05/20/16

Prominent French priest and Vatican adviser accused in sex scandal

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File Under: Killer Fruit!

Monsignor Tony Anatrella during a conference in Lille, France.

Monsignor Tony Anatrella during a conference in Lille, France.

For years, seminaries and monasteries around France sent students and novices to Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a prominent French priest and therapist who has written disparagingly of gays, if their superiors decided the young men were struggling with homosexuality.

Now Anatrella, who argues that gay men cannot be ordained as priests, is facing mounting allegations that he himself had sex with male clients under his care, a scandal that could have repercussions all the way to the Vatican, where the priest is still regularly consulted on matters of sexuality.

The reports about Anatrella that have emerged in recent weeks also landed just as the Catholic Church in France has been embroiled in a crisis over charges that senior churchmen shielded priests even after they received reports that the clerics had molested children.

Anatrella stoked that furor earlier this year when it was revealed that he told new bishops at a Vatican-sponsored course that they are not obligated to report a suspected abuser to authorities even in countries where the law requires such reporting.

The Vatican quickly said that Anatrella’s remarks did not change church policy on reporting, and Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of Pope Francis’ new Commission for the Protection of Minors, issued a statement saying that beyond the requirements of civil law, all members of the church “have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society.”

Yet the allegations that Anatrella himself has engaged in sexual misconduct – accusations that were first broached a decade ago – pose a much greater threat to the priest.

So far, European media have relayed accusations from as many as four men – only one of whom agreed to be identified by his real name – who say that Anatrella engaged in various sex acts with them during counseling sessions in his Paris office, with the activity allegedly occurring up until a few years ago.

“You’re not gay, you just think that you are,” Anatrella reportedly told Daniel Lamarca, who was a 23-year-old seminarian when he first went to Anatrella in 1987.

According to Dutch Catholic journalist Hendro Munsterman, who first reported Lamarca’s story in Nederlands Dagblad, Anatrella told Lamarca he could rid him of his “pseudo-homosexuality” and sought to do so by performing sex acts on Lamarca.

“I know details about Anatrella’s body that could only be known to someone who has seen him naked,” Lamarca told Nederlands Dagblad.

Lamarca said that in 2001 he reported these episodes to the archbishop of Paris at the time, the late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. But Lamarca said nothing was done.

Then, in 2006, he told a liberal lay-run Catholic periodical, Golias, about Anatrella’s behavior; Lamarca’s was one of three accusations to surface that year, but because they involved adults and wound up being their word against Anatrella’s, civil authorities did not pursue the allegations.

The Church also apparently took no action. Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois had succeeded Lustiger by that point, and he reportedly sent an email to all his priests expressing his support for Anatrella. Accusations from other ex-patients did not change the cardinal’s opinion and he spoke of a “gay lobby” working against Anatrella.

In recent weeks, another ex-seminarian, who goes by a pseudonym in the articles, told French outlets that he was counseled by Anatrella for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011, and that after the first few years Anatrella began “special sessions” that included episodes of mutual masturbation.

It is unclear how many of these accounts may also be the same ones that surfaced in 2006.

Anatrella has so far not responded to the latest allegations.

On May 13, the Archdiocese of Paris released a statementacknowledging that in 2014, the current archbishop, Vingt-Trois, received a written complaint, via a priest, from a patient of Anatrella’s who also made allegations of sexual exploitation. But the archdiocese said that because the complainant would not reveal his identity, the church could not pursue the matter.

In addition, the Paris archdiocese said that it received reports of other allegations regarding Anatrella late last month, also by way of a priest. “Because he could not act on the basis of anonymous third-party statements, the cardinal asked the priest to encourage the accusers to make personal contact (with the archdiocese) and lodge a formal complaint,” said the church statement.

The statement went on to say that “any person who has been a victim of sexual aggression (or their parents in the case of minors)” should personally contact the archdiocese to report it. “They will be received and listened to, counseled on what to do next, and urged to file a complaint with the judicial authorities,” it said.

Any person knowing “facts that justify a complaint or denunciation” should also report them to civil authorities, it added.

While Anatrella has been a familiar figure for decades in France, his controversial views gained wider attention in 2005 when he reportedly helped the Vatican, then headed by Pope Benedict XVI, a theological conservative, craft guidelines aimed at keeping gay men out of the priesthood.

Anatrella at the time also wrote a lengthy article in the Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, stating that homosexuality was “like an incompleteness and a profound immaturity of human sexuality.”

