Viganò’s accusations: What we know and what questions they raise

Archbishop Viganò seated next to then-Cardinal McCarrick, front row on left, along with other U.S. cardinals, Glory and Thomas Sullivan and John Garvey, at a fundraiser on May 10, 2013. (CNS photo/Edmund Pfueller, Catholic University of America)Archbishop Viganò seated next to then-Cardinal McCarrick, front row on left, along with other U.S. cardinals, Glory and Thomas Sullivan and John Garvey, at a fundraiser on May 10, 2013. (CNS photo/Edmund Pfueller, Catholic University of America)

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.

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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.

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Crystal Watson
12 months ago

Francis has done nothing about others known to have, at the least, covered up abuse. An abuse victim asked him to remove Cardinal Sean Brady and he refused. He never said a public harsh word to Cardinal Law. Is it so hard to believe that he might have just let McCarrick continue in pace? And why will he not answer any questions about this?

A Fielder
12 months ago

Crystal, if the laity could not pressure Saint JP2, or Pope Benedict to sanction Cardinal Law, I am not sure why we would expect Francis to do it.

Crystal Watson
12 months ago

Why not? Isn't he supposed to be different, better than them? The reforming pope? There is no reason why he could not have removed them if he had wanted to.

A Fielder
12 months ago

It's probably a matter of picking your battles. If B16 sanctioned McCarrick, (which is not a settled matter from what I have seen) it would have been wrong, in my opinion, for Francis to loosen restrictions on him. Yet, we know from the Chilean Bishop debacle, that Francis is sometimes given bad information by curial staff. According to Vigano, PJ2, and B16 may have suffered a similar fate, having to rely on the curia for so much content and context in a world where change is painfully slow. Francis to his credit has made many reforms, it would be unreasonable to expect 100% success in 5 short years.

We need a culture change because our problems are systemic. Pointing fingers at everyone who ever did anything wrong will have us going in circles until the second coming. I think it will be important to identify the most important problems and address those first. The hidden curial culture and abuses of clericalism are so deep it will be nearly impossible to tell the vicious from the virtuous. The RCC's failure is enforce the discipline of celibacy is Global. This is a universal cluster. Perhaps the forthcoming investigation will also shed light on the gay prostitution rings in Rome and the multitude of African priests who keep mistresses while the bishops turn a blind eye, and claim to be defenders of traditional marriage. I wish I could tell you that the worst is past, but it is not.

Crystal Watson
12 months ago

You have a more positive view of Francis than I have. I see him as a big disappointment - he has done nothing for sex abuse survivors, nothing for women, nothing for LGBT people, nothing for divorced/remarried people, and he has kept in place outdated and questionable doctrines like that on contraception.

Michael Ward
12 months ago

So.....we're suppposed to prisoners of the low-bar behavior and expctations of Francis's predecessors whn dealing with Francis. The best excuse for nothing chnaging that I've heard in a while. This type of thinking is GOING TO KILL US. But maybe some people want that.

Danny Collins
12 months ago

Crystal, America Magazine doesn't want to mention it, but this actually fits a pattern with Pope Francis, As a show of "mercy," Francis has reinstated several priests whom Benedict defrocked, including the infamous Fr. Inzoli, whom he later had to defrock for a second time after the Italian courts convicted him of child molestation and the international media got wind of the story.

Crystal Watson
12 months ago

Yes, I read about Inzoli and the pope last year. I've been paying attention since the first day that he was pope, when he visited the church that was then run by Cardinal Law, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. At first it was reported that Francis went there to fire Law as his first act as pope but instead he just had a friendly chat with him ... https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/report-pope-exile-law-totally-false-vatican-says ... since then he has continued to disappoint on clergy sex abuse.

Danny Collins
12 months ago

@Crystal, Yes, the velvet gloved treatment of Law is disgraceful.

Michael Barberi
12 months ago

All 3 Popes are implicated in the Vigano letter. IMO, clergy sexual abuse and cover up, as well as turning a blind eye to evidence of sexual abuse by McCarrick as Bishop (and before he was promoted to Cardinal) must be thoroughly investigated by a lay-lead Vatican committee. It seems that sexual abuse, cover up and a culture of clericalism has been and continues to be systemic and worldwide. Apparently, it involves Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests to various degrees.

