Cardinal Marc Ouellet responds to Viganò charges, accuses him of blasphemy

Pope Francis greets then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 19, 2013. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for bishops, in an open letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has released a detailed and devastating response to former nuncio’s accusations against Pope Francis regarding the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, charging him with “blasphemy” for calling into question the faith of the pope and calling on him to repent.

The Vatican released the letter in the original French, accompanied by an Italian translation, around 10:30 on Sunday morning (Rome time), Oct. 7.

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The Canadian cardinal begins the letter by recalling that Archbishop Viganò, in his second letter released a week ago “denounced Pope Francis and the Roman Curia” and appealed to him “to speak the truth” about “the facts that you interpret as an endemic corruption that invaded the hierarchy of the church up to the highest level.”

He said that, with the “necessary permission” of Pope Francis, he now gives “my personal testimony as prefect of the congregation of bishops, about the matters regarding the emeritus archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, and his presumed links with Pope Francis, that constitute the object of your clamorous public denunciation as well as your demand that the Holy Father resign.”

“Your present position appears to me as incomprehensible and extremely reprehensible, not only because of the confusion that it sows in the People of God but also because of the accusations that seriously damage the good name of the Successors of the Apostles.”

He said that he writes “on the basis of my personal contacts and of the documents in the archives” of the congregation of bishops “that are currently the object of a study to throw light on this sad case.”

Addressing him “in full sincerity, by reason of the good relation of collaboration that existed between us when you were nuncio in Washington,” the cardinal tells Archbishop Viganò, “your present position appears to me an incomprehensible and extremely reprehensible, not only because of the confusion that it sows in the People of God, but also because of the accusations that seriously damage the good name of the Successors of the Apostles.” It is noteworthy that the cardinal uses the word “successors” because the former nuncio’s letter has not only called Francis into question, but also Benedict XVI, John Paul II and also many bishops.

Then addressing the specific accusations, the cardinal recalled that Archbishop Viganò claims he told Pope Francis, in a private audience, on June 23 about the case of Archbishop McCarrick, and said “I imagine that because of the enormous quantity of verbal and written information that he had received on many persons and situations” when he met all the nuncios from the different countries in the Vatican two days earlier, “I strongly doubt that [Archbishop] McCarrick would have interested him to the point that you wish to make [people] believe.” He recalls that Archbishop McCarrick was then 82 years old and an emeritus archbishop for seven years.

Cardinal Ouellet then says that “the written instructions prepared for you by the congregation for bishops at the beginning of your service [as nuncio] in 2011, say nothing about [Archbishop] McCarrick.” But, he acknowledges that in a private conversation with Archbishop Viganò, “I told you about the situation of the emeritus bishop who had to obey to certain conditions and restrictions because of the rumors about his behavior in the past.”

Significantly, the cardinal adds that since he took over as prefect of the congregation for bishops on June 30, 2010, “I never brought the [Archbishop] McCarrick case to an audience with Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Francis, except in these last days after his leaving the college of cardinals.”

“I never brought the McCarrick case to an audience with Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Francis, except in these last days after his leaving the college of cardinals.”

He said that the former cardinal, who went into retirement in May 2006, “was strongly exhorted not to travel and not to appear in public, so as not to provoke rumors in his regard. It is false to present the measures taken against him as ‘sanctions’ that were decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and annulled by Pope Francis.”

Moreover, he said, that an “examination of the archives” shows “that there are no documents in this regard signed by one or other pope, nor notes of an audience with my predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Re, that gave the emeritus-archbishop McCarrick an order obliging him to silence and to the private life, with the rigor of penal sanctions.”

He explained that “the reason was they there was not then, unlike today, sufficient proof of his presumed guilt.”

He said this explains “the position inspired by prudence” of the congregation and “the letters of my predecessor and me that reaffirmed, through the apostolic nuncio Pietro Sambi, and then also through you, the exhortation to a discreet style of life of prayer and penance for his own good and that of the church.”

Cardinal Ouellet said that “his case would have been the object of new disciplinary measures if the nunciature in Washington or any other source had provided us with recent and decisive information regarding his behavior.”

