Viganò’s accusations: What we know and what questions they raise
Late Saturday night, an 11-page letter attributed to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was published by the National Catholic Register, Life Site News and a number of other sites that report about the church. In it, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States under Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis makes a number of allegations about how Vatican and U.S. cardinals, as well as Pope Francis and previous popes, handled allegations of sexual misconduct against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He also calls on Pope Francis to resign.
On Sunday morning, Archbishop Viganò confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but he told The Washington Post he would not comment further.
Asked about the letter during his press conference while returning to Rome from Ireland, Pope Francis confirmed that he had read it but refused to respond to it in detail, telling the journalists on the plane, “Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this.” He also said they had the “journalistic capacity” to draw their own conclusions and that once some time has passed, he may speak further in response.
Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this.
What the archbishop alleges
The letter alleges that the Vatican was made aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by then-Archbishop McCarrick as early as 2000. He says that high-ranking church officials turned a blind eye to his reports that then-Cardinal McCarrick should be removed from ministry, until 2009 or 2010, when, he alleges, Pope Benedict XVI sanctioned the cardinal, who by then had retired as archbishop of Washington, D.C. He alleges that Pope Francis lifted those sanctions in 2013, despite him verbally informing Francis about then-Cardinal McCarrick’s dossier and Benedict’s restrictions of his ministry.
Archbishop Viganò also says that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then-Cardinal McCarrick’s successor in Washington, knew about the penalties imposed on the former cardinal McCarrick, and thus charges that Cardinal Wuerl is lying when he says he did not know about his predecessor’s alleged behavior.
The letter also alleges that Archbishop McCarrick played “kingmaker” under Francis, responsible for the appointments of Cardinal Blase Cupich to the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Tobin to the Archdiocese of Newark and Bishop Robert McElroy to the Diocese of San Diego.
The archbishop also devotes a number of pages to what he alleges is a “homosexual network” in the church, which he blames for the church’s continued sexual abuse crisis and cover up.
Here’s what he doesn’t allege
In this instance, what Archbishop Viganò does not allege is nearly as important as what he does. He does not say that Pope Francis knew about allegations that Archbishop McCarrick sexually abused a minor. That allegation is what eventually caused the pope to remove the former cardinal from ministry in June, after a review board in the Archdiocese of New York found the allegations to be credible and substantiated. Archbishop McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals in July.
In this instance, what Archbishop Viganò does not allege is nearly as important as what he does. He does not say that Pope Francis knew about allegations that Archbishop McCarrick sexually abused a minor.
Why some people find it credible
Archbishop Viganò held an important post in the church, representing the Holy See to the United States under two popes. He would have known intimately the inner workings of the U.S. church and he would have been in touch with leaders of the church here and in Rome on a regular basis. He says in his letters that all his allegations can be confirmed by memos and files kept at the nunciature, or the Vatican’s embassy, in Washington. The allegations in the letter are detailed, including dates and quotes, which some have suggested indicate that the archbishop took careful notes that he used in what he called his “testimony.”
Others note that Pope Francis’ handling of sexual abuse allegations in the church have been lacking, pointing to the lack of progress made by his own sexual abuse commission, the doubts he expressed toward victims of clerical sexual abuse in Chile and the lack of urgency on the part of the pope to implement new procedures for holding bishops accountable. They say the charges laid out in Archbishop Viganò’s letter fit this pattern.
Why others are skeptical
Some Catholics have expressed skepticism about charges in the letter for different reasons.
For one, Archbishop Viganò has a checkered history when it comes to sex abuse in the church. When Archbishop John Nienstedt, the former head of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul who was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, was accused of mishandling sexual abuse claims, Archbishop Viganò, who was then the pope’s representative to the United States, used his office to quash an inquiry into the allegations once investigators discovered charges of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Nienstedt, who eventually resigned.
Others say that one of the central claims of the letter, that Pope Benedict placed sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick, which were kept secret, that were later lifted by Pope Francis, does not hold up. According to Archbishop Viganò, who says he learned about them from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the sanctions were placed in 2009 or 2010. Initial reporting by the National Catholic Register said that the retired pope remembers ordering the sanctions but not their exact nature. But Cardinal McCarrick continued to keep a public profile during Benedict’s pontificate.
Others say that one of the central claims of the letter, that Pope Benedict placed sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick, which were kept secret, that were later lifted by Pope Francis, does not hold up.
In 2011, he celebrated Mass and preached publicly, including an ordination in June and again in October at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. He also testified before the U.S. Congress, he appeared on Meet The Press, and he also accepted at least two awards.
The following year, then-Cardinal McCarrick accompanied other U.S. bishops to a meeting in January with Pope Benedict at the Vatican. During the same trip, he concelebrated Mass with Cardinal Wuerl and the other U.S. bishops at the tomb of St. Peter. In April, then-Cardinal McCarrick was back in Rome, part of a delegation from The Papal Foundation to wish Pope Benedict a happy birthday.
Cardinal McCarrick was even present at Pope Benedict’s final meeting with the cardinals in 2013 before he stepped down; the pair are seen shaking hands.
In May of 2013, just two months after Francis was elected pope, Archbishop Viganò concelebrated a Mass, along with Cardinal McCarrick and Cardinal Wuerl, before The Catholic University of America’s Annual Cardinals’ Dinner, hosted by the school’s president, John Garvey.
