Mexican Cardinal Sergio Obeso Rivera said abuse victims should be “ashamed” to accuse “men of the Church.”
The newly-minted cardinal was speaking to a group of journalists on August 16, just days after the bombshell revelations out of Pennsylvania that some 300 members of the Church abused upwards of 1,000 children over the course of 70 years. This abuse was only possible, according the grand jury report, because of a Church-wide cover up that reached all the way to the Vatican.
“I’m here happy to talk about nice things, not about problematic things, it’s an accusation that is made, and in some cases it’s true,” Obeso River said. “But the evil of many is the consolation of fools, because sometimes those who accuse men of the Church should [be careful] because they have long tails that are easily stepped on.”
The comments could be interpreted as a threat, a threat of exposure if you accuse a priest with skeletons in your own closet.
The cardinal spoke to reporters in Spanish and one interpretation of his remarks reads, “those who accuse us should have a little pain.”
He did add that the allegations “make us feel bad and we want to improve.”
Obeso Rivera was appointed a cardinal by Pope Francis in late June.
The Church’s sex scandal also touched Obeso Rivera’s Mexico.
Father Marcial Maciel Dogollado was defrocked by Pope Benedict in 2006 after being found guilty by the Church of sexually abusing nine boys and young men. After he died, it was discovered he had fathered a child with one of his two mistresses and might have abused his own children. Dogollado died in Florida in 2008 at the age of 87.