He said he hopes, “as do many others, out of respect for the victims and for the demands of justice, that the investigation underway in the United States and in the Roman Curia will finally offer us a comprehensive critical vision of the procedures and of the circumstances of this painful case, so that such fact may never be repeated in the future.”

The cardinal expresses his own astonishment that “a man of the church, whose incoherence is known today, could be promoted at various times, even to being given the highest functions of the archbishop of Washington and cardinal.” He admits “the defects of the system” in the selection of Archbishop McCarrick and adds that “without going into those details, it should be understood that the Supreme Pontiff depends on the information at his disposal in that precise moment and this information constitutes the object of a prudential judgment that is not infallible.”

"The investigation underway in the United States and in the Roman Curia will finally offer us a comprehensive critical vision of the procedures and of the circumstances of this painful case."

Cardinal Ouellet tells Archbishop Viganò that he considers it “unjust to conclude that the persons charged with making the advance discernment are corrupt, also if, some indications, provided by testimonies, should have been further examined.”

He says that Archbishop McCarrick “knew how to defend himself with great skill from the doubts raised in his regard.” On the other hand, he says, “the fact that there can be persons in the Vatican that practice and sustain behavior contrary to the values of the Gospel in matters of sexual morality does not authorize us to generalize and to declare as unworthy and accomplice of this one or that or even of the Holy Father.” He said “it should not happen above all that the ministers of truth should have to protect themselves from calumny and defamation.”

He then told Archbishop Viganò frankly that “to accuse Pope Francis of having covered up with full knowledge of the case of this presumed sexual predator and to be therefore an accomplice of the corruption that is spread in the church, to the point of holding him unworthy to continue his reform as first pastor of the church, is for me incredible and unbelievable from all points of view.”

The cardinal said “I cannot understand how you could have allowed yourself to be convinced of this monstrous accusation that does not stand up.” He recalls that Pope Francis “had nothing to do with the promotions of Archbishop McCarrick to New York, Metuchen, Newark and Washington.” But it was he “who removed him from the dignity of cardinal when credible evidence that he had abused a minor was presented [to him].”

Archbishop Viganò had accused the pope of taking Archbishop McCarrick as his “great advisor,” but the cardinal said Francis had never alluded to this, “even though he does not hide the trust he gives to some prelates.”

He said he understood that these prelates are “not those of your preference, nor of the friends that sustain you in your interpretation of facts.”

“I cannot understand how you could have allowed yourself to be convinced of this monstrous accusation that does not stand up.”

Cardinal Ouellet told Archbishop Viganò, “I find it totally aberrant that you take profit from this clamorous scandal of the sexual abuses in the United States to hit at the moral authority of your superior, the Supreme Pontiff, with an unheard of an unmerited blow.”

Cardinal Ouellet said that he meets Pope Francis every week regarding the nomination of bishops and problems governing the church worldwide, and added, “I know well how he treats people and problems: with great charity, mercy, attention and seriousness, as you yourself have experienced.”

Then in an extraordinary indictment, the cardinal told the former nuncio, “reading how you conclude your last message, apparently very spiritual, making fun of him and casting doubt on his faith, seems to me to be truly too sarcastic, even blasphemous. This cannot come from the Holy Spirit!”

The cardinal then, implying that Archbishop Viganò had put himself outside the church, said he wished “to help you to find again communion with him who is the visible guarantor of the communion of the Catholic Church.”

He said he understood the “bitternesses and disappointments” that have marked his path in service of the Holy See, but said “you cannot conclude your priestly life in open and scandalous rebellion that inflicts a very serious wound” on the church “which you pretend to serve better by aggravating division and distress in the people of God.”

Cardinal Ouellet calls on Archbishop Viganò: “Come out of your clandestinity, repent of your revolt and return to better sentiments to the Holy Father, instead of aggravating hostility against him.”

He asked the archbishop: “how can you celebrate the Holy Eucharist and pronounce his name in the canon of the Mass? How can you pray the holy Rosary, and to St. Michael the Archangel and the Mother of God, when you condemn him whom She protects and accompanies every day in his heavy and courageous ministry?”