According to a report from Catholic News Service, Anatrella wrote that gays are “narcissists” and said homosexuality is “a problem in the psychic organization” of a person’s sexuality. He said that for theological reasons the Catholic Church can only ordain “men mature in their masculine identity.”

On a practical level as well, he wrote, many of the sex scandals in the church happened because gay men, even if they vowed to remain sexually chaste, were ordained as priests and could not remain chaste.

Anatrella also provided a long list of warning signs that should alert seminary staff to the possibility that a seminarian is gay.

Among the signs he listed were students who had trouble relating to their fathers or who tended to isolate themselves, and those found viewing pornography on the Internet and who often saw themselves as victims.

Anatrella remains a consultant to the pontifical councils for the family and for health care ministry; in February, he was the main organizer of a major conference on priestly celibacy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

French Church leaders who have been on the defensive over reports that many of them failed to report priests who abused minors are set to announce new policies to protect children early in June.

Complete Article HERE!

05/19/16

Alleged victim responds to archbishop’s denial of abuse

By

Roy Taitague Quintanilla

Roy Taitague Quintanilla

Roy Taitague Quintanilla, who publicly accused Archbishop Anthony Apuron of molesting him 40 years ago when he was a 12-year-old altar boy at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat where Apuron was then the parish priest, launched a rebuttal to Apuron’s denial late yesterday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Quintanilla held a press conference in front of the Archdiocese of Agana chancery in Agana Heights to confront Apuron over the alleged sexual abuse.

Quintanilla, a 52-year-old former Guam resident who now lives in Hawaii, gathered with family members and friends and read a letter detailing the incident beginning with a trip to the movies with the altar boys of the parish and then each of them being dropped off at their home. “I was the last of the altar boys in the van. I thought you were going to take me home like the others, but instead, you asked if I could sleep at your house,” he said, reading the letter.

He alleged that he was told to sleep in the same room as Apuron and that Apuron grabbed his private parts.

After reading the letter, Quintanilla delivered it to the chancery office.

Archbishop Anthony Apuron

Archbishop Anthony Apuron

On Tuesday evening, Apuron released a video message in which he stated: “There has been a series of attacks against the church and myself in the last three years. As predicted just four days ago, these malicious ads have now resulted in a false accusation of sexual abuse.” Apuron was referring to full-page newspaper ads calling for victims of sexual abuse by clergy to come forward, and detailed parishes and dates.

Deny

Apuron’s message continued, “To be absolutely clear and to avoid misinterpretations of my statement, I deny any allegations of sexual abuse by Roy Quintanilla.”

At the end of the message, Apuron asked for prayers for him and “those who are behind the concerted effort to injure our Catholic church,” he said. “I will continue to defend the faith.”

Yesterday Quintanilla told the Post he was extremely offended by Apuron’s video message.

“I know what he did, he knows what he did, to not only me but to other altar boys that I am aware of that were also victims of Apuron,” Quintanilla said. “The reason it is offensive is one, he had the nerve to lie about it and then make us feel like we are trying to accuse the church of something when that is not what this is about.”

Quintanilla emphasized, “This is about me confronting Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron for what he did to me 40 years ago. It is extremely offensive not only to me, but to the people of Guam that he would lie about doing something so criminal.”

He said he is going to leave it up to other victims to decide if or when they are going to come forward.

Quintanilla said he was offended that the archbishop “basically called me a liar.”

“It is offensive to not only myself and the other victims but to everybody. This is not me accusing the Catholic faith or the church. Apuron is not the church. I am offended that he would hide behind the cloth and behind the church and say that I am slandering the church when that is not what I am doing,” Quintanilla said. “I am confronting the person, Anthony Sablan Apuron, for what he did to me. The fact that he is the leader of the Catholic faith on this island and he is unable to abide by the most basic of commandments which is ‘Thou shall not lie’ – we deserve better. The victims deserve better. I deserve better and the people of this island deserve better.”

Up until recently, Quintanilla thought he was Apuron’s only victim. “Up until a month and a half ago, I discovered by chance that my friends who served with me as altar boys during that period were also victims of Apuron’s. They shared with me what Apuron did to them. If people knew what he did there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that what he did was nothing less than criminal.”

Quintanilla said he didn’t want to come forward at first because he was afraid that people weren’t going to believe him or would criticize him for making claims against an archbishop. “But when I heard what my friends told me, I was going to take that risk,” he said. “I am going to confront him. Because what I am saying is the truth. How dare he molest me and then offend me 40 years later and lie that he did this to me. I have no reason to lie. I am an honest, decent person. Ask anybody.”

