Pope removes two cardinals hit by sex scandals from group of close advisers

Cardinal George Pell walks to a car in Melbourne on December 11, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 December 2018

Pope removes two cardinals hit by sex scandals from group of close advisers

  • Chile’s sexual abuse scandal prompted all of the country’s 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope who has so far accepted seven

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has removed from his group of close advisers two cardinals hit by sexual abuse scandals, including his economy minister, Australian George Pell, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
Pell has taken an indefinite leave of absence from his job as head of the Secretariat for the Economy, one of the most powerful posts in the Vatican, to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offenses in Australia.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said: “The Holy See has the utmost respect for Australian judiciary. We are aware that a suppression order is in place (on media reporting on judicial procedures) and we intend to respect it.”
Asked if Pell, 77, was still economy minister, Burke suggested he was, saying there had been no announcement to the contrary.
The other member removed from the so called C-9 — a group of nine cardinals that meets periodically with the pope in Rome — is Francisco Javier Errázuriz of Chile.
Errázuriz, 85, the former archbishop of Santiago, has been accused by abuse survivors in Chile of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases, which he denies.
Chile’s sexual abuse scandal prompted all of the country’s 34 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope who has so far accepted seven.
A third C-9 cardinal, Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, 79, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was also leaving the group, Burke told a briefing on the C-9’s latest meeting, which ended on Wednesday. None of the three attended.
Burke said the six remaining members — from Italy, Honduras, the United States, and India, would continue to advise the pope. There were no immediate plans to appoint new members, he said.
The pope told Reuters last June in an interview that he planned to use the five-year anniversary of the C-9 to “to renew it a bit.”


German carnival crash driver ‘seemed so satisfied’ — eyewitness

Updated 5 min 25 sec ago

German carnival crash driver ‘seemed so satisfied’ — eyewitness

  • Local residents are in shock, trying to understand the driver's motivations
  • The man was a local resident and was recognised around the town

VOLKMARSEN: An emergency responder who tried to remove the key from a car that had just careered into 60 people at a carnival parade on Monday described how the driver had attacked her, wearing an “empty and dead” expression.

Lea-Sophie Schloemer told German television channel Welt that she heard screams and jumped out of the way as the car plowed through the crowd and then crashed in the town of Volkmarsen in western Germany, where at least 18 children were among the injured.

When the car, a silver Mercedes-Benz, came to a halt, she ran up to it, opened the driver’s door and attempted to take the key out of the ignition.

“Then he grabbed my hair and started to choke me and tried to start the car again, which he didn’t manage to do,” Schloemer said of the driver. Three local men then punched the driver to restrain him.

“He didn’t say a word. He looked at you empty and dead and seemed so satisfied,” she said, “It was really unnerving how satisfied he seemed.”

A friend pulled Schloemer away from the car and she administered first aid to two injured people, a child and an older woman.

“It wasn’t an accident, nor was it an attack, but it was what he wanted,” she said of the driver.

Among other residents of the town, one question is on everyone’s minds: why would one of their own turn his car into a weapon against men, women and children taking part in a festive parade?

No one seems to have an answer.

Volkmarsen native Rainer Bellmann, 58, speculated that: “He must have serious issues. With his family or with a lover.”

Bellman, speaking from his home just two streets away from where the suspect lives, added: “You have to be crazy or blinded by rage to do something like this.”

Prosecutors have not yet questioned the man who yesterday was being treated for his injuries, but have confirmed he was not drunk at the time of the incident.