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Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 28, 2018
Pope Francis holds his pastoral staff as he arrives to celebrate a Mass in Freedom Square in Tallinn, Estonia, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Pope Francis concludes his four-day tour of the Baltics visiting Estonia. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio to the United States, has issued a second statement in which he attacks Pope Francis for not responding to the allegation that he covered up the sexual abuse of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He appeals to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, to come to his defense by confirming his testimony.

His second dispatch, which many in Rome had expected, came 33 days after his first attack on Francis. It was published by the same media outlets that broadcast the first one, in which he called for the pope’s resignation—something he does not do this time.

In this new document, Archbishop Viganò presents himself as one called by baptism and ordination “to bear witness to the truth” and insists yet again that he published his original testimony about what happened in his first audience with the pope on June 23, 2013, “solely for the good of the Church.” He also says that he revealed in his testimony “certain matters” relating “to those who bear responsibility for covering up the crimes committed” by McCarrick, which he had come to know about during his 25 years working in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and five years as nuncio in Washington, D.C. But he bypasses the fact that it was the pope, not he, who at that audience raised the question about Archbishop McCarrick.

Viganò presents himself as one called by baptism and ordination “to bear witness to the truth.”

Archbishop Viganò, who remains in hiding and refuses to meet the press, says his decision “to reveal those grave facts” was “the most painful and serious decision” of his life and made “after long reflection and prayer, during months of profound suffering and anguish” as he watched revelations of the abuse scandal in the media—in what appears to be a reference to the McCarrick case and the Pennsylvania grand jury report. He charges that “the silence of the pastors” who could have prevented the abuse of new victims “became increasingly indefensible, a devastating crime for the Church.”

He says that he was “aware of the enormous consequences” his testimony could have because it involved the pope but he decided to speak out “to protect the Church.” He acknowledges that by doing so he was breaking “the pontifical secret that I had promised to observe” but argues that the purpose of that seal “is to protect the Church from her enemies, not to cover up and become complicit in crimes committed by some of her members.”

Noting that “neither the pope, nor any of the cardinals in Rome have denied the facts I asserted in my testimony,” the archbishop draws the conclusion that their silence amounts to a confirmation of the allegations.

“If they deny my testimony, they have only to say so, and provide documentation to support that denial.”

“If they deny my testimony,” he writes, “they have only to say so, and provide documentation to support that denial.”

In his first document, he blamed “the cover-up” and “conspiracy of silence” on more than 30 senior Vatican officials who served under John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. The testimony implicated all three popes, but, in the eyes of many observers, particularly the Polish and German popes.

Nevertheless, in this second document, he confirms what was already evident to everyone: His real target is Pope Francis. He writes, “The center of my testimony was that since at least June 23, 2013, the pope knew from me how perverse and evil McCarrick was in his intentions and actions, and instead of taking the measures that every good pastor would have taken, the pope made McCarrick one of his principal agents in governing the Church, in regard to the United States, the Curia, and even China, as we are seeing these days with great concern and anxiety for that martyr Church.”

Viganò confirms what was already evident to everyone: His real target is Pope Francis.

Just as in the first document, so, too, here, Archbishop Viganò does not provide evidence to substantiate his charges. Where is the evidence that McCarrick was one of the pope’s “principal agents” in these important areas? He again glosses over the fact that as nuncio he publicly praised McCarrick and, more important, that the former cardinal-archbishop of Washington committed most, if not all, of his wrongdoings during the pontificates of John Paul II (1978-2005) and Benedict XVI (2005-13). Given all this, it has become clear that the former nuncio is using the McCarrick case as a pretext to undermine Francis for reasons other than the pope’s response to sexual abuse.

In the new text, clearly aggrieved by Francis’ silence, Archbishop Viganò attacks the pope not only for failing to reply to his original testimony but for “contradicting himself, because he has compared his silence to that of Jesus in Nazareth and before Pilate and compared me to the great accuser, Satan, who sows scandal and division in the Church—though without ever uttering my name.”

He charges that instead of saying “Viganò lied,” the pope, in his homilies at Mass in Santa Marta, has “put in place a subtle slander against me—slander being an offense he has often compared to the gravity of murder.”

Viganò concluded with an appeal to Cardinal Ouellet: “Your Eminence, I urge you to bear witness to the truth.”