Quintanilla said he hasn’t decided if he would file a complaint against the archbishop in court if the statute of limitations was eliminated. “The reason I had an attorney with me when I held the press conference is because just a week prior the archbishop threatened legal action against anyone who would come forward and dare slander his name or the church’s name,” he said.

Quintanilla said he welcomes legal action. “I want him to do that, because I want my day in court. I want to face that man because I have nothing to hide,” he said.

“I welcome any court he wants to take me to. I am ready to defend my honor and my integrity – any time,” Quintanilla said.

Complete Article HERE!

05/18/16

Priest admits to sexual abuse for first time in Citizen interview

By Andrew Duffy

rev-barry-mcgrory-circa-1975

Rev. Barry McGrory in 1975

A retired Catholic priest admitted, in an interview with the Citizen, that he sexually abused three young parishioners at Ottawa’s Holy Cross Parish in the 1970s and ’80s.

Rev. Barry McGrory said he was a sex addict who suffered from a powerful attraction to adolescents, both male and female.

Then Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, he said, knew of his sexual problems before moving him to a Toronto-based organization dedicated to assisting remote Catholic missions.

Many of the missions were in native communities in Canada’s north.

Four years after leaving Ottawa, in 1991, McGrory was charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old native youth.

McGrory told the Citizen he was a victim of his illness, a sexual disorder from which he’s now cured.

“There was this terrible dark side that I had to confront — and I just didn’t handle it well,” McGrory, 82, told the Citizen during an hour-long telephone interview from Toronto, where he now lives as a retired priest.

“It could have been handled much, much better.”

In August 1993, McGrory pleaded guilty to sexual assault in a Toronto courtroom and was given a suspended sentence along with three years’ probation.

In the years after McGrory’s conviction, the Archdiocese of Ottawa settled out of court with two of his Holy Cross victims. One victim was paid $300,000 in one of the the largest settlements of its kind in the history of the diocese.

It negotiated confidentiality agreements with both victims. (A 2011 protocol on clergy sexual abuse, published by the Archdiocese of Ottawa, prohibits such confidentiality agreements unless requested by the victim.)

A third victim of McGrory’s sexual abuse is now suing the diocese for $1.5 million.

McGrory has neither been charged with a crime in Ottawa, nor defrocked by the Vatican.

The Citizen sent the Archdiocese of Ottawa an 11-point memo about this series in search of comment. A spokesman, Deacon Gilles Ouellette, responded: “The archdiocese prefers not to comment at this time.”

Rev. Barry McGrory

Rev. Barry McGrory

McGrory’s history of abuse at Holy Cross — one of the most disturbing chapters in Ottawa’s clergy sex abuse scandal — has never been publicly exposed until now. It came to light only when the diocese filed court documents as part of a legal dispute with its insurance company earlier this year.

Those documents named the victim, outlined the facts of her case, and revealed details of her $300,000 settlement.

The woman, who signed a confidentiality agreement as part of her 1997 out-of-court settlement, has never spoken publicly about the case.

Some old non-disclosure agreements negotiated by the diocese impose a $50,000 penalty for victims who retell their stories after accepting a settlement.

Court documents reveal her abuse began when the girl was 13-years-old in 1975 and continued for five years at Holy Cross Parish, where McGrory was pastor.

The Citizen, after investigating the claims, tracked McGrory to a condominium in Toronto’s fashionable Distillery District. He admitted to having a sexual relationship with the teenager.

Asked how many young people he sexually abused during his clerical career, McGrory demurred: “I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve … I’m not going to answer that question. I don’t think … It’s not a very nice question to ask.”

Asked what it’s like to live with his history of sex abuse, McGrory said: “It’s pretty awful, it’s pretty awful. It’s absolutely disgusting, but I believe in a merciful God. And I would not have been able to survive that otherwise. But it was an illness, hebephilia.”

Hebephiles have a strong sexual attraction to adolescents. But the diagnosis is controversial, and hebephilia does not have official status in DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association’s authoritative guide of mental disorders.

In the 1970s, Rev. Barry McGrory was a rising star in the Catholic clergy.

He was then a high-profile social justice and peace activist who wrote and lectured about human rights in Central America. He travelled frequently to Nicaragua and established a twin parish with St. Francis Xavier Church in Managua. For four years, he contributed to a popular Ottawa radio show, Focus Religion.