Calling on Pope Francis to resign is both immature and irresponsible. Such a calling seems to be fueled by a over-reaction to theological disagreements with Pope Francis about the direction that our Church should take. Some of Vigano's accusations appear to be false or inconceivable. Instead of jumping to conclusions, and being mislead or persuaded by the hype the press and media is giving this issue, we should remember that everyone involved should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Tim O'Leary
12 months ago

Some more background on Vigano from Rod Dreher (link below). "From 1998 to 2009, Vigano was in charge of the Vatican office overseeing all the Vatican nunciatures (embassies) around the world. From 2011 to 2016, he ran the Washington nunciature." "Whistleblowers are rarely disinterested parties. One must separate Vigano’s motives from the substance of the claims themselves." Vigano is 77 so this cannot be about his career. "Benedict XVI had put Vigano in charge of governing the Vatican, including cleaning up the scandal-plagued Vatican Bank. When Vigano started uncovering corruption and making a stink about it, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the No. 2 figure in Benedict’s Vatican, had Vigano removed and exiled to Washington, against his will. Benedict accepted this decision." So, he definitely has a motive beyond honesty and whistleblowing. But, it will be impossible for Pope Francis to ignore this, unlike the dubia. Also, I am not at all calling for any papal resignation, just an investigation.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/vigano-catholic-church-pope-francis/

Michael Barberi
12 months ago

Tim,

Thanks for this information. I hope the US Conference of Catholic Bishops will thoroughly investigate 'everything' associated with McCarrick and the Grand Jury Report of PA as well as the Vigano letter. Unfortunately, I fear that we will not get to the bottom of all of these accusations, in particular the involvement of "all 3 popes". Nevertheless, if the Bishops have the integrity, honesty and courage to uncover the facts and do the right thing, we may see the reform that our Church needs.

Tim O'Leary
12 months ago

Michael - CBS this am conflated the accusation by Vigano on Pope Francis and others regarding minor abuse, when that is not presently Vigano's claim. they also rarely state that since all the PA events happened before 2002, they cannot be evidence of how the Dallas Charter is working. For the 3 popes, I separate myself from the more extreme charges. I think Pope JPII was too holy and chaste to believe the claims of sins of others (a definite weakness, but not a sin), or had the information blocked from him, especially in his years of illness and incapacity. Pope BXVI (who used the famous word "filth") knew and tried to stop it but had many of his actions frustrated down the chain. Pope Francis wanted a clean slate and forgave/released anyone who had a history of consensual gay sex, but promised present chastity. But, he is now caught off guard by this well-meaning laxity, since nearly everyone he was lenient to has a worse past, involving non-consensual encounters or even minor abuse (Ricca, Inzoli, McCarrick, Barros, etc). The sexual urge is too powerful to be confined when it goes off the track. As St. Peter wrote “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” (2 Peter 2:19)

Michael Barberi
12 months ago

Tim,

You are entitled to your opinion regarding the accusations that are being reported.

IMO, all of these facts and accusations point to actions and inactions that tarnish the reputation and moral judgment of 3 popes, Cardinal McCarrick, PA Bishops, Vatican officials, etc. IMO, these reports, letters, et al, demonstrate that the culture of clericalism and sexual abuse crimes and knowledge of them involved Cardinals, Bishops and Popes JP II, Benedict XVI and Francis. While some of these accusation may be false or incomplete, some may be true. Keep in mind that JP II was criticized, rightly so I may add, for his handling of Marcial Marciel.

Some of the actions and inactions of each of these popes may have been well intended, lax, the result of poor judgment or inadequate information. However, they may also be more serious in terms of moral judgment and/or behavior even though they may have thought it right to either ignore or minimize the accusations of sexual abuse by McCarrick or judge them to be erroneous. Like you, I do not want to jump to extremes. Everyone must be assumed to be innocent for a host of good reasons until proven guilty. However, while some of us may not want to believe that any pope could perform an intentional immoral act or even an action or inaction that was a minor wrong-doing, we must demand a thorough impartial and transparent investigation by a lay-lead committee including bishops and representatives of the Vatican!

If we do not get to the bottom of all of this, the highest levels of the hierarchy and its reputation, credibility and message of love and charity will be significantly damaged. Unfortunately, at the moment this entire scandal does not look good for the entire Church from the present and past Popes on-down.