He asserts that “the pope’s unwillingness to respond to my charges and his deafness to the appeals by the faithful for accountability are hardly consistent with his calls for transparency and bridge building.”

He does not mention that, as the Council of Cardinal advisors revealed in a statement on Sept. 10, the Vatican is preparing a response to the archbishop’s first document and will provide “the necessary clarifications” regarding what he said. America has learned that the response is still being worked on and is likely to be concise.

In his missive today, the archbishop recalls that a delegation of U.S. bishops led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo spoke with Pope Francis on Sept. 13 and asked for a Vatican investigation into McCarrick’s crimes and those responsible for covering them up. Archbishop Viganò asks: Did Francis refuse this?

In the final part of his new statement, Archbishop Viganò makes “a special appeal” to Cardinal Ouellet, “because as nuncio I always worked in great harmony with him, and I have always had great esteem and affection towards him.” He revealed that “at the end of my mission in Washington, he received me at his apartment in Rome in the evening for a long conversation.”

He claimed that “at the beginning of Pope Francis’ pontificate, he [Ouellet] had maintained his dignity, as he had shown with courage when he was Archbishop of Québec.”

“Later, however, when his work as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops was being undermined because recommendations for episcopal appointments were being passed directly to Pope Francis by two homosexual ‘friends’ of his dicastery, bypassing the Cardinal, he gave up.”

Moreover, Archbishop Viganò lamented that Cardinal Ouellet’s “long article in L’Osservatore Romano, in which he came out in favor of the more controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia, represents his surrender.”

Notwithstanding his grave disillusionment at Cardinal Ouellet’s “surrender,” Archbishop Viganò appeals to him to come to his defense. He did so by first recalling that “before I left for Washington, you were the one who told me of Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick.” He added, “You have at your complete disposal key documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups.”

Archbishop Viganò concluded with an appeal: “Your Eminence, I urge you to bear witness to the truth.”

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Justin Ramza
5 years 9 months ago

A well-written article, Mr. O'Connell.

Javier von Sydow
5 years 9 months ago

Well, here it is; the truth is coming out and we are all doing our journalistic task of sorting it out ourselves, trying to wake up to the reality of this new world in which strong atemps are being made at manipulating the truth. Vigano finally admits the source of his information for what he claims to believe where the sanctions to McCarrik and it was Cardinal Ouellet. There you have it. At the center of this, however, is the most important truth, which is whether or not such a sanction existed! This is what's important now.
Vigano's state of mind -which may very well have been wrong- if what he says is true, doesn't mean that there were sanctions. We need to know first whether or not there were sanctions, because if there were no sanctions then Vigano's assertions all throughout -regardless of his subjective state of mind- would not be true. He's not disputing the pope emeritus' private secretary's confirmation that indeed there was no such thing as Vigano stated. The Angelicus doctor's definition of Truth is this: "Veritas est conformitatem intelectum et rei; per conformitatem intelectum et rei veritas est definitur" (the truth is the conformity between reality and the thought). That's all. The subjective elements do not exist in the definition. Vigano''s feelings are irrelevant.

For all of this I still believe that the pope's affirmation "I will not say a word" was a great pastoral guidance, because it took all of us -including America- out of our intellectual slumber and made us work for the truth, which is something tantamount to seeking salvation since Jesus himself is the truth.

James Haraldson
5 years 9 months ago

When exactly did Francis the Merciful (who is consistently merciless towards the victims of sin, whether it be abandoned spouses and children, unborn babies, or the sexually abused) succeed in keeping his non-stop mouth shut?

Joe Magarac
5 years 9 months ago

The headline doesn't do justice to the article, and the article doesn't do justice to the situation. Vigano claims that documents in the Vatican, at its nunciature in DC; and in the possession of Archbishop Ouellet will show that: a) the Vatican knew that McCarrick was an active homosexual from 2000 onward; b) despite that, the Vatican promoted him; c) Pope Benedict imposed private sanctions on McCarrick in 2009-2010; d) Pope Francis was told of these sanctions in 2013; but e) Pope Francis commuted the sanctions and allowed McCarrick to recommend US bishops for promotion. The Vatican should release these documents and allow Vigano's claims to be proved or disproved. The fact that it has not done so is problematic.

ron chandonia
5 years 9 months ago

"America has learned that the response is still being worked on and is likely to be concise."

How long does it take to write, "Hell, no! Now go away!"