Still others have pointed to Archbishop’s Viganò’s perceived hostility toward Pope Francis, noting that the pope recalled the archbishop from his post in 2016. The decision came after the Vatican decided Archbishop Viganò had become too enmeshed in U.S. culture wars, particularly regarding same-sex marriage: He arranged the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, the former Kentucky clerk who refused to sign a marriage certificate for a same-sex couple, blindsiding the pope during his 2015 U.S. visit.
The timing of the letter’s release has also raised questions. It was made available early to news outlets in the United States and Italy known for their opposition to Pope Francis and its timing,in the midst of Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families and on the eve of his return journey to Rome, seemed designed to force the pope to confront the allegations during his customary in-flight press conference.
Archbishop Viganò has also not explained why he did not make his grave concerns about then-Cardinal McCarrick’s behavior known publicly sooner.
The claims that then-Cardinal McCarrick acted as “kingmaker” may also be overblown, according to some church experts. David Gibson, director of Fordham's Center on Religion and Culture who formerly covered the Vatican as a journalist, told America that this claim seemed to be “highly exaggerated because it serves Viganò’s purposes,” but noted that it may also reflect “McCarrick’s sense of his own influence and importance.” He said that while it is true that Archbishop McCarrick shared many of Francis’ priorities and had some influence, “there were many other people with more influence, particularly with regard to the selection of bishops.”
How victims of abuse and advocates are reacting
Peter Isely, a survivor of abuse, told The New York Times that the letter appears to be about church politics. “This is infighting between curia factions that are exploiting the abuse crisis and victims of clergy sexual abuse as leverage in the struggle for church power,” he said. “The sexual abuse crisis is not about whether a bishop is a liberal or a conservative. It is about protecting children.”
This is infighting between curia factions that are exploiting the abuse crisis and victims of clergy sexual abuse as leverage in the struggle for church power.
The advocacy group Bishop Accountability did not say Francis should resign but hoped the letter would encourage the pope to take more concrete actions on sex abuse. It also took issue with Archbishop Viganò for implying the issue of sexual abuse has been mismanaged by progressive bishops. “Both liberal and orthodox bishops have covered up the abuse crisis, just as both liberal and orthodox priests have abused children, often using their respective ideologies as cover and even as tools of seduction,” the group said, according the The National Catholic Reporter.
Marie Collins, a survivor of abuse who previously served on the Vatican’s sexual abuse commission, told The National Catholic Reporter that Francis condemned Archbishop McCarrick during a private meeting with her and other victims in Ireland over the weekend but added, “I've no idea if what is in [the] letter [is] true or not."
How some people named in the report are reacting
Three of the central characters in the report—Pope Francis, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop McCarrick—are still living, but none has yet weighed in on the specific charges. During his flight from Ireland to Rome, Pope Francis said he may comment on the allegations in the letter at some point in the future, but he urged journalists to “read the statement carefully and make your own judgment.”
Among others named in the report, a spokesman for Cardinal Donald Wuerl denies the charges in the report. Ed McFadden told The Post, “Cardinal Wuerl did not receive any documentation or information during his time in Washington regarding any actions taken against” the former archbishop.
On Aug. 27, the Archdiocese of Washington reiterated in a press release that Cardinal Wuerl did not receive information from Archbishop Viganòo about sanctions placed on then-Cardinal McCormick.
“Archbishop Viganò at no time provided Cardinal Wuerl any information about an alleged document from Pope Benedict XVI with directives of any sort from Rome regarding Archbishop McCarrick,” the statement reads.
The archdiocese also called for an investigation into Archbishop Viganò’s time as the pope’s representative in the United States, saying that the only way Cardinal Wuerl would have known to remove his predecessor from ministry was with information from the former nuncio.
“Perhaps the starting point for a serene and objective review of this testimony is the inclusion of Archbishop Viganò’s tenure as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in the mandate of the Apostolic Visitation already called for by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,” the statement continues, referring to a request to the Vatican from U.S. bishops earlier this month for an investigation of allegations of mismanagement in the case of Archbishop McCarrick.
Cardinal DiNardo released a statement on Monday as well, saying he convened the bishops conference executive committee on Sunday to discuss the latest allegations.
“The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination,” Cardinal DiNardo said, adding that he is seeking an audience with Pope Francis. “The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.”
Two other U.S. cardinals named in the letter also weighed in, calling the allegations untrue.
Cardinal Cupich released a statement on Sunday calling the letter “astonishing” and correcting what he said are factual errors. He points to Archbishop Viganò’s claim that he was appointed to the Vatican body that chooses bishops “right after he was made a cardinal,” but notes he was appointed to the Congregation for Bishops in July 2016 and that he was not named a cardinal until October. He called for a “thorough vetting” of the claims made in the letter.
Cardinal Tobin also discounted the allegations in the letter, saying in a statement on Aug. 27 that they “cannot be understood as contributing to the healing of survivors of sexual abuse.”
The statement said the letter is filled with “factual errors, innuendo and fearful ideology.” It said the church pledges to “move ahead resolutely” in its efforts to protect children and to break down the “structures and culture that enable abuse.”
