VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican issued an unprecedented public rebuke Monday of a leading cardinal who had questioned the church's policy of celibacy and openly criticized the retired Vatican No. 2 for his handling of clerical sex abuse cases.Read the rest here.
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.
Schoenborn has been a leading figure in the abuse crisis, forcefully denouncing abuse, presiding over service of reparations for victims and openly calling for an honest examination of issues like celibacy.
Schoenborn's comments about Sodano were remarkable in that they were directed at Pope John Paul II's No. 2, who has already come under fire for his alleged stonewalling of a Vatican investigation into the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who was found to have abused seminarians and fathered at least three children.
Sodano still wields enormous influence in Vatican circles as the dean of the College of Cardinals.