M A Langkilde
5 years 9 months ago

Vigano is akin to the Pharisees who scapegoat Jesus . A viper

M A Langkilde
5 years 9 months ago

Proverbs 6:16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

M A Langkilde
5 years 9 months ago

Proverbs 6:16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

Nilda Latorre
5 years 9 months ago


Henry George
5 years 9 months ago

an somewhere clarify what a Pope may know about a priest before they are made a Bishop,
or a Bishop a Cardinal ?

I would suppose if those who are supposed to inform the Pope about the weaknesses/sins of the candidates, do not do so, what is the Pope supposed to do ?

We are still left wondering how McCarrick got away doing what he did for so long ?

Is there no one who can call Bishops to accountability.

I am wondering since McCarrick went to Fordham Prep and Fordham University - how is it
that he was not recruited by the Jesuits, after all he is a very bright person and had a
attractive personality - did the Jesuits see something back then that would have
disqualified him ?

Eric Collins
5 years 9 months ago

Archbishop Viganò presents himself as one called by baptism and ordination “to bear witness to the truth”. Viganò goes about it wrongly in letters to the world. He needs to document what he knows and offer it to those investigating. Otherwise, it appears he draws attention to himself for the purpose of drawing attention. Indeed, a Pharisee.

Mathew Bomki
5 years 9 months ago

I am tired of this Vigano saga ! am really sick of this Vigano saga. I do not dismiss his utterances, revelations and claims but I am baffled by the fact a "Churchman" of that calibre can use such sordid means to denounce the Pope. I think and I believe that there is a hidden agenda in his missives. I think the Pope is human and can make mistakes, he himself acknowledges that. But "unclothing" him in the Public Square is not christian. It is sheer lack of charity. I am certain that if Vigano was once made cardinal, he would never have written all this. Why should he discredit the Pope to this extent? Is he a Saint? Personally, I support the Pope, his endeavours and efforts to make the Church more credible in the eyes of the World. Is it because Pope Francis is such a simple person that Vigano can take such pleasure in dishonouring him? It is not fair. It is true the Church is going through a crisis. But I think the Church is the Church of Jesus Christ guided by the Holy Spirit. I doubt what Vigano preaches at Mass. For sure, we are all saddened and are ashamed by the scandals in the Church. These scandals did not start with Pope Francis. And Vigano as Christian is free denounce them, but I feel that means and the outlet are not the best. I feel sorry for the Pope. I think Pope Francis is doing his best to clean this mess. He cannot do it in a day, it takes time but he is doing it. The Holy Spirit is in control. Vigano should also ask for apologies for accusing everyone. He is the only Saint on earth! N'importe quoi!

M A Langkilde
5 years 9 months ago


arthur mccaffrey
5 years 9 months ago

The most important sentence in this whole article is Vigano's claim that he decided to speak out “to protect the Church", and by so doing
he was breaking “the pontifical secret that I had promised to observe” .
Not enough people know that Bishops and Cardinals take a vow of secrecy and loyalty to the Pope upon their election, promising not to reveal matters like clergy abuse of children, following the papal order of Crimen Sollicitationes of 1922--this is what lies behind so much of the cover up that gets revealed by public investigations like the recent PA Grand Jury Report, but I do not think that even the Attorney Generals are aware of these vows of secrecy and loyalty. The bottom line is that RCC operates outside or above secular law and is accountable only to itself. Every American Cardinal and Archbishop needs to be made to stand in front of a pubic Grand Jury and be forced to admit where their loyalties lie--to the Pope or to the US system of laws and justice?

gerald nichols
5 years 9 months ago

Bingo! That Crimen thing needs to be brought out in the open!

Phillip Stone
5 years 9 months ago

The lustful activities and the breaches of trust involved are matters of fact and one part of the issue. One clue that something quite evil had manifested within the putative faithful on earth, rose to a crescendo and is becoming less.
The other part is in many ways far more important, the betrayal of the leadership by secrecy and conspiracy thereby endangering many more people to be violated in their turn and a worldwide scandal.
A confirmation that the smoke of Satan had infiltrated the leadership deeply.

