Cardinals' Accusers Fail to Appear in Court

Mexico Archdiocese Calls Claims a Mere Media Campaign

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MEXICO CITY, FEB. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Accusers' failure to appear in court in the case against Cardinals Norberto Rivera and Roger Mahony is another sign of the falsehood of the accusations, says the Mexican archdiocesan paper.



Mexican Cardinal Rivera has been accused by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) of concealing an alleged pederast priest who worked both in Mexico and in California. Los Angeles Cardinal Mahony was also implicated in the case, filed in September.

Last week a hearing was scheduled as part of the private prosecution initiated by SNAP against Cardinals Rivera and Mahony. The accusers did not attend the hearing.

Their absence "shows only one thing: They have no proof, their interest is not juridical but a media event and their intention is to wait for the primatial Archdiocese of Mexico to fall into their net of blackmail and extortion, something which will not happen," the archdiocesan paper said.

In an editorial in the weekly Desde la Fe, the Archdiocese of Mexico asserted that SNAP is trying to blackmail the Catholic Church.

According to the archdiocesan paper, Bernardo Fernández del Castillo, a lawyer working in the case, said that Church officials will shortly present documentary proof that the accusations are slander. He reiterated that the cardinal never concealed the priest, Nicolás Aguilar, whose current whereabouts are unknown.

"Cardinal Norberto Rivera has never hidden Father Aguilar from justice; neither has he concealed his whereabouts from the authorities or officials of the Church in Mexico or in California, and does not know his whereabouts," said the lawyer.

The archdiocesan paper stated that SNAP has no proof of its accusations, and spent six months organizing "a media campaign against Cardinal Rivera based on lies, contradictions and downright slander."