Cardinal Ouellet concludes his letter with these words: “In response your unjust and unjustifiable attack, dear [Archbishop] Viganò, I conclude that the accusation is a political setup devoid of real foundation that could incriminate the pope, and I repeat that it has profoundly wounded the communion of the church.”

He added, “May it please God that this injustice is rapidly repaired and that Pope Francis continues to be recognized for what he is: a distinguished pastor, a compassionate and firm father, a prophetic charismatic for the church and the world. May he continue with joy and full trust his missionary reform, comforted by the prayer of the people of God and the renewed solidarity of the whole church together with Mary, the Queen of the holy rosary.”

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F C
2 months ago

Notably, in Cardinal Ouellet's concluding paragraph he writes: "In response to your unjust and unjustified attack, dear Viganò, I conclude therefore that the accusation is a political set-up without a real foundation that can incriminate the Pope."

An English translation of Card Ouellet's response can be found here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/cardinal-ouellet-writes-op…

John 21:15-17
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep....."

MICHAEL GRIFFIN
2 months ago

I am happy that Cardinal Ouellet is defending Pope Francis from the outrageous statements by Archbishop Vigano

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

I’m not. Ouellet had the chance to cleanse the issue, but he chose to remain on Team Sodoclericalism. Viganò tried to help him, offer him a hand, and Ouellet chose the dark path with all the cover-up folks and the homosexuals.

This is a spiritual war and Ouellett just declared himself on Team Blasey Ford with the rest of the liars.

Kathleen Houlihan
2 months ago

Indeed. I am looking for Alyssa Milano’s stamp of approval on Ouellett’s response. She’s probably waiting for the lettering to dry on her newest t-shirt: ‘Vigano Must Go’

Kathleen Houlihan
2 months ago

Ouellet doth protests too much. (You get the idea).

gerald nichols
2 months ago

Agree agree agree!!!

arthur mccaffrey
2 months ago

“it should not happen above all that the ministers of truth should have to protect themselves from calumny and defamation.”--The Ministry of Truth-wow!-I hope George Orwell is listening!

Dr Robert Dyson
2 months ago

The days when prominent ecclesiastical personages could suppress criticism by vilifying the critic for daring to criticise are now over - fortunately. The traditional posture of 'you may not say anything negative about the Church or clergy' was in no small measure responsible for the sexual abuse scandal in the first place

Frank T
2 months ago

Anyone who can read knows precisely the Holy Father's agenda about opening the Church.
Nothing hidden there. You can accept it or not.
However, you cannot believe in the primacy of one pope and disregard another.

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

The Gospel today TOTALLY refutes PF1’s heretical Amoris Laetitia garbage and its evil “footnote”. Christ said twice in today’s gospel what God’s position on divorce is!!! But Francis thinks he knows more, and rewrite, God’s direct instructions. PF1 is the one who is blasphemous. Get real.

Frank T
2 months ago

Vigano has shown himself as an opportunistic scoundrel who would attack the Holy Father, and you have become a Baptist, all in one day, congrats.

Phillip Stone
2 months ago

You talk of opening the Church: when was it closed, who closed it and where is the door?
This particular topic, a tiny element in a tidal wave, is one man vilifying another for not keeping something a secret, viz. what the pope and the man had talked about, an action which is germane to the issue of secrecy and openness.

On the question of whether the current man elected to the seat in Rome by a tiny fraction of the faithful is there legitimately is rightly open to question, now that we know the voting was rigged. Such conspiring was known to be possible, has been done previously and in response to that abuse prompted measures to avoid it and those measures were circumvented deliberately.
Now, the Borgia papacy is a precedent - it so happens in retrospect that no infallible teaching on faith or morals issued forth from it in either the officially spoken or written word and I accept that it was the work of the Holy Spirit alone that brought that about.
We are now in the age of universal instantaneous communication, a time when the Holy Spirit may inspire an new way of handling this sort of cheating.