Time for BDS of the hierarchical institution. No Peter's Pence, no second collection, just upkeep of an unmarried man in modest accommodation with equipment necessary for communication and transport.
Divorce business and financial affairs of religious organisations from all special privileges, pay all taxes and rates and levies like every other person, freed from all government support and interference.
Huge compensation payments to victims. Put all properties and treasures under lay administration with all the checks and balances of accountability which apply to foundations, museums, galleries and associations.

All charitable works local, personal and ad hoc. Let our giving hurt us and help the real poor and manifest the love of Christ to them so that some may say, "Why are you doing this?" and we may disclose how Jesus came to dwell in our hearts and wants to dwell in theirs.

The article is clearly written by a man biased against a truth-teller and in favour of minimising the criticism and condemnation of the current institutional incumbents.

God is strong enough to look out for himself.
Jesus is lord of all creation, he needs no protection or defending.
The faithful on earth will be protected by their Lord, His Holy Spirit and his angels.
James 1: 19-21,
" ... Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and
humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

gerald nichols
5 years 9 months ago

The lines are being drawn in an even darker shade. If Catholic opinion sticks with PF, how will the Church fare under homosexual power?

John Keenan
5 years 9 months ago

Carlo Maria knows we're taking about the Vatican here doesn't he? This ain't Hawaii Five-Oh. Crimes don't get discovered, investigated, busted, taken to trial and sentencing in fourty-five minutes plus commercials. As a Catholic trying to hang on, trying to educate a twelve year old in the faith, I ask, how does what Carlo Maria is doing help? The Church responds to this? Please, everyone, join in the search for the truth.

Craig B. Mckee
5 years 9 months ago

Fact check:
The 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis mentioned above and its 1922 predecessor, De modo procedendi in causis sollicitationis:
Perhaps the confusion of the two comes from Richard Sipe's mis-translation of the title of the 1962 document posted on his website?

Apparently the 1922 document has not been retrieved:
BOTH, however, have been superseded by John Paul II's 2001 Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela as revised by Benedict XVI, referred to by Francis I:

M A Langkilde
5 years 9 months ago

Vigano worked for the man that was responsible for all the reports of sexual abuse and THEY covered it up world wide for decades. Shifting these predators around so they could continue their abuse. Now that it has been exposed, they accuse the very man doing something about it of their own guilt - Read your bible Mark 9:42. He was the U.S. Ambassador and Hollinger with the filth.

M A Langkilde
5 years 9 months ago

*Hobknobbed with the filth*

5 years 9 months ago

The Pope suggested we read Vigano’s correspondence and come to our own conclusions as to its value. Towards this, the following observations seem relevant.

1. Vigano’s states that Card Ouellet has “complete disposal of key documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups” – this assertion, whether true or not, underscores that he (Vigano) does not have access to hard evidence and has all along relied on hearsay to form his views. So it comes to this: Vigano’s complaint against the Pope is that he did not value Vigano’s 2013 hearsay account as highly as Vigano thought he should. But, it has to be asked, what credible leader would give credit to hearsay and insinuation?

2. Vigano makes much of the Pope’s commitment to silence. In doing so he ignores the 10 September statement from the Vatican that a concise response to Vigano’s first letter is indeed under preparation. Why?

3. Elsewhere in the second letter, he tells us the story he heard from Card Ouellet that he (Card Ouellet) “gave up” because he felt bypassed by “two homosexual [sic] ‘friends’ of his dicastery” who took episcopal nominations directly to the Pope. Is Vigano suggesting that this particular matter of governance, the sexuality of its players, and the alleged McCarrick cover-up, including the involvement of the Pope, are all linked? If so, in the interests of transparency and openness, he should explicitly state and rationally argue these connections - innuendo merely besmirches people’s reputations and debases the currency of dialogue for all.

karen oconnell
5 years 9 months ago

Vigano presents himself as a ''spoiled child'' who is upset about the attention that he believes he deserves from a parental figure. one can only pity him at this point.

Tim O'Leary
5 years 9 months ago

This new organization is promising: Better Church Governance (BCG) has signed up former FBI agents as investigators, led by Phil Scala, a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent. Academics, lawyers and editors will help to draw up a dossier, “The Red Hat Report”, which will cover all cardinals able to vote in the next papal conclave – that is, those under the age of 80. It aims to increase transparency and honesty in Church governance, to “empower members of the Church to courageously stand up for the truth”, and to help the cardinals themselves.

Dionys Murphy
5 years 9 months ago

I guess projection doesn't just happen in movie theatres.

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