As for the Dallas Charter, I made my comments clear. It must be significantly improved including how bishops will be held accountable. You can have 1,000 charters, but unless they are enforced with a zero tolerance policy they are meaningless.

Tim O'Leary
12 months ago

" Everyone must be assumed to be innocent for a host of good reasons until proven guilty." - I agree with this standard. The Grand Jury and many commentators do not.
"while some of us may not want to believe that any pope could perform an intentional immoral act" - I would go further and say every pope, and all the Apostles and every saint did this. We are all sinners. Repentence is the difference between heaven and hell. "Jesus answered. 'No one is good--except God alone.'" (Mark 10:18)
"Investigation by a lay-lead committee including bishops and representatives of the Vatican" - I agree. And the USCCB agrees (http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-143.cfm). Pope Francis now needs to respond to this request for an audience and get this going.

Michael Barberi
12 months ago

Well Tim, we are finally agreeing of some things. I hope that the USCCB's investigation of McCarrick, et al, will be transparent, impartial, lay-lead and courageous. However, I am very skeptical if all the accusations by Vigano will be investigated by the USCCB, in particular the implications that JP II knew about the sexual abuse accusations of McCarrick but nevertheless promoted him to Cardinal.....as well as his accusations against Pope Francis and that of Benedict VI regarding McCarrick.

Something tells me that a Pope cannot be investigated by the USCCB and judged guilty or not guilty of an immoral act. Nor can the USCCB call various clergy to testify about their knowledge of events, actions and inactions of a Pope. I could be wrong as I am not a cannon lawyer. I think a special Vatican tribunal is the only body that can do this.

If the USCCB can investigate the accusations against each of these 3 popes, does anyone really expect that the USCCB to find these accusations truthful or that a Pope's closest advisors withheld important evidence from each pope? Think about what this will do to the credibility of the Papal Office and past controversial encyclicals. Will not Catholics ask: What information was withheld for the Pope so-and-so, what information was argued by his advisors to be untrue for political purposes or for fear that a past teaching would be reformed and this would be an admittance that the Church may have erred in past about an important moral issue?

One other thing. There are some voices that say that JP II may not have completely understood the seriousness of the sexual abuse accusations about McCarrick because of his health, and that Benedict VI was oblivious to these things as well. While this might be a defense offered by the supporters of these two popes, it raises other questions. What procedures are in effect that would remove or force into retirement a pope that is not competent to run the Church?

Lastly, if the USCCB or the Vatican does not get to the bottom of all of this, Catholics will call this another cover up.

Danny Collins
12 months ago

"Some of Vigano's accusations appear to be false or inconceivable."

Care to say which of Vignao's central claims are false, or are you as afraid of being proven wrong as Francis is.

Michael Barberi
12 months ago

Danny,

Read the link in Tim O'Leary's comment above. It provides the answer to your question.

Crystal Watson
12 months ago

In the UK Catholic Herald, a story that might show Cardinal Wuerl knew about McCarrick ... http://catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2018/08/27/vigano-letter-spokesman-confirms-cardinal-wuerl-cancelled-meeting-between-mccarrick-and-potential-seminarians/

Danny Collins
12 months ago

Thanks. This type of evidence is helpful in evaluating things.

Tim O'Leary
12 months ago

Crystal - Another article in the same site has the following interesting story - "In 2010, the former nuncio to Belgium, Archbishop Karl-Josef Rauber, gave an incendiary interview to Il Regno in which he blasted Benedict XVI’s choice to succeed Cardinal Godfried Danneels in Brussels. He further observed that Cardinal Ratzinger had often complained about his service as a diplomat. That most undiplomatic attack upon Benedict did not go unnoticed in Rome. But while Rauber was regarded with suspicion under Benedict, Pope Francis rewarded Rauber for his attack on the emeritus pope by naming him a cardinal in 2015." So, a nuncio attacking one ope was not a career ender. http://catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2018/08/27/the-vigano-letter-could-spark-a-conflagration-in-the-curia/

Kenneth Chang
12 months ago

Has anyone researched on the sexual orientation of the priests involved in this debacle. Has anyone gathered any evidence and proof of what was done many years ago. If not, this is just accusations without proof. Does anyone know how laws work? Not just on someone's say so. This has nothing to do whether it happened or not, our society demands proof. After all, the accuser loses nothing and the accused loses everything. So easy then to be an accuser.