I hear the accusation of blasphemy and automatically see that the person in question is being deified.
The successor of Peter is NOT God, the successor of Peter is NOT Jesus, the successor of Peter is NOT the Holy Spirit but he is certainly a sinner, has sinned, will sin and is now sinning just like the rest of us.
He stands as the visible head of a community founded on the disciples of Jesus Christ, the successor of the apostles NOT the successor of the Lord.

Lisa M
2 months ago

If you can't accept that the pope is the Vicar of Christ, that's fine, but please stop calling him a heretic. Having faith requires us to accept we do not know everything so we must always be searching for a better understanding. Seems some think they already know it all, so they prefer to follow a dissenter rather than listen to the message from the one our Lord promised would not error on faith and morals.

James Haraldson
1 month 3 weeks ago

You're wrong. Our Lord made that promise to the magisterial authority of the Church of which the pope is a servant. He doesn't have the authority to invent doctrine as he goes along, especially when he opines stupid ideas that contradict doctrine. Francis has in fact committed the ultimate heresy by identifying himself as a process theologian, someone who believes an incomplete God is still in process of learning how to be a good God, a stupid idea he absorbed from the morons Walter Kasper and Hans Kung, who pioneered it in the late sixties.

Kathleen Houlihan
2 months ago

Nothing hidden? The Pope refuses to comment about this matter.... leave it to the journalists. Will the Pope open files/matters to the public? He hasn't. At the very least, disappointing.

M A Langkilde
2 months ago

These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Please ban commenters cannot keep a civil tongue and speak on Satan's behalf, continuing to sow discord. It is one thing to voice concerns, quite another to sow the devil's whispers

M A Langkilde
2 months ago

These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Please ban commenters cannot keep a civil tongue and speak on Satan's behalf, continuing to sow discord. It is one thing to voice concerns, quite another to sow the devil's whispers

WILLIAM DEMPSEY
2 months ago

Ouellet says (1) the Pope must have been too busy to pay attention to what Vigano told him, and (2) he himself never alerted either Benedict or Francis. As you say, this is "devastating." But to whom?

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

Ouellet tried to claim the PF1 has a good record on abuse, but fails to note the cases in Chile and Argentina where the Pope’s record is horrendous and dishonest. Vigano is still right. Go Viganò, Catholics love you!

Frank T
2 months ago

I happen to believe Ouellet. This was apparently an attempted coup against the Pope propagated and financed by American interests.
The Holy Father's agenda has never been hidden and given what we know about curial protocol, surely, Vigano's behavior has been outside the bounds. Cardinals exploiting divisions that exist within the Church by attacking the Pope? No wonder Vigano is hiding out.

M A Langkilde
2 months ago

Amen

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

Viganò is not on an American payroll. Your position is ludicrous.

Frank T
2 months ago

Who said anything about a payroll?
Donations are made and alliances are set thereby expectations are met.
It is all very legal.
...and Holy Mother Church is sold to the highest bidder.

gerald nichols
2 months ago

Because of my compassion the Catholics in my family, care for Abp Vigano and the faithful and devout Catholics supporting a hearing for him, I am saddened by this response of Cardinal Ouellet to Vigano. I am sure it is a devastating blow to Vigano whom had looked to Ouellet for support.

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

We all hoped Ouellet would stand for virtue, instead he chose homoclericalism and so-called “living tradition” which apparently means totally rebuking Christ’s direct clear words!! In today’s Gospel!!! I’ll side with Jesus over Francis the heretic and his false Amoris Laetitia teaching.

F C
2 months ago

Allison Quinn
Are you a Catholic?

F C
2 months ago

Gerald Nichols and Allison Quinn
What neither of you seem prepared to grasp is that Vigano is receiving a fair hearing - but it turns out, as Card Ouellet is pointing out, that the facts and the best of prudent judgement are against him. The matters at hand give rise to strong feelings and prejudices - but like it or not, they can't be decided on this basis.

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

FAIR? Lol!!! Viganò correctly states that when Francis refuses to let journalists do their job: 1) Francis refuses to answers any questions and 2) Francis refuses to release any files or information, then it’s all just a con job.

There is nothing fair about the Peronist occupying the seat of St. Peter. There is literally no chance Bergolio will become a Catholic saint.

