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WASHINGTON (RNS) A former Vatican official who praised a French bishop for not reporting an abusive priest to the police has withdrawn from celebrating an upcoming Latin Mass at the nation’s largest Catholic church.
Victims’ advocates had blasted the Maryland-based Paulus Institute for inviting retired Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
On Wednesday (April 21), the institute said it would find someone else to celebrate the traditional-style Mass.
“This will help maintain the solemnity, reverence and beauty of the Mass,” the group said in a statement. “The Traditional Latin Mass planned for April 24th honoring Pope Benedict on his five-year inauguration anniversary is a liturgical event much bigger than the individual celebrant.”
The institute said it first contacted Castrillon Hoyos early in its three-year plans to hold the Mass. Recently, a French Catholic magazine published a 2001 letter in which he praised a French bishop for not reporting to the police a priest who had sexually abused children and who later was sentenced to 18 years in prison. At the time, he was the Vatican’s prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests criticized the Vatican and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl for not taking action against Hoyos’ appearance.
“We’re disappointed that no church official on the planet — in the Vatican or a single one of the world’s … dioceses — is brave enough to clearly denounce Castrillon Hoyos’ inexcusable recklessness,” it said.
The institute, which is dedicated to promoting traditional forms of worship, said in its statement that it supports victims of clergy sexual abuse.
“The Paulus Institute regards all sexual abuse as tragic and a heinous sin and supports Pope Benedict’s fight to rid this disease from the church,” it said.
— Adelle M. Banks
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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