphy’s victims wrote a heart wrenching letter to Sodano, detailing Murphy’s assaults against him and other classmates. It’s bad enough that Sodano ignored the pleas of deaf survivors of Murphy while he was well aware that Murphy was a serial child molester of disabled children.

But when the Murphy case was finally receiving worldwide attention, Sodano, who had known about Murphy’s guilt for years and the Vatican’s knowledge of it, used the Easter Sunday mass in St. Peter’s Square to call the abuse crisis, the Murphy case and the awful plight of his victims “petty gossip.”

For his fellow Cardinals to allow Sadono to occupy the highest and most visible position of honor during their selection of a new leader signals that they have little if any intention to usher in a new and desperately needed era of institutional responsibility, accountability and transparency. And while this group of Cardinals seems hardly the management team to put in charge of protecting children worldwide, surely there must be a more fitting individual than Sodano.

Isley is reporting only on the clerical abuse coverups instigated by Sodano.  There are just as many financial dealings that merit his dismissal, many involving the Legion, but also schemes entered into by his nephew with his support,  that resulted in charges of fraud in New York and a full FBI investigation.  Sodano's nephew avoided US prosecution by staying in Italy, but his partner Raffaello Follieri was convicted of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy in Federal Court and given a 54 month sentence.  According to Jason Berry reporting for the National Catholic Reporter, while he was still JPII's Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano sent Follieri a letter distancing himself, the Vatican, and his nephew from Follieri just after the scheme began to make international headlines.

And then there is Sodano's record as Nuncio to Chile where was an very ardent support of Augusto Pinochet and was highly instrumental in getting the Legion into Chile in spite of the objections of Chilean Archbishops.  

In short, 'Angelo' Sodano is about as far from his namesake as it gets, and yet he will have the last word before his fellow cardinals vote on Benedict's successor.  This is incomprehensible to me, and yet it is so typical of this group of men who are so far out of touch, for whom no rules apply, that I suppose it is fitting. If Catholicism gets more of the same with this next pope, we can probably all thank Cardinal Diablo Sodano and his Legion.


  1. I suspect this is one more injustice for which the ex-pope is responsible. It would seem that all is in limbo till a new pope is chosen. Well "limbo" being another term for the protocol set in stone by former popes as to how a new pope is selected and who does what during the interregnum. Or is it interpapum?

    Far from his namesake, perhaps, but Lucifer was an angel too... Just as Judas was one of the 12.

    Yes, Cardinal Schoenborn would be a nice karmic result for Sodano, wouldn't he?

  2. Wouldn't it be karmic and it would show once again that Holy Spirit has a sense of humor.

    I've always found it fascinating that there is always a representative, sometimes clueless, of the opposing energy in so many human endeavors and institutions. Must be karma or maybe it has something to do with forming conscious sentient beings in a free choice environment.

  3. Thank you for mentioning Cardinal Schonborn, my hope as well, though I would be terribly surprised if he were elected. Still, one can hope.

  4. I always get a chuckle when I read about Sodano. When I was visiting the Vatican, on vacation in 2005, I was standing by the front door of St. Peters Basilica and saw some commotion to my left. All of the sudden a security guard starts roughly shoving us tourists to the side, to let his Eminence Sodano get through. She swept by us as if she late to perform her drag act. No time for the peasants.

  5. Why do you have so many gay clergy? What's the attraction?

  6. Who knows Jayden. Schonborn makes something of an ideal compromise candidate if it's true that the primary goal of the conclave is to clean up the curia. Schonborn is also one of Benedict's theological protege's so he would have some appeal to the cardinals who want to see some continuity between Benedict and the next Pope.

  7. I'm sure if you peasants had flashed some envelopes his eminence might have stopped at least long enough to grab the envelopes. Or maybe not. He might have had security do it for him.

  8. A homophobic culture and the smoke screen of celibacy. Don't tell anyone OK?

  9. That is an excellent question. There are many answers to the question. I think that I can address one of them. Historically, the clerical state always provided an opportunity to be an accepted part of a culture, that did not accept someone who is gay. Priests were seen as "holy" people. A step above the "common" person. They become "non-sexual" beings. ( You see this rising up again today with the phrase "ontologically superior".). Some of these men think that if they pray hard enough or do enough penance, the "gay will go away". Of course, this is fiction. It won't go away. Obviously, the general culture, in the west, has changed greatly in the last 40 years in accepting LGBT people. LGBT people are now allowed to be themselves without fear of prison or rejection by family. Many do not feel the need to have the "cover" of the priesthood anymore. This is one reason that vocations to the priesthood are so low in the U.S. and Europe. It is also why vocations are still rising in Africa. Gay men can literally be killed in many of those countries. The priesthood is a safe place to hide.

  10. Jayden, this link is really interesting. I have been following the Moynihan letters and this is his latest:

    It will warm your heart.

  11. Wow! This wonderful, Colleen, thanks so much for the link. If only it comes true! One can pray and hope!

  12. Bofur...I can address another answer to the question men have not only been traditionally disproportionately present in the spiritual priestly realm of Christianity but also in pre-Christian, pagan, and animistic societies.....think Two-Spirit people among native Amercians for instance...positive spiritual meaning was attached to being seen as having two natures in one spirit - male and female...some cultures see gay people - both men and women - as having unique sacred spiritual gifts from the Deity... many times gay men were and are currently tribal shamans and certainly were present disproportionately as priests in the old pagan religions where they did not have to hide their sexuality....sexuality was embraced more easily in all its many forms within the old Mother Goddess cultures of Europe and even to a certain extent within the later European patriarchal pagan religions.....check out the Galli priests of gay men in disproportionate numbers in the spiritual priestly realm is not a new development....,.what is relatively new is the anti-sexual nature of the Abrahamic desert religions which drives homosexual priests into hiding and presents all priests, gay and straight, with challenges to their formation as mature and healthy psycho-sexual beings.....

  13. Colleen, I have not been very successful in 'keeping hope alive' as they say in regard to the election of a new Pope....I perhaps do not have any longer the same faith that you and others have regarding the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit in these matters.....I am perhaps too much of an historical materialist to get my hopes up too much....though I do try to remain open to miracles.....I sincerely hope to see Schonborn's face emerge on the balcony sometime this week or even Cardinal Tagle as you have mentioned....but if I see Cardinal Sandri or Scola emerge or some other Curial supporter it will be so disheartening....if that is the case I hope to see more discussion here and on Bilgrimage of where our hopes and aspirations and our feet should take us since for all intents and purposed real reform will die in our life time.....