“Together with Pope Francis, we are confident that scrutiny of the claims of the former nuncio will help establish the truth,” the statement says.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia commented via his spokesperson to the New York Times that Archbishop Viganò’s service as nuncio had been “marked by integrity to the church” but said that he could not comment on the letter as it was “beyond his personal experience.” Though he is not named explicitly in the letter, Archbishop Viganò alleges in the letter that Pope Francis spoke negatively of Archbishop Chaput as someone too ideological to be an effective bishop.
Questions remain unanswered
The archbishop has so far refused to speak to the press about the allegations in his letter, other than to confirm that he wrote it, so a number of questions remain. Most urgently, did Francis know about allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against then-Cardinal McCarrick but nonetheless urge him to act as a global diplomat? If so, why?
Most urgently, did Francis know about allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against then-Cardinal McCarrick, but nonetheless urge him to act as a global diplomat? If so, why?
Also, why did then-Cardinal McCarrick continue his public ministry throughout Benedict’s papacy if the former pope had sanctioned the D.C. archbishop? What, if anything, was Francis told specifically about the allegations facing then-Cardinal McCarrick? Is Cardinal Wuerl telling the truth when he says he was not aware of the allegations against his predecessor and that he was unaware of the alleged sanctions imposed on him by Rome?
There are further questions about the exact nature of the sanctions imposed by Benedict on then-Cardinal McCarrick. The National Catholic Register reported that it had “independently confirmed that the allegations against McCarrick were certainly known to Benedict, and the Pope Emeritus remembers instructing Cardinal Bertone to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.” Since the Register does not claim that it was Benedict himself who confirmed issuing the sanctions, who knew of these sanctions and remembers their nature, and whether details of them were documented and available to Francis, remain open questions.
America staff contributed to this report.
Correction (Aug. 26, 2018): Pope Emeritus Benedict's inability to remember the specific nature of the sanctions was mistakenly described as being included in Archbishop Viganò’s letter; it was instead revealed in initial reporting on the letter. Pope Benedict's final meeting with the cardinals before he stepped down was mistakenly described as his final general audience. We regret the errors.
This article was updated on Aug. 27, 2018 at 2:53 p.m. ET to include statements from U.S. cardinals and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"I will not say a single word." I hope that the Pope or his spokespersons will respond soon. Perhaps he would if Fr. Martin asked nicely.
Even if they won't talk, evidence is coming out.
There is corroborating evidence about the timing and abruptness of McCarrick's move out of the seminary in DC, which corresponds to the timeline given in Vigano's letter.
The Vatican appears to have cut the meat of the video showing when he first met Vigano, but the verbiage up to the cut matches what was said. Also, there would be no reason for the cut if it wasn't so sensitive, so that matches the narrative, at least. I'd really like it if an uncut video was released by the Vatican, but apparently they didn't want it to come out.
the truth is now becoming clearer, after journalists have started to do what Pope Francis suggested, on Vigano’s dark and secret past on obstructing investigations of clerical abuse.
“Questions still surround papal accuser’s role in Neinstedt probe, Aug 31, 2018”
“Viganò is reported to have followed up the Washington meetings with a call to Piché, encouraging him to “wrap up” the investigation. Griffith goes on to note in his memo that the nuncio ordered the auxiliaries to end the investigation and no longer pursue further leads - despite the fact some 24 new leads remained to be interviewed by the outside counsel.
In turn, Piché and Cozzens responded to Viganò with a letter expressing their disagreement with the directive to shut down the investigation and noting that it would be seen as a cover-up. According to the Griffith memo, Viganò responded to that letter with a request that it be destroyed.
“The destruction of evidence is a crime under federal law and state law, and the fact that this request was made of you by a papal representative to the United States is most distressing,” wrote Griffith to Piché.”
The Pope tells reporters to do their jobs. Calling Fr. Martin, Fr. Reese, Fr, McDermott, Fr. Malone.
“Archbishop Georg Gänswein, private secretary of Benedict XVI, has rejected the claim that the emeritus Pope has confirmed the allegations of former Vatican diplomat Carlo Viganò. "Pope Benedict has not commented on the 'memorandum' of Archbishop Viganò and will not do so," Gänswein told the newspaper. The claim that the emeritus Pope had confirmed the statements lacked any foundation. "Fake news!" Says Gänswein.
EWTN board member claimed that Benedict had confirmed allegations
The archbishop refers to a New York Times report citing a board member of the American news channel "EWTN," Timothy Bush. According to him, the emeritus Pope confirmed the allegations made in Viganò's letter.”
“Facts and omissions of Viganò’s testimony against Francis
A lucid reading of the former nuncio’s statement requesting the Pontiff’s resignation and its contradictory conclusions”
There you go Skip. Put away your sword, club and pitchfork. Start acting holy and catholic
Bill - It is of course understandable that Pope Benedict XVI will not get into this mess. Do you have a link to an article where Timothy Bush said he did? I cannot find it, just the NYT saying he did. But, there are now 2 witnesses that McCarrick was sanctioned: 1) Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, was first Counsellor of the Nunciature in Washington and Chargé d'Affaires ad interim after the unexpected death of Nuncio Pietro Sambi. He refused to give CNA an interview but confirmed “Viganò said the truth. That’s all.” 2) A priest in St. Thomas the Apostle parish confirms McCarrick moved into his rectory a few months after the sanction, and further suspicious details. And, this 3rd peice of information - a document that supports Archbishop Vigano's position on Archbishop Nienstedt. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/
1) Viganò directly cites Msgr. Lantheaume as having told him about the encounter, following his arrival in D.C to replace Sambi as nuncio in 2011.
