Vatican Finally Suspends Priest Who Admitted Sex with Boys
By Brooks Egerton
Dallas Morning News
September 27, 2012
|Monsignor Cristobal Garcia on Easter Eve in 2004, before telling me that he had sex with boys. |
Roman Catholic Church leaders have changed their story about why an internationally prominent priest dropped out of sight this summer. Now they say that the Vatican ordered Monsignor Cristobal Garcia's suspension from ministry because of sexual abuse allegations, according to the Philippines' leading newspaper.
Earlier this week, Filipino church officials portrayed Garcia's absence as simply the result of health problems.
The new announcement coincides with a National Geographic story about the black market in elephant tusks. It quotes Garcia as giving advice on smuggling ivory icons and refers to my 2005 article on him — in which the priest admitted having sex with U.S. altar boys, providing them drugs and fleeing to the Philippines.
It isn't clear why Garcia stayed in ministry after the admission. He continued to lead a large group of boys at a rural religious compound and oversaw worship practices for the massive Cebu Archdiocese. Among his international credentials: He led his cardinal's advance team in Rome when Pope John Paul II declared a Filipino sainthood candidate to be blessed.
Now he also could face legal troubles because of his smuggling comments, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports today.