From the AP:

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican on Monday admonished a leading cardinal for having publicly criticized the former Vatican No. 2 for his handling of clerical abuse cases.

In a statement, the Vatican said only the pope can make such accusations against a cardinal, not another so-called prince of the church.

In April, Vienna's archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, accused the former Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, of blocking a probe into a sex abuse scandal that rocked Austria's church 15 years ago.

Schoenborn also accused Sodano of causing 'massive harm' to victims when he dismissed claims of clerical abuse as 'petty gossip' on Easter Sunday.

The Vatican sought to clarify Sodano's comments, noting Monday that the pope himself had used the 'petty gossip' phrase a week earlier, referring to the need to have 'courage to not be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinions.'

The phrase, and Sodano's repetition of it, sparked widespread criticism that the Vatican simply didn't appreciate the significance of the clerical abuse scandal. It also suggested the Vatican thought the hundreds of reports of abuse flooding in, and the questions that were being asked about the Vatican's handling of abuse for decades, was mere gossip.

The Vatican said that interpretation was 'erroneous,' although it didn't explain what the pontiff or Sodano meant by the phrase. The Vatican said both men felt compassion for victims and condemnation for those behind the abuse.

The Holy See issued the statement after Schoenborn met with the pontiff in a private audience. The audience was then broadened to include Sodano and the current Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone....

Read the entire AP report here.

Comments

charles jordan | 6/29/2010 - 9:12am
It now occurs to me that the ecclesial problem which is now revealed is that the honour of inherent in 'cardinal' is being allowed to supplant the office of bishop.  Archbishops of Rome twist tradition when they name men, almost always bishops, as cardinals and then rely on them as their primary advisors and chief officers of the curia. Always the source of authority is the office of bishop. It is from this office that bishops advise each other, even the successor of Peter, and offer fraternal correction to one another.  Clearly, Archbishop Benedict's is using the role of 'cardinal' to inhibit legitimate fraternal correction of one bishop to another.  This of course would explain why the bishops of New England did not immediately and forwith publicly advice Bernard Law to cease functioning as Boston's Archbishop and to go into retirement. I write publicly because I assume that these bishops at least had privately advised Bernard Law to remove himself even before he was officially allowed to resign by John Paul II. Then again, maybe they understood this twist in tradition that cardinals are above fraternal correction.
Anonymous | 6/28/2010 - 4:25pm
The amazing thing to me is that by all accounts Sodano & Ratzinger were long-time rivals before his election & Sodano is known to have corrupting ties.  It is really disappointing that the Vatican press office can function effectively in putting out this statement.
Thomas Rowan | 6/28/2010 - 2:37pm
The Church and innparticular the curia needs to stop making the rules that they seem fit and return to the gospels and especially Acts to discern how to respond.  Is the word not the foundation?  Jesus lived it and the early Church did its best to interpret it.  Trust the word, the spirit, and the truth.  The Spirit is free and cannot be enslaved.  The word from this same Spirit was spoken and we see the inability to hear it.  Listen, curia, listen.
Michael Bindner | 6/28/2010 - 2:30pm
I'm wondering what is meant by "the Vatican." Without a quote by B16 himself, this could be a clumsy action by the Curia. I could see Benedict going either way on this - and the fact that this was done with Shoenborn in Rome makes me think that the Cardinal fell on his sword as part of an arrangement that has more parts than we know about.

Sodano may be able to manipulate the Pope, but he can't manipulate God.
Dale Rodrigue | 6/28/2010 - 2:16pm
Jeff, I agree 100%.
It amazes me, Schoenborn defends B16, and then Schoenborn gets reprimanded!
It's as if Sodano's reputation is more important than B16's reputation.
I guess we know who is running things behind the scenes, who is the puppet and who is the puppeteer!
ed gleason | 6/28/2010 - 2:03pm
Not being a fan of aristocratic classes  like Card. Schoerborn, I say there are still great advantages in his being one.. 1. aristocrats don't go sulking back home with their tail between their legs. 2. He was raised/taught/believes his ancestors saved Western Catholic civilization. 3. he may now think its his turn to take up the shield/sword from the hands of vatican yeomen bunglers....and send them packing back to where they came from.  
As for Sodano, if the  the Pope can be the only accuser of Cardinals let him take up the accusation that Sodano was one of the ' 'stuffed envelope' recepients of Maciel. It's put up or shut up.. time..  
Dale Rodrigue | 6/28/2010 - 1:58pm
Ah, let them humiliate Schoenborn all the more.

Then...
when Schoenborn becomes Pope he'll be all ''fired up'' to
put an end to all of this, fire these cardinals, clean out the curia and put an end to B16's foolishness and legacy.

Can't wait for the next conclave, it will be a winner!
Eric Stoltz | 6/28/2010 - 1:50pm
"only the pope can make such accusations against a cardinal"
 
Wow. That's really messed up. So if the pope chooses to say nothing, we are to be saddled with ever more Sodanos and Laws? This is most distressing. The arrogance only becomes more and more blatant.
Julius-Kei Kato | 6/28/2010 - 1:32pm
So the dressing down has finally come. In a magnificent place with lots of monuments to "past" prophets (the Vatican), the enforcers follow magnificently in the tradition of the Pharisees (of Mat. 23 fame) who build beautiful monuments to past prophets but kill the prophets of today. Schoenborn's act is as close as one can get to a contemporary example of a prophetic word, a.k.a. speaking truth to power. Of course, his brother bishops cower and remain silent as the king and his regents tell him to stop prophesying, that is, to stop exercising one of the main duties of a true shepherd of God's flock. This is so sad. It goes against the logic and praxis enshrined in our sacred scriptures called the prophetic books. In place of that, the logic that the Vatican is asking this prophetic bishop to acquiesce to is the logic of empire (unity of the empire at the expense of truth), the logic of bella figura (keeping of a beautiful facade while the inside is full of rotting material). How sad... How disheartening... 
Anonymous | 6/28/2010 - 1:14pm
Who the hell does Sodano have pictures of?  What a completely idiotic press release.  Attack the person who has the most credibility!