Angelo Sodano, once-powerful Vatican prelate, dies at 94

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a once-powerful Italian prelate who lengthy served because the Vatican’s No. 2 official however whose legacy was tarnished by his assist for the pedophile founding father of an influential spiritual order, has died. He was 94.

The Vatican in its Saturday announcement of his demise mentioned Sodano had died on Friday. Italian state radio mentioned that Sodano just lately had contracted COVID-19, complicating his already frail well being. Corriere della Sera mentioned he died in a Rome clinic the place he had been admitted a couple of weeks in the past.

Pope Francis in a condolence telegram Saturday to Maria Sodano, the retired prelate’s sister, famous that Sodano had held many roles within the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, culminating in his being named secretary of state on June 28, 1991, by the then-pontiff, John Paul II. A day later, John Paul, who later was made a saint, elevated Sodano to the rank of cardinal.

Dean of the School of Cardinals Angelo Sodano leads a mass on the St Peter’s basilica on March 12, 2013, on the Vatican.

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Pictures

Within the condolence message, Francis expressed “sentiments of gratitude to the Lord for the reward of this esteemed man of the church” and paid tribute to his lengthy service as a Vatican diplomat in Ecuador, Uruguay and Chile in South America, Francis’ native continent.

However late in his Vatican profession, Sodano’s church legacy was tarnished by his staunch championing of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the deceased Mexican founding father of the Legion of Christ, a spiritual order, who was later revealed to be a pedophile. Maciel’s clerical profession was discredited by the cult-like practices he imposed on the order’s members. An inner investigation ultimately recognized 33 monks and 71 seminarians within the order who sexually abused minors over some eight many years.

Sodano for years, whereas secretary of state beneath John Paul, had prevented the Vatican from investigating intercourse abuse allegations towards Maciel. The Holy See had proof courting again many years that the founding father of the spiritual order — a corporation that was a favourite of John Paul’s for producing so many monks — was a drug addict and a pedophile.

The Vatican’s biography, issued after Sodano died, made no point out of the scandals. As an alternative, it famous Sodano’s accomplishment as a high Vatican diplomat, together with his work for “the peaceable resolution to the controversy of the sovereignty of two states,” a reference to the territorial dispute that erupted within the 1982 Falklands Battle between Argentina and Britain.

Talking of Sodano’s profession on the Vatican, which noticed him serve till 2006 because the Holy See’s No. 2 official within the function of secretary of state, Francis mentioned the prelate had carried out his mission with “exemplary dedication.”

In December 2019, Francis accepted Sodano’s resignation as Dean of the School of Cardinals, an influential function, particularly in getting ready for conclaves, the closed-door election of pontiffs. Sodano had held that place from 2005.

Sodano was born in Isola d’Asti, a city within the Piedmont area of northern Italy, on November 23, 1927. He was ordained a priest in 1950 and obtained a doctorate in theology on the prestigious Pontifical Gregorian College and in canon legislation from the Pontifical Lateran College, each in Rome.

He joined the Vatican’s diplomatic corps in 1959, ultimately representing the Holy See at international ministers’ conferences throughout Europe.

In 2000, Sodano performed a task in ending a permanent thriller on the Vatican by disclosing the so-called third secret of Fatima.

In 1917, three Portuguese shepherd kids mentioned they noticed the Virgin Mary seem above an olive tree and he or she instructed them three secrets and techniques. The primary two have been mentioned to have foretold the top of World Battle I and the beginning of World Battle II and the rise and fall of Soviet communism. Some speculated that the third, unrevealed secret, was a doomsday prophecy.

Whereas the pope was visiting the favored shrine in Fatima, Portugal, Sodano mentioned that the “interpretations” of the youngsters spoke of a “bishop clothed in white,” who “falls to the bottom, apparently lifeless, beneath a burst of gunfire.” That description evoked the assassination try on John Paul in St. Peter’s Sq. on Might 13, 1981, during which the pope was gravely wounded. It was the identical day of the yr as the primary of the reported Fatima visions in 1917.

Sodano’s funeral is to happen on Tuesday in St Peter’s Basilica. Will probably be celebrated by the dean of the School of Cardinals, Giovanni Battista Re, whereas Pope Francis will carry out a conventional funeral ceremony on the finish of the ceremony.

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