Vienna: Austria`s cardinal has said the former second-highest Vatican official blocked a probe into a sex abuse scandal that rocked the country`s Catholic Church 15 years ago.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn also accused Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the retired Vatican secretary of state, of causing "massive harm" to victims when he dismissed claims of clerical abuse as "petty gossip" on Easter Sunday.
Schoenborn`s recent comments to a select group of journalists were summarised by the Catholic news agency Kathpress.
Already on Palm Sunday, Schoenborn, a close confidante of Pope Benedict XVI, had indirectly blamed Sodano for blocking an investigation of sex abuse allegations against the late Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer.
The scandal surrounding the former Vienna archbishop broke in 1995 when a former student at a boy`s seminary in the town of Hollabrunn alleged that he abused him repeatedly in the early 1970s. Other accusations followed.
Groer stepped down shortly after the first allegations surfaced officially due to old age. He died in 2003 but never admitted any guilt.