Title: Cardinal Angelo Sodano dead at 94
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State under Pope St. John Paul and Pope Benedict XVI, died Friday. The cardinal was 94 years old.Sodano was also dean of the College of Cardinals for nearly 15 years, the first cardinal to serve simultaneously as Secretary of State and dean of the college.
The cardinal impeded Vatican investigations into claims of sexual abuse against high-ranking clerics, and is widely reported to have defended or enabled some priests and bishops accused of serial sexual abuse, including former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Sodano’s death was first reported by Italian Vatican reporter Francesco Antonio Grana late Friday afternoon, and has been reported by other Italian media.
Born November 23, 1927 in northern Italy, Sodano was ordained a priest in 1950. He earned doctorates in theology and canon law while in formation for service in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps.
Sodano served in the 1970s and 1980s as apostolic nuncio to Chile, during much the period in which dictator Augusto Pinochet ruled the country. The cardinal was an ardent and sometimes outspoken supporter of Pinochet, despite the dictator’s human rights abuses, and was critical of Catholic-led protest movements against the Pinochet government.
The cardinal was also an active opponent of the liberation theology movement in Latin America, which was criticized heavily in the Vatican during the 1980s because its theology was said by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to draw from a Marxist social and anthropological framework.
In 1988, Pope John Paul II, appointed him to serve as the Vatican’s foreign minister, called formally the Secretary for Relations With States.
In 1990, Sodano was named Vatican Pro-Secretary of State and made a member of the College of Cardinals, formally taking over from his mentor Cardinal Agostino Casaroli and becoming Secretary of State the following year.