From: <CEvans1950@aol.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 06:44:49 EDT

One can see that crime sure doesn't pay. You might get sent off to a fully fed, clothed and quite likely paid retirement. It's safe to guess that this molestor will have all sorts of obedient nuns washing his laundry and such.

Disgraced cardinal prayed for at Papal mass

ST POELTEN, Austria, June 20 (Reuters) - Austria's most conservative and unpopular bishop prayed for a disgraced cardinal exiled over a sex abuse scandal at the start of a Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul on Saturday.

Kurt Krenn, diocesan bishop of St Poelten, included Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer in his opening prayers as he welcomed the Pope to an open-air Mass on the second day of the Pontiff's visit to Austria.

Groer was forced to resign as Austria's top churchman in 1995 after being accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy 20 years earlier, charges which most of his fellow bishops now believe were substantially true.

Several monks and priests subsequently said they had also been the object of unwanted sexual advances from Groer. The ailing Groer, 78, was banished to a convent in eastern Germany last month and forbidden to carry out his functions as a churchman.

Krenn, the only one of Austria's bishops who has publicly defended Groer, said in his welcome address: "We include in our prayers our sick former bishop Dr Franz Zak and our Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer."

This drew applause from conservative Catholics in the congregation.

The Groer affair is the worst scandal ever to hit the Austrian Catholic church, prompting tens of thousands of people to leave in disgust.

Many Catholics blame the Pope, who appointed both Groer and Krenn to their posts, for failing to take action on the affair sooner and for never apologising to Groer's alleged victims.

Krenn's appointment in 1991 caused deep divisions in the diocese and 54,000 people have signed a petition calling for his removal.

Many Catholics, including monks at a local monastery, boycotted Saturday's Mass and around 50 people waved black balloons in protest as Pope John Paul arrived in St Poelten.

11:59 06-20-98

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.


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