Ottawa-born and raised, he held a commerce degree from St. Francis Xavier University, a theology degree from the University of Ottawa, and a PhD in theology from Thomas Aquinas University in Rome. He taught at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Que. and St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.

He was also a sexual predator who preyed on troubled young people at Holy Cross Parish.

Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Ottawa.

Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Ottawa.

McGrory was pastor of the Walkley Road church from 1974 to 1986.

One girl, Karen (not her real name), a Grade 8 student at Holy Cross Separate School, met McGrory in 1975 when she sought counselling for problems that she was experiencing at home. She was 13-years-old at the time.

A former schoolmate told the Citizen that Karen was both troubled and beautiful. “She had a Katharine Hepburn kind of beauty,” said Jackie Cowan, a former classmate, who now lives in Victoria, B.C.

Court documents suggest McGrory’s abuse of Karen began while she was still in Grade 8.

McGrory insisted to the Citizen the sexual contact began a year later.

Karen’s former lawyer, Frank MacMillan, set out her allegations in a May 1997 letter filed in court by the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

“It will be our client’s evidence that she was seduced by McGrory when she was 13 years of age,” MacMillan wrote, “and thereafter was controlled by McGrory in a daily sexual-touching relationship at the church, which included some 25 instances of vaginal intercourse with physical violence, and an ‘all-the-time routine’ of McGrory’s forced acts of masturbation on Karen.”

Concluded MacMillan: “McGrory took advantage of this impressionable child and sexually abused and exploited her.”

McGrory denied using violence in any of his sexual encounters.

Jackie Cowan said Karen believed McGrory — then in his early-40s —was her boyfriend. He had convinced Karen, she said, that he was in love with her and would marry her one-day.

McGrory denies this.

Eventually, according to court documents, Karen’s parents sought counselling to address their daughter’s “despondent and inexplicable behaviour.” They turned to McGrory for advice.

McGrory suggested to them that Karen’s problems “arose from their lack of parenting skills,” MacMillan said. He recommended that she move out of the house.

“It is our position that McGrory’s counselling was calculated to further alienate Karen from her parents, protect him from discovery, and make her more susceptible to his control,” MacMillan charged.

McGrory denies the accusation and insists that he was close to the girl’s parents. He described them as “great people.”

Jackie Cowan told the Citizen that Karen moved in with her while they were both students at Brookfield High School. She would sometimes accompany McGrory and Karen when they went on drives or out to dinner.

“He (McGrory) was very charming before you saw the other side of him,” she said.

McGrory once came to a birthday party at the apartment Cowan shared with Karen. Cowan retreated to her bedroom, but it was so noisy that she moved to the extra bed in Karen’s room, which was further from the party scene.

Late that evening, Cowan said, McGrory came into the bedroom with Karen. Cowan pretended to be asleep, she told the Citizen, because she didn’t want to be dragged back to the party. Then she watched as McGrory and Karen began to kiss.

“I’m watching this, horrified,” she said, “and then the next thing I know he starts trying to force her to give him a blowjob. She didn’t want to give him a blowjob. So he started getting really angry and then he started banging her head against the wall, trying to force her to give him a blowjob.

“I still remember so vividly his hands on the side of her head, and her hair flying.”

McGrory said he can’t remember the party and denied forcing the teen to perform oral sex.

He repeatedly blamed the victim for “instigating” sexual contact.

Asked how he can blame a teenager for sex acts that happened when he was an adult priest, McGrory said: “That’s a good point. I certainly should take my own responsibility in saying yes to her. I don’t know what else I could have done.”

In her $1.5-million lawsuit, launched in 1996, Karen alleged that the diocese knew of the danger McGrory posed to young people but recklessly ignored it.

The diocese settled the case out of court for $300,000, according to the lawsuit filed by the diocese against its insurance company.

Karen was not the only one victimized by McGrory at Holy Cross.

Rev. Barry McGrory in 1975.

Rev. Barry McGrory in 1975.

The diocese settled out of court with another young woman, and is now being sued by a man, who alleges that McGrory sexually abused him as a boy during an 11-year period between 1974 and 1985.

McGrory has admitted to abusing the boy. He told the Citizen that his behavior in that case was an exception since the male victim was so young.

“That was a gross and horrific exception, and I’m terribly ashamed of that,” he said. “And I’ve worked very, very hard to get the diocese to do something about it.”

The man, Malcolm (not his real name), attended Holy Cross Catholic School as a boy.

