Badpuppy Gay Today

Tuesday, 21 April 1998

CATHOLIC CARDINAL QUITS OVER MOLESTATION CHARGES

Hans Hermann Cardinal Groer, 78, Austria's Most Senior Churchman
Young Boys, Former Pupils and Monks Tell of Cardinal's Sexual Abuses

By Jack Nichols

 

Hans Hermann Cardinal Groer, 78, Austria's most senior Roman Catholic churchman, quit his post April 14 and has been reported to be in seclusion at a monastery near Vienna (preparing to flee to Sweden) as a result of repeated allegations that he has molested numerous young boys.

Cardinal Groer was asked to leave his church post by Pope John Paul II following a second round of charges against him that originally surfaced in 1995. The Pope, scheduled to visit Austria in June, was said to fear Roman Catholic Austrians would rise up at that time, demonstrating against their now-dismissed Cardinal during the Papal visit.

Although Cardinal Groer has never publicly admitted to his breach of church etiquette, Austrian newspapers have overflowed with lurid details of his cruisings and deflowerings of the cream of the crop among Austria's church-going youths. As a result, say observers, the citizenry is mostly convinced of the Cardinal's guilt.

A statement issued on the day of Groer's resignation by the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's embassy in Austria and made in the Cardinal's name said: " In the past three years, there have been several, often inaccurate assertions about my person. I beg God and people for forgiveness, if I have burdened myself with guilt."

Sunday, the Pope's official replacement in Austria, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, apologized for his predecessor's sex crimes. He said, "As bishop of this diocese, I apologize for everything by which my predecessor, and other church dignitaries have wronged people entrusted to them."

Cardinal Schonborn, who has been mentioned as a possible successor to the current Pope, promised to help, possibly through Roman Catholic counseling, "all those who were harmed" by Cardinal Groer's behavior.

Schonborn also appealed "as a person and a bishop" to the Austrian press to "refrain from further discussion of the case" inasmuch as such continued discussion damages the standing of the Roman Catholic Church.

Freethinkers in the United States, responding to the scandal, quoted the well-known quip by "the silver-tongued infidel," Robert G. Ingersoll, a famed American orator of the last century. "I don't believe in calling a man a liar simply because he's a bishop" said Ingersoll, "It's bad enough to call a man a bishop."

The Austrian church, according to the New York Times, has been badly damaged by "the allegations of pedophilia." More than 80% of Austria's population is Roman Catholic. Since the charges against Cardinal Groer surfaced in 1995, however, thousands of Austrians have left the church.

As a result of the sex scandal over a half million Austrians have signed a petition to the Vatican calling for a large share by parishioners in the selection of bishops. They have also appealed for an increased role for women in Roman Catholic affairs.

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