"I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration," Castrillon Hoyos said. "You have acted well and I am pleased 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 and priest."
BISHOPS NOT REQUIRED TO INFORM POLICE
In it, the cardinal said relations between bishops and priests were not simply professional but had "very special links of spiritual paternity." Bishops therefore had no obligation to testify against "a direct relative," he stated.
The letter cited Vatican documents and an epistle of Saint Paul to bolster its argument about special bishop-priest links.
"To encourage brothers in the episcopate in this delicate domain, this Congregation will send copies of this letter to all bishops' conferences," Castrillon Hoyos wrote.
A staunch conservative from Colombia, the cardinal headed the Vatican department for priests from 1996 to 2006. From 2000 to 2009, he also ran a commission dealing with traditionalist rebels who broke from Rome in 1988 and were excommunicated.
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