Cardinal allegedly helped accused priest

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Published: April 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

TUCSON, April 23 (UPI) — Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos intervened to protect a U.S. priest accused of abuse while he was a Vatican official, court documents say.

The cardinal was removed this week as celebrant of a Latin mass in Washington to mark the anniversary of Benedict XVI’s papacy because of protests by a group advocating for abuse victims. French news media reported last week he wrote a letter in 2001 praising a bishop there for shielding a priest from civil authorities.

The new allegation involves the Rev. Robert Trupia, who was removed from the priesthood in 2004, the National Catholic Reporter says. Documents filed in a civil suit say Castrillon, who was head of the Congregation of the Clergy and not yet a cardinal, urged Bishop Manuel Moreno, head of the Tucson diocese, to allow Trupia to collect a pension and work elsewhere, staying in the priesthood.

Castrillon allegedly told Moreno he could face financial penalties if he disciplined Trupia.

Pope John Paul II made Castrillon a cardinal in 1998. Castrillon has said John Paul approved the letter to the French bishop and that Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, was at a meeting of cardinals where it was discussed.

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