Apparently, he witnessed a stormy conversation, lasting over an hour, that Nuncio Sambi had with Cardinal McCarrick whom he had summoned to the Nunciature. Monsignor Lantheaume told me that ‘the Nuncio’s voice could be heard all the way out in the corridor."
2) Vigano claims Pope BXVI explicitly included an order to “leave the seminary where he was living” in his 2008 sanction. He moved from Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Seminary to the rectory of St. Thomas the Apostle in Woodley Park. A priest there has said he was told he would have to move out of his rooms in the parish to accommodate a “mystery VIP.” “It was all very sudden,” the priest told CNA. “I was moved around but given another room in the rectory.” The priest was later informed by the parish pastor that it was McCarrick moving in, that Cardinal Wuerl had ordered it, and that his arrival caused considerable upheaval. “There was significant construction to create his suite, which took over two prior suites and two full baths, as well as the single guest room next to me which was converted into a private chapel for McCarrick’s exclusive use.” The construction apparently continued during the first two months of 2009, with Cardinal McCarrick moving in either late February or early March.” So, who arranged and paid for this? More suspicious, McCarrick in 2010 moved to the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) on the property of St. John Baptist de la Salle in Chillum, MD, and had “for a time, an IVE brother in formation living in his residence, which was on the parish property but separate from the house of formation. At least two members of the IVE served as assistants to the archbishop emeritus between 2014 and 2018.” http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/where-did-cardinal-mccarrick-live-…
Tim, please be a good chap and supply some scholarly Catholic links. Sorry but conservative websites don't persuade anyone to act on data, much like you wouldn't use, as a "physician", the National Enquirer or CNN to treat UTI, right?
Meanwhile, please enlighten us on the following scandal:
Ex-Vatican judge takes plea bargain on molestation, child pornography charges
Where was Raymond Burke during this fiasco of this conservative Judge on the Vatican Court doing these terrible things?
Birds of a feather, and all that, just like Vigano insinuates with regard to US Cardinals, Pope Francis and the feeble Benedict XVI and deceased St John Paul II
We will await for your well documented links detailing Burke's whereabouts, action and so forth
Guillermo - This isn't a time for blinders. Go wherever the evidence surfaces, left, center or right. The article you link to mentions 3 clerics accused of homosexual liaisons, some criminal (Monsignor Jurist Alberto Capella, Monsignor Pietro Amenta & Archbishop Józef Wesołowski). It certainly seems as more evidence for a lavender mafia at work in the Vatican. If your charge is that Cardinal Burke knowingly hired a homosexual priest, that would certainly be news. But, the crime Capella was convicted of occurred 3 years after Burke was fired by Pope Francis, who replaced him with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, and made him a Cardinal a year later. Do you have any other information or are you just trying to distract me from the crisis of the day?
Tim this isnt a time for disregarding facts. Vigano is using guilt by association with his hit piece on numerous Bishops and the Pope, and understandably you bristle at the facts that Burke worked with Monsignor Amenta for years on the Vatican Court. Amenta is the subject of the article, not Capella.
“According to reports, Amenta has previously faced charges of obscenity in 1991 and sexual molestation in 2004, though neither of those charges led to convictions.”
Burke knew this. They both worked side by side: Amenta in the Roman Rota, Burke in the Apostolic Signatura.
“In 2013, Amenta himself made a complaint to police of being robbed by two transsexuals” (Aventa is homophobic self-loathing homosexual)
“Based on reports in the Italian media, 55-year-old Monsignor Pietro Amenta was detained by police after an incident in March 2017, in which Amenta allegedly fondled the genitals of a young but over-age Romanian man in a Roman market. The man reportedly then followed Amenta and summoned police, who took Amenta into custody.“
“Amenta is one of 22 “auditors,” or judges, of the Roman Rota, and was appointed to the position by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in 2012.”...“From 1996 to 2012, Amenta also served as an official of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.”
Raymond Burke was Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from June 2008 until November 2014.
He knew Amenta all too well
Be honest, Tim, you are a cafeteria Catholic. You pick and choose Bishops, Popes and Church Traditions given your constant casting of aspersions on Pope Francis just like Vigano and Burke
Guill - You doth protest too much. I do not bristle. I said "Go wherever the evidence surfaces, left, center or right." Let's agree that if Cardinal Burke, or Vigano, or Cupich, or Tobin, or Wuerl, or any bishop, knowingly enabled or covered for some other cleric to commit sex abuse should resign. If any Bishop has been sexually active since their consecration, they should resign. No exceptions. left, right and center. They can go to confession and, if repentant, they can be forgiven. They just cannot do the episcopal job anymore. These might be extraordinarily strict measures, but we live in an extraordinary time, and half measures will not do. Let's see if Pope Francis is the leader of the reform.
"You doth protest too much."
Tim, you are the one doing all of the protesting while I am defending the Catholic Church.
Suggestion: be holy. Let Pope Francis (he's the Vicar of Christ, in case you forgot) govern the Church.
Since you broached the subject of protesting, take a break from the internet. Your comments account for a substantial amount of traffic on these pages. Disconnect. Engage the People of God in your neighborhood, your parish, your streets, your parks. Feed, clothe, wash, heal, visit, comfort, etc
If you do these acts of charity, you will have no time nor energy for frequent commenting on America Magazine.
