Cardinal Angelo Sodano, longtime Vatican official, dies

The news agency reported that earlier this month, the cardinal was hospitalized with pneumonia after testing positive for Covid-19. For some time he was in poor health.

In a telegram sent to the cardinal’s sister on Saturday, Pope Francis expressed his condolences.

“I remember his hard work, along with many of my predecessors, who entrusted him with important duties in Vatican diplomacy, up to and including the delicate position of secretary of state,” Francis said.

Sodano was at the Vatican for a long time, serving two popes as Secretary of State and Dean of the College of Cardinals. He remained influential even in retirement.

But he faced serious criticism during the sexual abuse crisis in the church. In 2005, during a meeting with then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he reportedly asked her to intervene in a Kentucky sexual assault lawsuit in which the Vatican was named as the defendant. But she refused, National Catholic Reporter said at the time.

In later years, he was repeatedly pressured for downplaying the sexual assault or blocking investigations into the scandal.

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