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Hoyos Points To a Skeleton in Benedict’s Closet

Margaret C. Galitzin

In its May 1, 2010 edition, the weekly London The Tablet featured an article titled “Beleaguered Castrillón implicates Pope.” Anyone who has been following Church news knows that today Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos is, indeed, plagued and beset by attacks, synonyms for that Old English word ‘beleaguered.’

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos

A beleaguered Hoyos retaliates with hot information
The unexpected siege started in mid-April when a 2001 letter he wrote resurfaced and became a top headline story in papers around the world. I am sure it was an unpleasant surprise, to say the least, for the retired 81-year-old Colombian Cardinal, past president of Ecclesia Dei (2000-2009) and head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy (1996-2006), who had been comfortably basking in his glories.

In the letter, the Cardinal congratulated Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux for not denouncing a sexually abusive priest to the police. Castrillón Hoyos wrote:
“I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration. You have acted well and I am pleased to have a colleague in the Episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all other Bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son and priest." (1)
He also cited Vatican documents and an Epistle of St. Paul to bolster the argument about the special bishop-priest relation.

Bishop Pierre Pican

Bishop Pican, above, was praised by Hoyos/Ratzinger for protecting a pedophile priest
Then, on April 16, a few days after the letter became public, the retired Cardinal justified his action by affirming the letter was approved by the Pope. He told an audience at the Catholic University in Murcia, Spain, that he consulted with John Paul II and showed him the congratulatory letter. He affirmed the Pope had authorized him to send the letter to Bishops worldwide. Hoyos’ implication of JPII was a hot item, duly reported by all the Catholic and secular press.

The latest piece of hot news, the one reported by The Tablet, came on April 22. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos told Colombia’s RCN radio that the decision to send a congratulatory letter to Bishop Pierre Pican was the product of a high-level meeting that included the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

“It was a meeting of Cardinals,” he said. “Therefore the current Pope [Benedict XVI], who at the time was a Cardinal, was present. The Pope [JP II] was never at those meetings. However, the Holy Father was indeed present when we spoke about this matter in the council, and the Cardinals ruled.”

My reader should note that this statement was not made by the New York Times or some other known anti-Catholic media. It came from the lips of a highly placed and respected Vatican official, until recently a part of the Roman Curia. Nonetheless, this astounding hot news has been, to this date, carefully ignored by the Catholic and secular media organs worldwide.

Why the silence?

The Vatican has not denied Hoyos’ charge, so it seems that the story is real and Benedict was involved. This should be a big story. The media, however, is sweeping it aside into a dark corner, hoping no one will notice.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

The artificial "canonization" of Card. Ratzinger is not so convincing
What is being repeated in every other corner is praise for Benedict, “the Pope who has done more than anyone else in the Church to deal openly and swiftly with sexual abuse by priests.” (3) Soon after the Hoyos letter surfaced, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi released a statement suggesting that the letter confirmed the wisdom of the decision to give Cardinal Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exclusive responsibility for investigating clerical abuse cases in 2001. He does not explain why that Congregation continued the same policies of silence and cover-up on the thousands of abuse cases that ended on its desk.

The insistence by both progressivists and conservatives that Benedict was not complicit in cover-ups – despite indisputable evidence to the contrary – makes me suspect that both sides have something to gain by saving his skin.

The progressivists realize that regarding the Vatican II reform - especially on the issues of ecumenism and religious liberty - this Pope is one of them and it might not be expedient to sacrifice him at this point. The conservatives and many traditionalists, blinded by the Motu Proprio, nourish the illusion that he will lead them to “an authentic renewal,” as Bishop Fellay pretends. So they overlook everything else, no matter how evident Ratzinger’s past transgressions become.

It is sad to see that SSPX is keeping a public silence on this topic and internally punishes those priest who dare criticize Benedict. Perhaps it does not want to jeopardize its opportunities for a compromise and the dreamed return to the Conciliar Church under the “paternal protection” of Benedict XVI.

Why did Hoyos tell?

Why did Hoyos decide to expose Benedict XVI in this scandal?

Oklahoma Bishop Slattery

Bishop Slattery replaced Card. Hoyos at the Washington DC Mass
I can only venture a guess. Perhaps the retired Cardinal was not expecting to be chosen as scapegoat to save Benedict’s reputation and was upset over the strong public reaction against him that followed. After the news of his letter to Bishop Pican hit the press, churchmen and organization rushed to distance themselves from him.

For example, On April 24 Cardinal Castrillón was due to celebrate the Tridentine Mass held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. A few days before the event, he was replaced by the Bishop of Tulsa, Edward Slattery.

The Vatican was also abandoning him. Hoyos, who was considered close to John Paul II and Benedict, suddenly found himself identified by the Vatican as “part of the problem” when it came to addressing the culture of cover-up and secrecy on the issue of clerical abuse. (4) To set the record straight, perhaps he decided to tell the world that Cardinal Ratzinger was present at the damning meeting that rubber-stamped his letter.

This kind of tit-for-tat suggests to me that the Vatican infighting could be escalating to an out of control level. We can only watch closely to see if more such tattling and accusations will be forthcoming.
2. “Cardinal justifies praise for French bishop's silence over abusive priest,” India Times online, April 18, 2010.
3. “Beleaguered Castrillon Implicates Pope,” The Tablet, May 1, 2010
4. Ibid.

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Posted May 7, 2010

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