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Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican power broker for decades, dies at 94 -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. Pope Francis and Cardinal Angelo Sodano arrive at the Vatican to participate in a Consory on February 13th 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, (Reuters) – Cardinal Angelo Sodano has passed away at the age of 94. He was a notorious Vatican power broker who had been accused of covering up one the most well-known sex abusers in the Catholic Church.

Sodano had been ill since a while and passed away on Friday. He was secretary of State under John Paul II (and Benedict XVI) and held the second position in the Vatican hierarchy for sixteen years, 1990 to 2006.

Many believed Sodano and John Paul’s secretary Stanislaw, the Archbishop Stanislaw, managed the Church as his health declined from Parkinson’s, among other diseases. John Paul passed away in 2005.

Jason Berry is a noted expert on Church sexual abuse. In 2010 he exposed how Sodano stopped the Vatican investigating Father Marcial Maciel.

Following John Paul’s passing, Pope Benedict intensified his investigation of Maciel, and removed him from office in 2006. The Vatican later acknowledged the truthfulness of Maciel’s allegations, which had been ignored for many decades.

Later, the Legion of Christ, which was a cult, did not allow anyone to criticize its founder, or ask him why.

Multiple times, Sodano denied that he knew about Maciel’s double life and that Sodano had used it to cover up for him. Maciel, who was seen as a stronghold against liberalism in Church, had made numerous financial gifts to Vatican.

After Pope Benedict succeeded Sodano in the role of secretary of state, four years later Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn (Vienna) accused Sodano for obstructing a thorough investigation of ex-Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer.

After allegations of having sexually assaulted young seminarians, Groer was forced to resign as Archbishopof Vienna in 1995. In 2003, Groer passed away without admitting guilt and was not facing criminal charges.

These accusations were also refuted by Sodano.

2010 victims of clergy sexual abuse were outraged by Sodano’s statement at an Easter service that the abuse was mostly “petty talk”.

Sodano was ordained a priest in 1950 and joined the diplomatic corps several years later. Before he was called to the Vatican, Sodano served as an administrator in high-ranking positions including number 2 in administrative and diplomatic roles.

Insiders at the Vatican claim that Sodano continued to reside in Vatican and exerted significant influence on the careers of Vatican officials throughout Benedict’s pontificate. Benedict was forced to resign in 2013.