April 08, 2005

Colombian cardinal known for his courage

Mercury News

Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia - In a country where dozens of priests have been killed for their straightforward talk, Cardinal Dario Castrillon has a reputation for courage and outspokenness.

Over the years, he has called on a Colombian president whose election campaign was financed by drug traffickers to step down, branded lawmakers bribed by traffickers a national disgrace and urged voters to reject another presidential candidate because he supported the right to divorce.

Castrillon, the 75-year-old head of the Vatican's office for priests, is among several Latin American cardinals considered a contender to become pope. In Pereira, a city in the coffee-growing region where he spent 22 years as a bishop, he is remembered as fearless in actions as well as words. ...

At a 2002 Vatican news conference, Castrillon blamed a culture of "pan-sexuality and sexual licentiousness" for some priests committing pedophilia and said formulas must be found to punish abusers that do not conflict with "fundamental principles of the church," leading some critics to wonder if the Vatican was taking the matter seriously enough.

In his home country, Castrillon is known for his blunt talk.

Posted by kshaw at April 8, 2005 11:37 AM