Council of Cardinals expresses 'full solidarity' with pope

Friday, Sep. 14, 2018
By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Members of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals expressed “full solidarity” with him in the midst of questions about his handling of the clerical sexual abuse scandal and said the Vatican is planning a response to allegations made against him by a former nuncio.

Only six of the nine cardinals who are members of the council participated.

The six “expressed full solidarity with Pope Francis in the face of what has happened in the last few weeks, aware that in the current debate the Holy See is formulating possible and necessary clarifications,” according to a released statement.

The September session of the council was the first since news broke about an investigation finding credible sexual abuse allegations against then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, since the release in mid-August of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on how six dioceses handled abuse allegations and since the publication of a document by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the U.S., alleging that Pope Francis knew of Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual misconduct yet allowed him to continue in active ministry.

Pope Francis formed the Council of Cardinals, often referred to as the C9, shortly after his election in 2013 to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia and on Church governance generally.

The council members asked Pope Francis for a reflection on “the work, structure and composition of the council itself, also taking into account the advanced age of some of its members.”

The six present were Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras; Sean P. O’Malley of Boston; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; and Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State.

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