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Pope Francis talks with Cardinal Angelo Sodano as they arrive to attend a consistory on the Vatican February 13, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

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VATICAN CITY, Might 28 (Reuters) – Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a controversial Vatican energy dealer for greater than 1 / 4 of a century who was accused of masking up one of many Catholic Church’s most infamous intercourse abusers, has died on the age of 94.

Sodano, who had been ailing for a while and died on Friday night time, was secretary of state beneath two popes — John Paul II and Benedict XVI — holding the quantity two publish within the Vatican hierarchy for 16 years between 1990 and 2006.

It was broadly believed that Sodano, along with John Paul’s secretary, then-Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, ran the Church within the closing years of the late pope’s life as his well being deteriorated from Parkinson’s and different diseases. John Paul died in 2005.

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In a collection of exposes within the Nationwide Catholic Reporter in 2010, writer Jason Berry, a number one skilled on the Church’s intercourse abuse disaster, wrote how Sodano blocked the Vatican from investigating Father Marcial Maciel, disgraced founding father of the Legion of Christ non secular order.

After John Paul’s loss of life, Pope Benedict ramped up investigations of Maciel and eliminated him in 2006, when the Vatican acknowledged that allegations it had been brushed apart for many years had been true.

The cult-like Legion of Christ order, whose guidelines forbade criticizing its founder or questioning his motives, later acknowledged that Maciel, who died in 2008, lived a double life as a paedophile, womanizer and drug addict.

Sodano a number of occasions denied allegations that he was conscious of Maciel’s double life and that he had lined up for him. Maciel, a conservative seen as a bulwark in opposition to liberalism within the Church, was recognized to have made beneficiant monetary presents to the Vatican.

In 2010, 4 years after Pope Benedict changed Sodano as secretary of state, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna accused Sodano of getting blocked a full-scale investigation of former Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer.

Groer stepped down as archbishop of Vienna in 1995 after allegations that he had sexually abused younger seminarians up to now. He died in 2003 by no means admitting guilt or dealing with costs.

Sodano additionally denied these accusations.

In 2010, victims of clergy sexual abuse condemned Sodano for saying at a public Easter handle that abuse was principally “petty gossip”.

Ordained a priest in 1950, Sodano joined the diplomatic service a number of years later. He served in Vatican embassies in Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile earlier than being known as again to the Vatican for senior administrative roles, together with the quantity two spot.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a sufferer of clergy sexual abuse in his native Chile and now a member of a Vatican fee on stopping sexual abuse, wrote on Twitter that Sodano was “a person who inflicted a lot injury on so many individuals and lined up years of abuse in Chile and the world”.

Sodano was Vatican ambassador in Chile between 1977-1988.

Vatican insiders have stated that even after he retired, Sodano, who continued to dwell within the Vatican, exercised vital affect within the careers of Vatican officers for the rest of Benedict’s hold forth. Benedict resigned in 2013.

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Reporting by Philip Pullella; Enhancing by Ros Russell and Daniel Wallis

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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