Nora Bolcon
12 months ago

Blah blah, blah-di blah, blah - Brothers and sisters you need to either wake up or fess up to your denial on this subject.

Issue #1 Until lay groups and religious groups (Future Church, AUSCP, VOTF, LCWR, and SNAP among them) are willing to stand up and demand same sacraments for men and women, we will always be a sexist church. Sexism (and this is proven on a global scale) causes DIRECTLY child abuse and especially sexual abuse like pedophilia - and other sexual child abuses. There is a defined link between these two evils. This link was apparent in many of our church's abuse cases when you look to see the women who were the mothers of victims of these priests. The more sexism you have the more child abuse your organization will have or produce in the world. (which is why if you create gender segregation by supporting ordaining married male priests when you have no female ordained priests you will very likely see an increase not a decrease in the abuse of children in our church. Gender segregation does not help women but it will harm them and create and constitute an even more extreme abuse against the humanity of all women in our church and even effect the world negatively).

What this means, in a nutshell, is as long we (the laity and religious groups) are willing to tolerate and make room in our church for sexism (different treatment of men than women) in our traditions, laws and ordination practices than you also need to make room and be willing to tolerate child abuse and especially sexual kinds of child abuse like pedophilia. The evils of sexism and child abuse, pedophilia, etc. walk hand in hand - they always have and always will. So either genuinely fight for the end of abuse not only of children but also against the abuse of the humanity of women, or realize you will never have cause to stop complaining about the abuse of children which your lack of concern towards your sisters helped to make possible and even likely.

Are these facts and truths easy to hear for these groups who consider themselves progressive and proactive for justice? - probably not, but these facts and truths are pretty easy to research and there is ample, reliably sourced, evidence from all around the world on the abusive effects of sexism so feel free to look that information up as I did.

Issue or Reality #2: Cardinals - all of them - including our pope always knew there was a serious abuse problem happening in the church even if it was not in their diocese.

This does mean that Pope Francis did know to some degree the horrible abuse happening to children in our church and at our seminaries for many decades. That is how our hierarchy works. Nothing happens or is known about in a vacuum. Pope Francis tells you women are gossips. I can tell you I have never met a bigger set of gossips than men who think themselves more important than other people.

We also need to face the fact that we, or the Cardinals, could find no pope to elect, from the body of bishops presently, who knew nothing about the abuse issues in our church before they came out. Such a bishop/cardinal does not currently exist. It really is that simple.

So what we need to do is demand women be un-stripped of the sacrament of Holy Orders this church had no license given by Christ or the 12 Apostles to ever take from women in the first place, and then demand a Pope who is completely transparent and willing to give authority (and authority over the authority of the cardinals) to run lay watch dog committees and tribunals to deal with any and all new cases of child or sexual abuse.

We need to demand a pope willing to immediately ordain women to priesthood and accept many of the Roman Catholic Women Priests who are already thoroughly prepared and ordained priests by accepted Catholic Bishops. Demand they be accepted and their ordinations validated officially so they can start as active pastors in our churches right away.

We need, immediately, to have women and some lay people made cardinals and given equal authority and vote, as the cardinals we now have under the age of 80.

Mind you both of these things, the immediate acceptance and ordination of women priests and lay cardinals, can be done without changing very much in our current laws. Lastly, we need a Vatican III to sort out the changes after we are ordaining women priests. Women should not be made to wait any longer for justice and our church cannot afford such a postponement of justice that creating a new council would demand.

So, yes Pope Francis had to have known about the child abuse, at least to some degree, and the abuse of seminarians along with this Cardinal in the article, and all other cardinals. Also, until a person brings up a new case publicly, all popes will continually do is ignore hidden cases until they are made public. This is because it is easier to hope that some cases won't ever see the light of day than face the real issue and its root causes and the changes that must be made to end or at least lessen greatly abuse in the future.

