Catholic Omertà

A French website has published a 2001 letter written in French from Cardinal Dario Castrillon to a French bishop Pierre Pican. In 2001, Castrillon was Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy. Pican refused to report a priest accused and later convicted of the rape of a young boy and sexual assaults on 10 other minors.
Castrillon’s Congregation for the Clergy had been one of the Vatican departments in charge of investigating sexual abuse allegations and laicization requests. Castrillon writes that he is proud to have such a confrere as a bishop. Castrillon noted, ““I rejoice to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and all the others bishops of the world, preferred prison rather than denouncing one of his sons, a priest.” Later in the letter, he compares the bishop to St. Paul who was in “chains for Christ”. Clearly Castrillon believed that it was better to protect the reputation of the accused priest (later convicted) and the institution of the Church than protect innocent, young lives from rapists. In his letter, written on Congregation for the Clergy stationary, Castrillon indicates a strong preference for the Church’s policy of “omerta” or silence and cover-up when it comes to handling priest abuse cases.