Malcolm first met McGrory after giving a gospel reading at a school mass. According to a statement of claim filed in the case, McGrory praised and encouraged him, then began to insinuate himself into his life.

McGrory, he said, supplied his family with groceries and invited him to dinner at the rectory. At the age of 9 or 10, Malcolm said, McGrory began to offer him wine with dinner.

One evening, after several glasses of wine, McGrory escorted him to a bedroom, undressed him, touched his genitals, and performed oral sex, according to the statement of claim.

Malcolm was upset and ashamed, the claim alleges, but he continued to accept invitations from McGrory. The pattern repeated itself at subsequent dinners.

“Once (Malcolm) was intoxicated, he would invite him to a private space in the rectory and subject him to various sexual acts,” the statement of claim says.

The alleged acts took place both in the church rectory and at a cottage in Val-des-Monts.

Once, when he was 13 or 14, Malcolm returned home intoxicated from an outing with McGrory and driving the priest’s car. His mother called then Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde’s office.

Unable to reach the archbishop, she went to his office and demanded to see him. “He refused to meet with her and ordered his staff to forcibly remove her from his office,” the statement of claim alleges.

The sexual abuse continued throughout Malcolm’s teenage years, and only ended when he moved from Ottawa at the age of 20, according to the claim.

The allegations made in Malcolm’s statement of claim have not been proven in court.

McGrory told the Citizen that Plourde was aware of his predilection for adolescents.

“I do remember talking to Bishop Plourde, and I told him that I was attracted to these young people, and I said, ‘The problem is they’re attracted to me.’

“He said, ‘Well, that’s because they feel your love for them.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, wow, how does he know that?’”

McGrory could not pinpoint the date of his conversation with Plourde, who retired as archbishop of Ottawa in 1989.

McGrory said he also wrote Plourde a letter in 1986 or 1987 in which he asked for treatment and said he’d “pay any price” to get rid of his affliction. He did not get a response from Plourde, and McGrory said he regrets not being more explicit in his demands for help.

“I’ll never understand Archbishop Plourde, why he sent me to Toronto. Maybe he just wanted to get rid of me,” said McGrory.

Plourde died in January 2013.

McGrory left Ottawa on sabbatical in 1986. The following year, he was named president of a Roman Catholic organization — now known as Catholic Missions in Canada — dedicated to fostering the faith in remote communities.

After his 1993 criminal conviction, McGrory received treatment for his alcoholism and sex addiction at Southdown Institute, north of Toronto.

A 12-step program cured him of his sexual disorder, and God has since allowed him to find inner peace, he said.

During the past two decades, McGrory has continued to pursue his passion for social justice as a volunteer at the Don Jail, as an international peace activist, and as a native rights advocate.

In June 1998, McGrory appeared before a Queen’s Park committee and launched a broad attack on the then Conservative government and its “persecution of the most vulnerable and the most helpless among us” — mothers, children, aboriginals, and the poor.

Later, in an exchange with an MPP, McGrory demanded the kind of accountability from the government that he said he would one day deliver before God.

“I’ll face my maker,” he vowed. “I want to be judged and I expect to be accountable for everything I’ve done, and I won’t shirk it. I can’t shirk it. I don’t expect to shirk it.”

Complete Article HERE!

05/17/16

Attorneys File Six More Sex Abuse Lawsuits Against the Seattle Archdiocese

St. James Catherdral

St. James Catherdral

A law firm representing sexual abuse survivors filed six more lawsuits against the Seattle Archdiocese on Tuesday, alleging that Archdiocese knew or should have known about the crimes, yet did nothing.

Five out of the six cases involve abusive priests outed on the list of 77 names that the Archdiocese released in January. And all six plaintiffs called the law firm after the list was made public, according to Seattle attorneys Michael T. Pfau and Jason P. Amala, who’ve filed hundreds of such cases over the years. (One case settled with the Seattle Archdiocese in late March for $9.15 million.)

The six victims whose cases were filed this week “all saw the names [of their alleged perpetrators] on the list and called with questions, many of them thinking that they were the only one,” says Pfau. That fact alone is worth noting, he says. The Archdiocese had, in its files, credible accusations of sexual abuse — enough to publish each priest’s name on a list — but none of the survivors who called Pfau’s law firm had spoken out previously, or had any idea that their perpetrators may have abused other children. “To see that they weren’t the people who had called the Archdiocese to complain,” says Pfau, makes it “obvious that there are other victims.”