The Holy Spirit is with us. If you believe it then live it.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
Thanks for the advice. Glad to see you love the Church. I do too. It is beautiful and holy, even though filled with sinners, great and small, all of us included. Cardinal Blase Cupich yesterday said on NBC: “The Pope has a bigger agenda. He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment.... See the following satire: "Pope Says He Will Address Sex Abuse Scandal Once He’s Finished Talking About Climate Change" https://www.americamagazine.org/comment/reply/node/230965/comment/105844
Lantheaume supports Vigano’s account. Tobin and Cupich contradict it. Whom, if anyone, is the man in the street supposed to believe ? And why ?
Bishops outside of USA support the Pope but less than 5 Bishops in the USA support Vigano.
The secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has called Vigano’s letter “rubbish”.
““[Benedict] has never seen the document that was published,” Gänswein told the Italian news agency Ansa. “He’s never read it, and he has not endorsed it. It’s all rubbish.”
The entire case against Francis that Viganò lays out rests on the existence of a secret sanction against McCarrick that no one has ever heard of before and has not been confirmed by anyone in a position to know. And Viganò concelebrates Mass with this person? C’mon. This is weak screenwriting even by Hollywood standards. The Pope Emeritus could clear this up in a heartbeat and he should.
Edward - Too late. A second person (who probably wishes he wasn't involved) just confirmed the sanction against McCarrick. Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, was first Counsellor of the Nunciature in Washington and Chargé d'Affaires ad interim after the unexpected death of Nuncio Pietro Sambi. He refused to give CNA an interview but confirmed “Viganò said the truth. That’s all.”
Viganò directly cites Msgr. Lantheaume as having told him about the encounter, following his arrival in D.C to replace Sambi as nuncio in 2011.
Apparently, he witnessed a stormy conversation, lasting over an hour, that Nuncio Sambi had with Cardinal McCarrick whom he had summoned to the Nunciature. Monsignor Lantheaume told me that ‘the Nuncio’s voice could be heard all the way out in the corridor."
Good. People’s feet need to be held to the fire. Glad to hear that at least some yelling is going on!!! Or went on. Pope Francis, I hope, knows how to raise his voice, as well. He better be doing it now!
Edward - another piece of corroborating evidence for McCarrick's 2008 sanction, which explicitly included an order to “leave the seminary where he was living.” He moved from Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Seminary to the rectory of St. Thomas the Apostle in Woodley Park. A priest there has said he was told he would have to move out of his rooms in the parish to accommodate a “mystery VIP.” “It was all very sudden,” the priest told CNA. “I was moved around but given another room in the rectory.” The priest was later informed by the parish pastor that it was McCarrick moving in, that Cardinal Wuerl had ordered it, and that his arrival caused considerable upheaval. “There was significant construction to create his suite, which took over two prior suites and two full baths, as well as the single guest room next to me which was converted into a private chapel for McCarrick’s exclusive use.” The construction apparently continued during the first two months of 2009, with Cardinal McCarrick moving in either late February or early March.” So, who arranged and paid for this?
More suspicious, McCarrick in 2010 moved to the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) on the property of St. John Baptist de la Salle in Chillum, MD, and had “for a time, an IVE brother in formation living in his residence, which was on the parish property but separate from the house of formation. At least two members of the IVE served as assistants to the archbishop emeritus between 2014 and 2018.” Who are these brothers? Can they be interviewed? How could Wuerl not know of these 2 moves in his diocese? Did he not have to give approvals? Why is the Washington Archdiocese refusing to answer questions like these? http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/where-did-cardinal-mccarrick-live-after-alleged-vatican-sanctions
Tim, you have told us you are a physician. You would do well to start looking at the facts, instead of cherry picking your sources
“Distorted facts and logics”
“Not only should we ask ourselves if what Viganò tells is true (as the media repeat like a mantra, asking in a loud voice for Francis’ resignation). One should also wonder whether the sequence described by Viganò, his considerations, his omissions, his interpretations are reasonable and really lead to attributing some responsibility to the reigning Pontiff today. In any case, the pure and crude facts, and assuming that every detail told by the former nuncio is true, here is what happened. There is a holy Pope whose entourage (much less holy) promoted and made cardinal a homosexual bishop who abused his power to sleep with seminarians, even if it is not clear how much information had reach directly the ear of John Paul II, then perfectly capable of understanding and willing, to whom certainly could not pass unnoticed the importance of the appointment of the Archbishop of Washington. There is another Pope who has emerged today, Benedict, who (perhaps) would have ordered this cardinal to live withdrawn but without then being able to enforce his orders, who never flinched not even after seeing him arrive at the Vatican on several occasions, and without his nuncio to the USA (Viganò) having any problem in taking pictures next to him, in concelebrating with him, in having dinner with him, in pronouncing speeches in his presence. And finally, there is a Pope, Francis, who stripped the cardinal - despite being old and retired for some time – from his cardinal status after having reduced him to silence, forbidding him from celebrating in public. And yet it was of the latter’s head that the former nuncio today indignant is asking for, probably only because Francis had “dared” to appoint in the United States some bishop who are less conservative than those previously appointed, when it was cardinals like Bernard Law who advised on the American appointments. That it is a biased operation, it is evident to anyone who reflects on the succession of events, without the need to revisit information that tends to discredit the figure of Viganò.”
