Mar 01 2013
Leaving aside issues concerning some fishy doin’s at the Vatican Bank (recounted here by Lynn Parramore), or the sexual harassment scandal that inspired this week’s resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh (in which three priests and one former priest accused the cardinal of making sexual advances toward them*), we focus our gaze here on 10 cardinals who either aided and abetted the priests who abused children, or who served as apologists for the church in its failure to report their crimes. This list is by no means definitive or complete; there are likely many more among the 120 cardinals entrusted with the election of the next pope who traded the safety and welfare of children entrusted to the church’s spiritual care for the safety of their own place in the hierarchy of the world’s oldest Christian denomination.
It is worth noting that during the height of the sex abuse of children by priests, the church’s presiding disciplinarian was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI. Offending priests were rarely disciplined, and were almost never reported to law enforcement authorities; Ratzinger instead focused his energy on silencing liberation theologians, threatening feminist nuns with expulsion, and punishing a bishop for being too accepting of gay people.