Still, the breadth of the six alleged crimes is astonishing, and points, once again, to the culture of abuse and secrecy that many claim dominates the Catholic Church — both in Seattle and across the world. “It’s not six abuse survivors saying one notorious pedophile abused them during a limited time,” Pfau says. “It’s six different people accusing six different pedophiles spanning 30 years at parishes all over the [Seattle] Archdiocese.” As a result, thanks to today’s news and all of the news that came before it, “You can’t really say it’s just a few bad apples.”Sartain

He adds that these six lawsuits represent just a fraction of the calls his firm receives. Since the release of the list in January, he’s gotten some 25 to 30 calls from survivors, “either upset about the list, or [because] the list triggered memories or feelings,” and often wanting more information about their abuser; not all victims want to file a lawsuit. Some victims are looking for compensation, some are looking for an apology, and some are simply looking for answers, Pfau says — all the more reason for the Archdiocese to release the full, secret files it keeps on these alleged crimes.

One of the cases filed Tuesday, for instance, accuses Father James Gandrau, a former priest at St. Mark School and Parish in Shoreline, of sexually abusing the plaintiff while he was an altar boy in 1966 and 1967, usually in a side room where the altar boys got dressed. According to the complaint, Reverend Father Theodore Sullivan, a pastor at St. Mark Parish at the time, caught Father Gandrau in the act of abusing the plaintiff, but never reported the abuse to authorities, never reported Gandrau for his crimes, and never sought medical or psychological care for the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleges that the Archdiocese did nothing to protect him, and as a result, Gandrau continued to abuse him.

Gandrau remained a priest with the Seattle Archdiocese until 2002.

Today’s lawsuits are not the only ones his firm will file, adds Pfau. More lawsuits should appear in the coming months. In the meantime, the firm also intends to speak with officials at the Archdiocese to “resolve the claims of clients who would rather not file a lawsuit, but still want closure,” as well as help secure counseling for some victims.

Above all, Pfau says, “We’re continuing to give information to abuse survivors who want information… and perhaps want information from someone other than the Archdiocese.”

Complete Article HERE!

05/17/16

Pope stands by cardinal facing priest sex abuse cover-up claims

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, leads a mass for migrants in the Saint-Jean Cathedral, in Lyon, central France, Sunday, April 3, 2016.

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, leads a mass for migrants in the Saint-Jean Cathedral, in Lyon, central France, Sunday, April 3, 2016.

PARIS — Pope Francis has voiced support for a French cardinal who has faced allegations of covering up cases of pedophile priests in his Lyon parish, saying he shouldn’t resign.

Francis said in an interview with French Catholic daily La Croix coming out Tuesday that a resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin “would be a mistake, an imprudence.”

“Based on the information I have, I think in Lyon, Cardinal Barbarin has taken the necessary measures and has taken things well in hand,” the pope said. “He is a brave and creative man, a missionary.”

Francis said “we must now wait for the result of the proceedings before the civil courts,” but resigning now “would amount to admitting guilt.”

Barbarin, one of the most high-ranking officials in the French Catholic Church, has been targeted by two investigations for not reporting cases of child abuses by priests to judicial authorities. The cardinal has denied any cover-ups, but acknowledged “some mistakes in handling and appointing some priests” last month. Other church officials have been also investigated.

In the interview, Francis said that regarding cases of pedophile priests in general, for the church, “there can be no prescription” and that “tolerance must be zero.”

“Through these abuses, a priest, who is designed to drive a child to God, is destroying him. He spreads evil, resentment, pain,” the pope said.

Francis gave the one-hour interview to two La Croix’s journalists at his residence in the Vatican on May 9. The pope was speaking in Italian. The daily said the Vatican read the piece before it was published.

In September, the pope made a unprecedented statement on the church sex abuse scandal, in a wide-ranging press conference en route to Rome from his first-ever visit to the United States.

In an exchange with reporters on his plane shortly after take-off from Philadelphia, Francis called sexual abuse by priests “a sacrilege,” CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reported.

As for victims and relatives who cannot forgive abusive priests, Francis said he fully understood.

“I pray for them,” Francis said. “I do not judge someone who is not able to forgive.”

On his last day in the U.S., Francis met with five abuse survivors of sexual abuse and issued a warning to bishops that they would be held accountable if they failed to protect their flocks.

“Those who covered this up are guilty,” he said. “There are even some bishops who covered this up. It’s something horrible.”

 Complete Article HERE!