Some time ago I wrote that the Cardinal Electors, in the General Congregations and in the Conclave itself, have to consider – among other issues – the record of the man they may choose in regard to his handling (or lack of handling) clerical sexual abuse of minors. This is more a factor for cardinals who have been diocesan bishops than it is for those who have only been in curial roles.
This isn’t the only factor they have to consider, but in this media day and age, it cannot be ignored. The shoe hasn’t dropped in most of the world yet, as it has in these USA and a few other anglophone places. If they choose someone who has not handled the issue well in his diocese, there will be a media maelstrom against him, whipped by by newsies and eager special interest groups, from the first day of the new pontificate.
I also opined that if the cardinals themselves are not perceived as squeaky clean, the mainstream media and interest groups will work to undermine the next Pope’s moral authority at every turn because he was elected by men who were perceived by them as tainted or whom they claim “didn’t do enough”.
Now I read in an AP story sent to me in email …
Abuse victims ask cardinals be kept from conclave
Published: March 5, 2013
SANTIAGO, CHILE — Advocates for victims of clerical sex abuse in Chile, Mexico and Italy asked Tuesday for three cardinals to withdraw from the papal conclave, accusing them of covering up crimes.
The victims in Chile say Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz failed to act on accusations that they were abused by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was long one of the country’s most popular priests. They say the cardinal, who will vote for the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, declined to carry out a probe and refused to even meet them.
“My clients say it’s incongruent and disrespectful to all the victims, not only Karadima’s but those of other priests who abused minors when he was an archbishop,” Juan Pablo Hermosilla, the victims’ lawyer told The Associated Press.
“It’s evident that he had knowledge of the complaints of abuse, which other priests believed to be true, and he did nothing,” Hermosilla said. “He could have stopped this at the time, but for some reason he didn’t. He looked the other way.”
In Mexico, meanwhile, advocates for victims of the disgraced Rev. Marcial Maciel and other priests said they were presenting a petition demanding that Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera stay away from the conclave.
“Norberto, covering up and not acting to prevent sexual abuses of children by pedophile priests strips you of the moral stature required to participate in the election of the new leader of the Catholic Church,” they said in a petition posted online by former priest Alberto Athie, co-author of a book denouncing pedophile clerics including Maciel, founder of the Legionnaries of Christ.
In Italy, victims of an abusive priest have launched a petition on www.change.org trying to keep Cardinal Domenico Calcagno out of the conclave.
Three men who said they were abused by the Rev. Nello Giraudo, a Savona-area priest, went on national television this week to accuse Calcagno of having known about the accusations and yet didn’t report him to police.
Remember: A new Pope will uphold the Church’s teaching faith and morals. When he does, and when he upholds the Church’s important disciplines, various groups that advocate for the unnatural or who self-identify as victims (rightly or wrongly) or who are simply heretics and antinomians will say that the new Pope has no moral authority because he was elected by cardinals who “covered up” or “didn’t act” or “didn’t do enough” about this or that.
The Cardinal Electors are going to have to stand firm and, I think, act swiftly. It is hard to stand at the focus of the MSM’s attention these days, but they have to man up and man up fast.
I fear the avalanche is just getting started.