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Council of Cardinals pledges ‘full solidarity’ to Pope who now faces abuse cover-up allegations

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VATICAN CITY, September 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As the clerical sexual abuse scandal rages on, implicating even Pope Francis, the group of 9 cardinals which the pontiff has delegated to work with him on reform has expressed its “full solidarity” with the Pope. 

According to yesterday’s Vatican press release, Francis’ special advisory group known as the Council of Cardinals expressed their loyalty to the Holy Father in the wake of allegations made by a former papal nuncio to the United States that he favored a disgraced American cardinal despite knowing of his sexual misconduct. Some of the cardinals who make up the council were named in Archbishop Carlo Viganò's report, including Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Sean O’Malley, and Rodriguez Maradiaga. 

According to the declaration, the Council of Cardinals “expressed its full solidarity with Pope Francis with regard to the events of recent weeks, aware that in the current debate the Holy See is about to make the eventual and necessary clarifications.”

Last month Archbishop Viganò accused Pope Francis in a detailed 11 page document of covering-up for now ex-Cardinal McCarrick despite being made aware of his sexual abuse of seminarians and priests. The Archbishop called on the Pope to resign. A day after news of the letter broke, Pope Francis told reporters that he was “not going to say a word” about the allegations. One bishop called the Pope’s response a “non-denial.”

Now, numerous priests, bishops, a cardinal, tens of thousands of lay Catholic men and women, as well as respected international mainstream news outlets (here, here and here) are calling for Viganò’s claims to be thoroughly investigated. 

LifeSiteNews reported on August 27 how a source in the Vatican Curia said that the news of Archbishop Viganò “hit the Curia like an atomic bomb.”

The Council of Cardinals, jocularly referred to as the C9 by Vatican News, was established by Pope Francis a month after his election to advise him in the governance of the Catholic Church and in the reformation of the Curia.

This is not the first time the Council of Cardinals has pledged support for the Pope.

The Council unexpectedly pledged allegiance to the Pope in February, 2017 in the wake of two public expressions of dissatisfaction or concern with Pope Francis that had hit the streets of Rome that same month. 

“In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals pledges its full support for the Pope’s work, assuring him at the same time of its adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium,” said the note.

The Council of Cardinals has a three day meeting this week, from Monday to Wednesday.

According to the UK’s Catholic Herald, only six of the nine prelates comprising the Council of Cardinals are at this meeting: Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Sean P. O’Malley of Boston; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; and Giuseppe Bertello.  

The missing counselors are Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya; Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz Ossa, the Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago whose mishandling of abuse allegations is now under scrutiny; and Cardinal George Pell, who is on trial in his native Australia for the alleged sexual abuse of male minors.

Editor's note: Pete Baklinski contributed to this report. 

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

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