Once-powerful Vatican bishop Angelo Sodano dies at 94

ROME (AP) — Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a once powerful Italian bishop who has long served as the Vatican’s No. 2 official, has lost his legacy in favor of an influential religion. Defiled by the paedophile founder of the Order, he has died. He is 94 years old.

Sodano died on Friday, the Vatican said in announcing his death on Saturday. Italian state radio said Sodano had recently contracted COVID-19, compounding his already debilitating health. Corriere della Sera said he died at the Rome clinic where he was admitted a few weeks ago.

In a telegram of condolence Saturday to the retired bishop’s sister, Maria Sodano, Pope Francis noted that Sodano had served in many positions in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps before being decreed by the then pope on June 28, 1991. John appointed Secretary of State. Paul II. A day later, John Paul, later canonized, elevated Sodano to cardinal.

In a message of condolence, Francis expressed “thank you the Lord for the gift of this esteemed figure of the Church” and paid tribute to his long service as a Vatican diplomat in Ecuador, Uruguay and Chile in South America. .

But later in his Vatican career, Sodano’s ecclesiastical legacy was marred by his unwavering support for the late Rev. Martial Marcel, founder of the Legion of Christ Mexico, a religious organization who was later revealed to be a pedophile Hobbyist. Maciel’s clerical career was discredited by the cult-like practices he imposed on cult members. An internal investigation concluded that 33 priests and 71 seminary students had sexually abused minors over a period of about eight years.

For years, Sodano blocked the Vatican from investigating allegations of sexual abuse against Maher during his tenure as John Paul’s secretary of state. The Holy See has evidence dating back decades that the founder of the religious order – an organization beloved by John Paul for producing so many priests – was a drug addict and paedophile.

The Vatican’s biography, published after Sodano’s death, made no mention of the scandals. Instead, it noted Sodano’s accomplishments as a top Vatican diplomat, including his work on the “peaceful resolution of the two countries’ sovereignty disputes”, which erupted in the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Reference to territorial disputes.

Referring to Sodano’s career at the Vatican, where he served as the Holy See’s second secretary of state until 2006, Francis said the bishop carried out his mission with “exemplary dedication.”

In December 2019, Francis accepted Sodano’s resignation as dean of Cardinal College, an influential role, especially in preparing for the conclave to elect the Pope behind closed doors. Sodano has held this position since 2005.

Sodano was born on November 23, 1927 in the town of Isola d’Asti in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. He was ordained a priest in 1950 and received a doctorate in theology and a doctorate in canon law from the prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University. Pontifical Transverse University.

He joined the Vatican’s diplomatic corps in 1959 and eventually represented the Holy See at European conferences of foreign ministers.

In 2000, Sodano played a role in ending a longstanding mystery in the Vatican by revealing Fatima’s so-called third secret.

In 1917, three Portuguese shepherds said they saw the Virgin Mary appearing in an olive tree and she told them three secrets. The first two are said to predict the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II and the rise and fall of Soviet communism. There is speculation that the third undisclosed secret is a doomsday prophecy.

When the Pope visited the popular holy site in Fatima, Portugal, Sodano said the children’s “interpretation” spoke of a “bishop in white” who “fell to the ground with a burst of gunfire, apparently already died”. This description sparked the May 13, 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul in St. Peter’s Square, in which the Pope was seriously wounded. This was on the same day of the year as the first Fatima vision was reported in 1917.

Sodano’s funeral will be held at St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday. Cardinal College President Giovanni Battista Re will celebrate with a traditional funeral for Pope Francis at the end of the ceremony.

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