Bill - I'm doing my best to keep up with the accounts. I don't know if Vigano is telling the whole truth or misreading parts, but it seems to me he believes his is and has sworn an oath that would be very dangerous for a 77-year old man who believes in Hell. He also has provided many dates, details and documents that can be proven or disproved. This account you post above does not attempt to disprove any specifics, just appeal to the sentiment of the reader. So, look for individuals to support or weaken accounts, and substantiating documents. Rod Dreher seems to have the most information. I list these details above in my comments, the 2 witnesses to the sanctions, and supporting documents. I hope Pope Francis comes out OK from this but I think it vitally important that we get to the bottom of these charges. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/
If Pope Benedict imposed sanctions on McCarrick, but didn't publish them, did he really sanction him?
If your boss tells you to avoid interacting with a specific customer because of past conflict, and doesn't tell the customer of that ban, was it really a ban? If you ignore your boss and interact with the customer anyway, and your boss doesn't fire you publicly, does that say you never had any conflict or that your boss was too weak to fire you?
From what we know about Pope Benedict's resignation, it is clear that at 85 years old he felt too weak to handle the problems facing the Church.
I don't know, but it's exactly what he did with Marcial Maciel. Because he sanctioned him privately, Maciel's defenders were completely convinced that Maciel had taken on a private life of prayer on his own, right up until his side families showed up.
So it's certainly not inconsistent with at least one other case from BXVI's era.
Very typical defense of the indefensible, attack the messenger,ignore the message.
"He does not say that Pope Francis knew about allegations that Archbishop McCarrick sexually abused a minor." but what has that to do with further charges of his abuse of seminarians.
Perhaps the following excerpt from Archbishop Vigano's letter has upset America magazine:
"These characters are closely associated with individuals belonging in particular to the deviated wing of the Society of Jesus, unfortunately today a majority, which had already been a cause of serious concern to Paul VI and subsequent pontiffs. We need only consider Father Robert Drinan, S.J., who was elected four times to the House of Representatives, and was a staunch supporter of abortion; or Father Vincent O’Keefe, S.J., one of the principal promoters of The Land O’Lakes Statement of 1967, which seriously compromised the Catholic identity of universities and colleges in the United States. It should be noted that McCarrick, then President of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, also participated in that inauspicious undertaking which was so harmful to the formation of the consciences of American youth, closely associated as it was with the deviated wing of the Jesuits.
Father James Martin, S.J., acclaimed by the people mentioned above, in particular Cupich, Tobin, Farrell and McElroy, appointed Consultor of the Secretariat for Communications, well-known activist who promotes the LGBT agenda, chosen to corrupt the young people who will soon gather in Dublin for the World Meeting of Families, is nothing but a sad recent example of that deviated wing of the Society of Jesus."
I would like to see the proof that B16 actually did anything to sanction McCarrick. This scandal predates Francis by many decades, but now he is the one being blamed. Francis is trying to reform the curia, but the curia (which according to Vigano, operated as it willed under the last two popes) does not want to be reformed. Buckle up folks.
Is Francis really trying to reform the Curia? He has killed or slow-rolled many of the reform efforts begun under earlier popes. The man leading the Vatican bank was investigated for embezzlement by the Italian courts (Cardinal Calcagno), and Francis kept him in charge until the normal retirement age of 75. His replacement was a bishop with no experience or track record in financial reform (a toothless tiger at best, a corrupt collaborator at worst). The Vatican bank's first auditor general (Libero Milone) says that he was forced out after finding evidence of possible criminal activity. Papal Foundation board members quit when they found Francis had requested massive donations to a mafia-associated hospital in Rome instead of their normal smaller grants to poverty-stricken third world recipients.
The Pope rolled back restrictions on several child abusing priests that Benedict had defrocked, including the infamous Fr. Inzoli (friend of papal advisor Cardinal Coccopalmerio) who was later convicted of child molestation. Cardinal Cocco not only requested that Inzoli be reinstated, but his personal secretary had to resign after the police were called to a drug-fueled sex orgy replete with roasted chestnuts. Of course, Cocco had recommended the man for promotion to bishop in spite of his having previous drug overdoses.
Peter Saunders was removed and Marie Collins quit a papal commission to investigate the sex abuse scandals. Not only were Vatican agencies resistant to requests for information, the commission wasn't even given office space or a budget. How's that for taking the scandals seriously? Then, the commission's mandate expired in December 2017, and the Pope didn't bother to reinstate the commission until mid February 2018.
Yes, this pope is sure doing a lot to clean things up.
I simply do not trust allegations from a conservative American culture warrior. They have a solid history of dishonesty, and seem to believe that there can be no sin of their own when pursuing what they believe is a righteous cause. Like most zealots.
Guilty and untruthful by reason of assumed group membership. Very convincing, especially since Vignao is the epitomy of an red, white and blue American conservative.
alas Danny, we are Catholic first and foremost. Being “red, white and blue American conservatism” is not a virtue nor honorable thing, no more than being a “red, white and blue American liberal”.
Be deeply Catholic, Danny, and with that you will be honorable and lead a virtuous life
Bill, I think you are struggling to recognize sarcasm. The original post called Vigano a "conservative American culture warrior." He's Italian, and likely a social democrat in favor of nationalized healthcare, etc. Trying to map him onto the American political scene is naive at best.
