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Scandal Spectacle: The 10 Most Corrupt and Compromised Cardinals Voting For the New Pope

While the world cries for the church to reform itself, the next pope's electors include cardinals who coddled priests who preyed on children.

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"He is a priest who has worked fruitfully and generously nearly his whole life," Errázuriz said of Karadima. Nevertheless, "There is no place in the priesthood for those who abuse minors, and no excuse that can justify this crime."

7. Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago. As part of a 2008 settlement with victims of child sex-abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George released the deposition he had given in the case. It revealed some of the details of a coverup at the highest levels of his staff.

For instance, wrote Chicago Tribune reporters Margaret Ramirez and Manya Brachear, George’s testimony revealed “evidence of his repeated refusal to follow recommendations and promptly remove abusive Chicago priests from ministry.” These were priests like Rev. Daniel McCormack and the Rev. Joseph Bennett, who were accused of molesting dozens of children.

In fact, George said in his deposition, his vicar of priests, Edward Grace, actually coached the pedophiles on how to beat the rap, according to the Chicago Tribune account:

Rev. Edward D. Grace, and Auxiliary Bishop George J. Rassas withheld information about abuse allegations.

Grace coached Joseph Bennett on how to handle questions involving a victim's knowledge of Bennett's private parts, according to a memo included in the deposition. Grace also advised McCormack not to talk to police when first arrested in August 2005, the cardinal said.

The deposition also revealed that George had sought to help another pedophile priest, Norbert Maday, who had been sentenced to 20 years in prison, win a commuted sentence. (He later changed his mind on that idea.)

George served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007-2010.

8. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. The former Archbishop of Quebec is said to be a frontrunner for the papacy, but Canada has not been immune to the clergy sexual abuse scandal. While Ouellet has not been accused of covering for pedophilic priests -- indeed he issued an apology in 2007 for the sex-abuse scandal -- he has been criticized for refusing to meet with the victims of abuse by priests. One notorious case in his archdiocese involved children at a school for the deaf, with allegations dating from before his tenure as archbishop. Some 30 clergy at the school of Clercs de Saint-Viateur stand accused of abusing and raping children from 1944 to 1982.

Adding insult to injury is that, acting as the papal legate, Ouellet traveled to Ireland to meet with victims of sexual abuse by Irish priests.

9. Cardinal Sean Brady, Primate of all Ireland. While the widespread scandal of the sexual and other abuse of children in schools run by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland cannot be laid at the feet of any one bishop (a recent report damned four in the Archdiocese of Dublin alone), Brady played a special role in the scandal in 1975 when, as a priest, he met with children to hear their complaints of sexual abuse, and then swore them to secrecy. As reported by the BBC:

Brendan Boland was 11 years old when he was sexually abused by Fr Brendan Smyth. Back in 1975, he reported the abuse to Fr (now Cardinal) Sean Brady and two other priests, hoping to end the abuse of him and others. After giving evidence to them he was sworn to secrecy.

Cardinal Brady signed two reports about the abuse of Boland and another boy and passed them on to his bishop, but the police were never informed.

It was not until 1994 that Smyth was convicted of dozens of offences against children over a 40-year period.

 
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