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Sex abuse survivors name three 'promising' papal contenders

Other 'dirty dozen' cardinals put on blacklist

07 March, 14:29
Sex abuse survivors name three 'promising' papal contenders (ANSA) - Rome, March 7 - A group representing American survivors of sexual abuse by priests on Thursday named three cardinals they said were 'promising' candidates for pope because of their record on child sex-abuse claims.

The three lauded by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) were Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines and Christoph Schoenborn of Austria, and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. Martin is a longshot candidate since he is not a cardinal, while the other two have been named as 'papabili', or papal contenders. SNAP said Cardinal Tagle is one of very few prelates who have spoken clearly about the "culture of shame" that surrounds victims of sex abuse and has been helpful in defrocking at least one convicted priest. At a Vatican abuse symposium in 2012, Tagle mentioned coverups and argued that the church should stop "waiting for a bomb" and instead prevent the scandal from happening, rather than try to "prevent it from exploding". The group applauded Cardinal Schoenborn for "famously and publicly criticizing" Cardinal Angelo Sodano, now dean of the College of Cardinals, for allegedly obstructing the investigation of Schoenborn's predecessor, Cardinal Herman Groer, who was accused of abusing children. Schoenborn was later disciplined by Pope Benedict XVI for his remarks. SNAP lauded Martin, the primate of Ireland, for acknowledging that there were likely thousands of abuse victims throughout Ireland, and that clergy abuse epidemic "will shock us all". "There's a real danger today of people saying the child abuse scandal is over... It isn't over," Martin told the Irish press in 2012 as the scope of priest sex abuse in the country continued to unfold. Martin, SNAP underlines, "also went against the norm when he willingly turned over documents to secular officials relating to abusive priests".

The list of papal preferences was presented at a hotel in Rome where clergy sex-abuse victims held signs and childhood photos and urged Catholic officials to provide training in dioceses for clergy and parishioners on abuse prevention. David Clohessy, director of SNAP, said the group was not officially "endorsing" any of them. "While SNAP has serious doubts about the role nearly every top Catholic official has played in the Church's continuing abuse and coverup crisis, the group is highlighting three potential 'papabili', calling them 'promising'".

On Wednesday the group named a 'Dirty Dozen' of cardinals they said should not be candidates for pope. Those cardinals, who will attend an upcoming conclave, are: Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico; Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras; Timothy Michael Dolan of New York; Angelo Scola and Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, both from Italy; Australia's George Pell; Dominik Duka of the Czech Republic; Donald Wuerl of Washington DC; Marc Ouellet from Quebec; Sean O'Malley from Boston; Argentina's Leonardo Sandri; and Peter Turkson from Ghana.

The Vatican replied that it would not be swayed by the list.

(photo: Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin)
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