VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In the Church, only the Pope can level accusations against cardinals. This was the clarification made today by the Vatican at the conclusion of an audience between Benedict XVI and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, Austria.
The meeting took place between the two to discuss statements made by the cardinal regarding the investigation of his predecessor, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër, who resigned in 1995 amidst allegations of sexual abuse.
Cardinal Schonbörn made comments to journalists April 28 that were interpreted by the media as an accusation against Cardinal Angelo Sodano's treatment of the investigation. It was understood from his statements that he believed that the then secretary of state, under Pope John Paul II, had blocked the inquiry for "diplomatic reasons."
Benedict XVI received first Cardinal Schönborn, a former student of his, to discuss the situation. The two were then joined by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who is now the dean of the College of Cardinals, and the current secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The Vatican communiqué confirmed that in the second part of the meeting, "some widespread mistakes were clarified and resolved in part derived from some expressions of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who expressed his displeasure over the interpretations made."
The note then continued, "It is reminded that in the Church, when it is a question of accusations against a cardinal, the competence belongs only to the Pope; other entities can have a consultative function, always with due respect for the persons."
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