You do realize that Vigano is not American at all, right?
What in our experience of Francis would lead us to the conclusion that he would deliberately hurt the Church or mislead the faithful in matters so delicate and tragic as those related to the sex abuse scandal? He has admitted his own mistakes and shortcomings with respect to the situation in Chile. There have been no reports of misconduct on his part in all the years he served in Argentina. What then would lead us to think that he would do anything to bring disgrace upon the Church?
What in our experience with Vigano would lead us to believe he would embarrass the Church in any way? Plenty. His cover up of Nienstedt's actions in Minneapolis-St. Paul and his blindsiding of the Pope by inviting Kim Davis in for an "audience" to name just two that we know about. This man's venom is cloaked in scarlet robes, but those robes do not cover his naked lust for power in a Church that should be devoid of such behavior in its leaders. No, he has much to answer for, this letter being but the latest example. Coming from the man who orchestrated the Davis blindside and who squashed the Nienstedt scandal, it is no wonder that we are skeptical. The only wonder is why we listen to him at all.
Some additional info that may help, from the Associated Press, https://apnews.com/ad7d52030c90472eafeacef7ba2d9d39/Letter:-Vatican-knew-about-disgraced-archbishop's-behavior
"In a statement provided to the AP Sunday about the Nienstedt case, Vigano said a Vatican investigation of the allegation found no wrongdoing on his part.
"He said the allegation that he destroyed evidence was false and that his efforts to have the archdiocese correct the record have been met with silence.
"The document’s authenticity was confirmed to The Associated Press by an Italian journalist, Marco Tosatti, who said he was with Vigano when the archbishop wrote it Wednesday.
" 'He was very emotional and upset at the end the effort,' Tosatti told AP, adding that Vigano left Tosatti’s home afterward without saying where he was going."
@Barry, Nienstadt has come forward to claim that he didn't quash the Nienstadt inquiry, that the claim was a distortion of what he said from Rome and that he saw it as a potential stain on his character were Nienstadt to be guilty and sought to correct the error. Rod Dreher posted a copy of a letter from November 20, 2014 which appears to exonerate Nienstadt of this charge.
Conservatives portray themselves of being pro-family. And yet....
“The clamorous decision of the Vatican diplomat to violate the oath of fidelity to the Pope and the official secret represents yet another attack against Francis carried out in an organized way by the same circles that a year ago had tried to arrive at a sort of doctrinal impeachment, after the publication of the exhortation “Amoris laetitiaˮ. Attempt failed. Viganò is in fact one of the signatories of the so-called “Professione” in which Pope Bergoglio is defined as divorce-friendly, and well connected to the most conservative circles overseas and in the Vatican. That it is not simply the outburst of a Church man tired of the rotten things he has seen around him, but of a long and carefully planned operation, in an attempt to get the Pope to resign, is demonstrated by the timing and the involvement of the same international media network that for years has been propagating - often using anonymous ones - the requests of those who would like to overturn the result of the 2013 conclave. This is attested by the same testimonies written in the various blogs by the journalists who published the Viganò dossier: always in the forefront in the defense of the traditional family, but careless to drop the bombshell on the very day in which Francis concluded with a great mass the international meeting of families”
Bill - is character assassination of the accuser and the publishers the only defense of Pope Francis you have? True defenders of Pope Francis should work harder at disproving the specifics. That will be much more persuasive. I am fully prepared to listen to Pope Francis' statement about McCarrick. Was there a sanction or not? If so, did he relieve McCarrick of the sanction? What was he thinking? Was it a pastoral show of mercy for an old man now thought harmless? Just like with the Chilean or Honduran or Vatican situations, let's have the honest truth.
Tim I didnt realize you were telling us you are a Sede Vacantist
“the only defense of Pope Francis you have? True defenders of Pope Francis should work harder at disproving the specifics.”
SSPX wants you to phone home.
One more thing. The picture at the head of this article is proof of how out of touch the leadership can be. Other than O'Malley who does not appear to be enjoying this show of regalia and wealth, the people in the picture revel in the spectacle of Halloween like costumes with silly hats at a fund raiser that, no doubt, was dominated by white wealthy Catholics. Note to bishops: white wealthy Catholics are not in the majority any more. Young people don't come to see you, in part because the costumes mean nothing to them, and they are not symbols anymore if you have to explain them. Lastly, it is in the pocket book, unfortunately, where much of the future of this Church will be decided.
Vigano? A forgotten cultural warrior of the past who is trying desperately to hang on to a glorious disgraceful past. There is nothing honest in his letter. The Pope is right to ask anyone of us who still (may?) have a rational and honest mind to read Vigano’s letter and make our own judgment. There is nothing worthy for the Pope to answer such a dishonorable letter.