We are all accountable to God, children, women and each other to use our voice to stand up for righteousness. When we refuse to do this bad things happen. Forms of abuse and oppression are much like diseases, they can be strangely contagious from group to group, and one form can morph quickly into other forms but only among those who accept abuse of any group of people from the start. Welcome one demon of hatred into your church and the others will follow after him. Better to simply not let in any demons.

rose-ellen caminer
12 months ago

"Ordaining" women[an oxymoron?] would demystify the church. It would be a pretense ; playing at being a priest. You see it in other denominations where women are clerics; you almost want to laugh at them in their priestly garb. You pity their foolish need.[though they are great and holy in other ways]. There is a felt solidity, a felt holy power and presence and substance in the Catholic Church, and the celibate male priest evokes this divine power [sins and crimes of frauds notwithstanding]. The holy charism of women is different . You can see it you can feel it. I could be on the wrong side of history but that is my response. Women priests; imitating wannabes.

Danny Collins
12 months ago

The only leverage the laity have to force the bishops to repent and do good is financial. I'll support my local parish, but no ACA donations nor peter's pence donations until a thorough investigation of these charges has been completed and the guilty parties who knew about McCarrick's abuse and covered it up have resigned.

bill carson
12 months ago

Yep, my wife and I stopped giving to the diocese four years ago. Now that Francis says he doesn't even have to answer questions about his actions, we will now stop giving to Peter's pence. Never thought the leaders could be soooo poor!

bill carson
12 months ago

I wonder how serious Francis is. After all McCarrick did, he was only "busted" down one rank, to archbishop. If Francis had been serious, McCarrick should be no more than a base level priest. Ideally, his priesthood would have been revoked. He ain't no priest anyway, is he?

Henry Brown
12 months ago

"White Washed Sepulchres"

If the politics and acrimony in the Vatican is this bad, why are
any of these people Priests, let alone Bishops and/or Cardinals ?

Why not have all the Bishops/Cardinals and Popes just resign so that
the Church can start anew ?

Susan Liang
12 months ago

Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict knew.

The VIGANO letter contains allegations. The evidence to prove it should be preserved and investigated by prosecutors the world over.

Kevin Murphy
12 months ago

I'm surprised Mr. O'Loughlin didn't put in a plug for his book "The Tweetable Pope." Ridiculous to have him write a supposedly objective article on this situation.

Mike Macrie
12 months ago

What we have here is the infighting between the Conservative branch and the Liberal branch within the Catholic Church. We also have the Conservative Cardinals here committing the Deadly Sin of Pride on being demoted from high positions
by a Pope who they view as Liberal. To use the term Kingmaker, this Cardinal has serious issues with Pope Francis. It’s sad to see the discourse in the Catholic Church being as bad as the politics of the US Congress.

Flakes Obran
12 months ago

From what I’ve heard Cardinal McCarrick‘s deeds were open secret to everyone, so it is only logical that the entire leadership of the American Church — say everyone above bishop — resign. And since rape and sexual abuse by the clergy has been covered up by priests, undoubtedly since the council of Trent.

As an atheist I like Pope Francis, but your church has to stop hiding in the shadows. The recent document that came to light about Pennsylvania was shocking in that I think people could convince themselves it only happened in Pennsylvania, whereas we all know exactly the same thing happened in every state and every province and every country where there are Catholics on this planet.

Right now your faith is having an existential crisis, and while i personally don’t care if your god becomes as obsolete as Zeus — which is where you are headed, for the few people I care about who have faith, don’t listen to the Conservative dead beats among you. Right now your church desperately needs to chart a new path forward. A counter counter reformation if you will.

If not... well Latin America is growing up and becoming more cynical to your bull shit. In a hundred years I suspect they will be as blase as the Western world is.

