VATICAN CITY -- A retired Vatican cardinal said the late Pope John Paul II had approved his congratulatory letter to a French bishop who refused to report a sexually abusive priest to police.
Spanish newspapers reported that Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos told an audience at a Catholic university in Murcia, Spain, April 16 that he consulted with Pope John Paul and showed him the letter. He said the pope had authorized him to send the letter to bishops worldwide.
Cardinal Castrillon's letter resurfaced recently in the coverage of recent disclosures of sexual abuse by priests. He wrote it in 2001, when he was head of the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy.
"I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration," Cardinal Castrillon wrote to Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux. "You have acted well and I am happy to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all other bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son, a priest."