In the current environment Francis needs to have these allegations addressed in a prosecutorially investigative manner by the Church itself. Only they and not the journalists will have access to the full range of documentation held by the Church. Francis should ask Archbishop Scicluna to invesigate the allegations and varify their accurancy. His report should be made directly to the College of Cardinals AND released to the entire church publicly. If the charges are false the Archbishop Vigano needs to be brought before the Congreation of Bishops and disciplined for libeling and slandering the Holy Father. If they are true then the Francis himself and the College of Cardinals needs to decide what to do. Needless to say the Church needs to understand whther or not that the occupant of the Chair of Peter has been negligent in his responsibilities with regard to handling sexual abusers among his brother bishops. This seems the way that the Church as a whole could accept and benefit from. The People of God need to know the truth. Give us some credit for being adults. Do we all believe that the truth will set us free...or not?
good proposal--would be even better if the Pope would ask an outside agency to handle the investigation--too many conflicted loyalties when it is conducted internally. Maybe Mueller would be a good investigator--he's doing a good job of sniffing out the byzantine antics of the Trump White House--after that, the Vatican internecine warfare would be a walk in the park. Time to go and dust off my copy of Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral"........hasn't been this much drama in the Vatican since the Borgia's ! .....and who said being Catholic was dull?!
The fact trail actually speaks for itself with this issue. It is obvious Francis knew quite a bit. There is an obvious homosexual underground taking over the hierarchy of the church. Troubling times in the Catholic Church
Why can’t people just sit with all these issues, and let them play out? I’m afraid the people in the pews are complicit in the sex abuse crisis... because they can’t handle the truth, and so would not support the struggling victims and survivors all around them suffering because of their Silence, too.
Kudos to this journal for publishing 4 articles already on this explosive event, even though he hits the Jesuits hard. He is in earnest and many of his charges cannot be dismissed, but they can be confirmed or disproved in the documents he refers to. The investigation will determine his credibility. On CBS News this am, they interviewed one Vatican cleric, who said Vigano was scrupulously honest. There was no counter interview (I suspect no one is ready to get in front of a mic yet - they are reeling). Perhaps, McCarrick is the cleric that Pope Francis was referring to when he said "If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?" This could refer to McCarrick in his old age. The zero tolerance policy presently concerns only minors (and this surfaced later). It might need to be extended to any sexual activity, given today's climate.
"There was no counter interview (I suspect no one is ready to get in front of a mic yet - they are reeling). "
Good point, @Tim O'Leary. I think they are also wondering what documents Vignao has. They know that all his main points are true, but they don't know what documentation he has to prove it. Nobody is denying anything specific, yet, because they are afraid of being proven liars. Instead, they simply cast aspersions on his character, hoping that he didn't copy the documents before he published this. If after a couple months, no documents are produced, then they might feel safe in saying specific charges are lies. Until then, they can't.
Regarding the "Who am I to judge" comment, most media don't want to tell the full story. The pope had just been asked about Monsignor Ricca's scandalous conduct. It was in the context of answering that question that he made that famous statement.
Monsignor Ricca was a confidant of Francis who was head of the residence where Francis lived, had a supervisory role at the Vatican Bank for a while and had several scandalous affairs, including a live in boyfriend and getting caught in a lift with an underage rent boy in Uruguay (at least underage by US standards, the legal age of consent is 15 in Uruguay).
Danny - thanks for the links re Msgr. Ricca. That indeed is a more contemporaneous explanation of the quote. My current sense is that Pope Francis did a lot of forgiving of adult gay clerics around him that he presumed past tense and consensual (even if he considered them gravely sinful) and didn't consider that the same individuals could have crossed the age line, since the ideology is that same-sex attraction of adult homosexuals never crosses into youth (Cardinal Cupich essentially said this yesterday), without some pedophile pathology. Yet, this is contradicted by almost any story of teen first same-sex encounters, the movie "Call Me By Your Name" that was celebrated at the Oscars, the actual evidence of the John Jay Report, and now several clerics. He has a major credibility issue on his hands.
“They know that all his main points are true”
and yet the opposite is the case. No one believes Vigano except conservatives gunning to undermine the Holy Father like NCRegister and Lifesitenewz
“Facts and omissions of Viganò’s testimony against Francis”
““I believe that the Viganò press release speaks for itself, and you have the professional maturity to draw conclusions. With these words, addressed to journalists on the return flight from Dublin, Francis invited them to read the 11-page dossier dropped by the former nuncio to the United States, Carlo Maria Viganò, who asked for the Pope’s resignation, accusing him of having covered up the 83-year-old Cardinal Emeritus of Washington Theodore McCarrick, who had had homosexual relations with adult seminarians and priests. It is therefore necessary to start from a careful reading of the text, analyze it and separate the facts reported from opinions and interpretations. And above all from omissions.”
Facts are troubling things when you are peddling in ideologies like Vigano.
Tell me when it’s over so we can address important things.
Address "important things" with what credibility? This is a matter of leadership credibility. Without that remedied we can talk about "important things" all we want...and people won't listen. They barely are now. Talk about war and peace, Gglobal warming, immigration? I can hear it now... "Thanks your excellencies and Holy Father...come back and see me when your're not hiding your own Harvey Weinsteins any longer. Wouldn't that be YOUR job at present? I'll take care of mine. Thanks for calling."
Right on cue...nationwide talk radio conversation on Limabugh this pm. Caller: (after a lot of ignorant borderline anti-catholic jabs) ..and then they want us to act RIGHT NOW on the global warming fraud WHEN THEY DIDN'T ADDRESS THEIR OWN SEX ABUSE SCANDAL FOR YEARS. Host: Good point!! Just it the liberals who don't care about THAT stuff who are ruining everthing they touch...incluing the Church. So there you have the new paradigm for the discussion of "Important Things". We're already in a hole. We need to stop digging by tolerating lies and Patrones covering up miscreant behavior. It is KILLING US.