DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis ordered Vatican officials to end an investigation into abuse allegations against a cardinal who helped get him elected.
According to LifeSiteNews, Cdl. Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster is accused of participating in the sexual abuse of an underaged girl alongside notorious pedophile priest Fr. Michael Hill. The victim was 13 or 14 years old at the time of her abuse by Fr. Hill and others.
In the early 2000s, she reached a settlement with the diocese of Arundel and Brighton for £40,000 (at the current exchange rate, about $50,000 U.S.). Though she has not gone public with the allegations, the victim was in contact with Church officials for more than a decade following the diocese's settlement.
The victim filed a complaint with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The CDF then opted for an investigation into Cdl. Murphy-O'Connor. According to Vatican expert Marco Tossati, Pope Francis shot down the CDF's investigation in June 2013, just a couple of months into his papacy.
Last year, Tossati recounted in First Things how the Pope demanded to meet with Cdl. Gerhard Müller, then head of the CDF, in June 2013 to quash a dossier about an ally of his. The Pope had Cdl. Müller's secretary pull the cardinal away from offering Mass to meet with him:
The cardinal was celebrating Mass in the church attached to the congregation palace, for a group of German students and scholars. His secretary joined him at the altar: "The pope wants to speak to you." "Did you tell him I am celebrating Mass?" asked Müller. "Yes," said the secretary, "but he says he does not mind — he wants to talk to you all the same." The cardinal went to the sacristy. The pope, in a very bad mood, gave him some orders about a dossier concerning one of his friends, a cardinal.
At the time of the article's publication last year, Tossati did not know who this "friend" of the Pope was. But now, in an article published Monday, he says an inside source told him that this was indeed Cdl. Murphy-O'Connor.
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor died in September 2017.
In an interview in 2003, Cdl. Murphy-O'Connor argued that the priest sex abuse scandal had little to do with homosexuality, saying, "It does seem to be established that the question of child abuse has nothing at all to do with homosexuality."
He went on to voice his support for ordaining homosexual men to the priesthood, saying, "The Church must judge the people who are ordained on what kind of person they are, not their sexuality."
In October 2014, the BBC reported that Cdl. Murphy-O'Connor was the subject of a police investigation for failing to report on Fr. Hill's alleged sexual abuse of numerous children. A notorious pedophile priest, Fr. Hill served two prison sentences for charges of sexually abusing minors. He is accused of abusing about 30 boys over the course of several decades.
When Murphy-O'Connor was head of the Arundel-Brighton diocese, he allegedly shuffled Fr. Hill around to various parishes and other appointments. At one point, he assigned the predator priest to an airport chapel, where Hill allegedly assaulted a boy with special needs who had missed his flight.
Murphy-O'Connor has been accused of paying hush money to victims of Fr. Hill, making them sign nondisclosure agreements to bar them from making the sex abuse allegations public. There are even allegations that, in 2003, he arranged for a junior bishop to offer some £50,000 to Hill while he was in prison to buy Hill's silence after his release.
Father Hill is not the only alleged pederast priest that Cdl. Murphy-O'Connor is accused of protecting. As LifeSite points out, there is also the case of Fr. Tim Garrett in the diocese of Portsmouth, who stood accused of taking indecent photographs of young boys in the 1980s. Murphy-O'Connor, then bishop of Arundel-Brighton, allowed Fr. Garrett to be transferred into his diocese.
After he was appointed to the diocese of Westminster in 2000 — making him the leading prelate of England and Wales — Cdl. Murphy-O'Connor began an overhaul on child safety programs.