Cardinals cite Benedict XVI’s outreach and action against abuse – The Irish Catholic

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

The depths of human sin and depravity “distressed him intimately, and he sometimes remained silent for a long time – all the more so if these human miseries were the responsibility of men of the Church,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Cardinals cite Benedict XVI’s outreach and action against abuse – The Irish Catholic

Cardinals cite Benedict XVI’s outreach and action against abuse Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, is pictured in his office at the order’s headquarters in Rome. Photo: CNS.

A cardinal who had served as an aide to now-retired Pope Benedict XVI and was present for his meetings with survivors of clerical sexual abuse said he never found in him any shadow or attempt to hide or minimise anything”.

The depths of human sin and depravity “distressed him intimately, and he sometimes remained silent for a long time – all the more so if these human miseries were the responsibility of men of the Church,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

The cardinal distributed his “testimony” about Pope Benedict to the media January 28, saying he wanted to present an eyewitness account of how Pope Benedict reacted to allegations of clerical sexual abuse and, especially, to the survivors of abuse in the wake of reports about the retired Pope’s handling of cases when he was archbishop of Munich. A report released January 20 said then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger mishandled four cases.

Cardinal Filoni, who was the sostituto or substitute for general affairs in the Vatican Secretariat of State from 2007 to 2011, said that in that role, he met with then-Pope Benedict at least once a week and, in addition, oversaw the organisation of papal trips abroad.

“He had a clear sensitivity for the victims,” the cardinal said.

“When, in preparation for apostolic trips – to the United States, Australia, etc. – he received requests for meetings with victims of abuse, he spoke to me about it; he wanted to know my thoughts on how to accommodate these requests,” the cardinal said.

But in the discussions, he said, Pope Benedict always insisted on “deep respect for the victims whose identity had to be safeguarded; therefore, he wanted the meetings to take place far from the gaze of cameras” and insisted the meetings not be an “audience” with a simple handshake and exchange of pleasantries.

The meetings Cardinal Filoni said he was present for had “a spiritual dimension and took place in front of God, from whom we had to implore mercy”.

Meeting the survivors in a chapel, he prayed with them and “listened, with visible and palpable emotion”, the cardinal said.

“In those meetings, there was not only the sense of a humiliation suffered by the victims, but also the humiliation of a man of the Church who could never have imagined that such degrading actions could happen, and yet now offered the balm of prayer and the relief of a solidarity in the name of that God.”

Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna also spoke positively of the former Pope’s handling of abuse during an interview January 28 with ORF, the Austrian broadcaster, according to KNA, the German Catholic news agency.

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