Luis Gutierrez
12 months ago

It is pathetic. How much longer are we going to keep our heads buried in the sand? The ecclesiastical patriarchy is no longer viable. The best way to mitigate this tragedy is to discard the patriarchal "binary" as enshrined in the code of canon law (#1024) and ordain women to the priesthood and the episcopate. Contrary to what the Vatican has been saying for decades, there is no dogmatic impediment. For your consideration:
Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, God made flesh, not a patriarch
God the Father is a person, but not a male
God the Son is a person, but was not a male before the incarnation
God the Holy Spirit is a person, but not a male
The Trinity is a communion of persons, not a patriarchate
The "Son of man" is God made flesh, not a patriarch
All men and women are consubstantial in their human nature
Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, not the male of life
The substance of the Eucharist is BODY, not XX or XY chromosomes
The substance of the Eucharist is FLESH, not testosterone
Patriarchy is a disordered attachment to the supremacy of masculinity
The Church is a communion of persons, not a patriarchate
The Church is the body of Christ, not a woman with a male head
The Virgin Mary is the "type" of the Church, not a woman with a male head
The Marian dimension of the Church precedes the apostolic dimension
Apostolic succession is contingent on redeemed flesh, not on masculinity
The nuptial mystery of Christ and the Church is not a patriarchal marriage
Canon 1024 is an artificial contraceptive and abortifacient of female priestly vocations
Catechism 1577 reduces the priesthood of the New Law to priesthood of the Old Law
Catechism 1598 declares that ordaining only males is a choice, not a dogma
The exclusively male priesthood makes invisible the "feminine genius" in Christ
The Christian/Catholic/Orthodox faith is not intrinsically patriarchal
The conflation of patriarchal gender ideology and Christian doctrines is a disgrace
It is time to discard the patriarchal scaffolding that obscures the Catholic faith

Carlos Orozco
12 months ago

It is becoming ever clearer that the homosexual culture has infested even the hierarchy within the Church. What if not of Satanic nature are gay parties in Seminaries, predatory behavior towards other priests, sexual abuse of children (especially boys), of seminarians, of nuns, etc?
What urgent corrective measures will the Pope take? Silence has no place hear and has proven disastrous.

Uxi Xu
12 months ago

"Archbishop Viganò has also not explained why he did not make his grave concerns about then-Cardinal McCarrick’s behavior known publicly sooner."

He has answered this:

“The main reason why I am revealing this news now is because of the tragic situation of the Church, which can be repaired only by the full truth, just as she has been gravely injured by the abuses and coverups. I do this to stop the suffering of the victims and to prevent new victims, and to protect the Church: only the truth can make her free.”

Viganò said the second reason he chose to write his testimony is “to discharge my conscience before God of my responsibilities as bishop of the universal Church. I am an old man and I want to present myself to God with clean conscience.”

Joselyn Schutz
12 months ago

I'm surprised that America states as fact that Vigano tried to "quash" the Nienstadt inquiry. That is hardly established fact. Vigano asserts that he was falsely accused of shutting down the inquiry, and immediately and repeatedly told those responsible that not only did he not want it shut down, but that he wanted the bishop interrogated.

It would seem a simple matter to track down the relevant documents and prove or disprove this assertion, or at least mention that it is an accusation and not established fact, rather than merely repeating it.

A Fielder
12 months ago

I thought he admitted to shutting it down, because he believed the charges were unsubstantiated.

A Fielder
12 months ago

I thought he admitted to shutting it down, because he believed the charges were unsubstantiated.

Danny Collins
11 months 4 weeks ago

No, Rod Dreher has published evidence to the contrary (Dreher left the Church when his faith couldn't take covering the scandal in 2004 and nobody (including this publication) has been more deeply critical of the conservative Conley in Lincoln Nebraska, so he doesn't have a dog in this fight).

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/vigano-i-did-not-quash-the-nienstedt-investigation/

Gay Timothy O'Dreary
11 months 4 weeks ago

Rod is a coward and not fit to comment on anything regarding governing or leading a corner Baptist church in Dixie. He left the Church because he was in crisis about Bernard Law as if Law was the reason anyone went to Mass. Rod is conservstive first and foremost...a man with no gonads

Patrick Dooling
12 months ago

Please do due diligence and include Vigano's explanation of what transpired during his dealings with Archbishop Nienstadt. It is the exact opposite of comments here which malign him.

Gay Timothy O'Dreary
11 months 4 weeks ago

Vigano went into hiding because she couldnt bare to face her accusers. Pitiful. I know Drag Queens who fought at Stonewall who have more courage.

Patrick Dooling
12 months ago

Please do due diligence and include Vigano's explanation of what transpired during his dealings with Archbishop Nienstadt. It is the exact opposite of comments here which malign him.

Patrick Dooling
12 months ago

Please do due diligence and include Vigano's explanation of what transpired during his dealings with Archbishop Nienstadt. It is the exact opposite of comments here which malign him.

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