F C
2 months ago

Allison Quinn
You didn't answer: Are you a Catholic?

F C
2 months ago

***accidentally repeated post***

Kathleen Houlihan
2 months ago

Facts? None presented by Ouellet. Let's see proof. All that's been provided so far is an indignant essay by Ouellet. Enough already! Prove Vigano wrong. Until then, the arrogant can remain quiet.

F C
2 months ago

Kathleen Houlihan
As Vigano is saying sanctions against McCarrick existed, the burden of proof lies with him. Likewise, if he believed unicorns existed, though I'm not suggesting he does, it would be up to him to prove it - not me or you to prove otherwise. No amount of partisanship or uncivil behaviour can change the dictates of a rational argument.

Scott crawford
2 months ago

"Blasphemy"?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Its funny how "god" disappeared from earth, along with his "wrath", the very same day that the church could no longer torture and murder people for disagreeing with them or speaking out against them.....

Scott crawford
2 months ago

.......

Scott crawford
2 months ago

duplicate

Scott crawford
2 months ago

Duplicate

Carlos Orozco
2 months ago

May Mary, Mother of the Church, which we celebrate today with the titles of Our Lady of Victory (battle of Lepanto, 1571) or of The Rosary, intercede for the Church, so that it constantly and faithfully renew itself following the inspirations from the Holy Spirit.

Douglas Fang
2 months ago

As I said earlier, I feel really glad that Cardinal Ouellet position is very similar to mine, that Vigano has committed the sin of blasphemy, as he basically said that the Holy Spirit has abandoned the Church and let a whole bunch of evildoers destroy it.

Thank you, Cardinal Ouellet, for speaking the truth. “The truth will set you free”. Amen.

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

You can only blaspheme God, not another human. Pope Francis is most certainly not Jesus. So Viganò did not blaspheme. Viganò is right, and thanks to him we’re going to get rid of Team Sodoclericalism. It’s a disgrace that Ouellet chooses to be on that team. Disgusting actually.

Phillip Stone
2 months ago

Oh no! It is clear that persons can only be called to repentance a limited number of times in matters of public scandal and should they steadfastly refuse, they are to be turned over to Satan. see 1 Cor 5:5

No, God is cleansing the community of faithful on earth by first exposing the dirty deeds done in darkness and when it is done, we will be fewer but refined by the fire and strengthened to spread the good news with power.

Issap Carb
2 months ago

Sorry but this doesn't answer the question about rampant homosexuality in the clergy and in the Vatican (the infamous "Gay Lobby") which is the real cause of the chaos and confusion in the Churh right now, apart from some very confusing statement of our current Pope on various issues. Vigano is not "sowing" confusion in the people of God, he's exposing the cause of the confusion ALREADY existing in the Church.

F C
2 months ago

Issap Carb
Do you suppose that shifting the centre of gravity of the Church towards the laity will win happy and uniform resolve, even from people whose entire lives have been about acquiring and exercising prestige and power, as under current arrangements?

For those defending the status quo of abuse of power in the Church, "rampant homosexuality" will be offered as the alternative debate. A winning strategy, handed to them by the sexual abuse scandals, they ruthlessly use (see Vigano's innuendo and slurs in his second letter) because sex, as they know, sells.

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

Ouellet disappoints the faithful, he supports a heretic pope. Oh well, Viganò appealed to Ouellet’s better side which apparently once existed. Now it appears Ouellet has simply given up, sold out.

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

Ouellet disappoints the faithful, he supports a heretic pope. Oh well, Viganò appealed to Ouellet’s better side which apparently once existed. Now it appears Ouellet has simply given up, sold out.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
2 months ago

Outstanding. What a clear and detailed response. Bravo and frankly the case has closed. Vigano and his supporters should come to their senses, show humility and be reconciled to the Vatican, the Curia and of course the Pope

We continue to pray the Rosary daily for the month of October per request of the Holy Father for protection from Satan

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

LOL!!! Dream on, we’re in inning 3 of this sick Bergolian perv show. People aren’t going to let Sodoclerics represent the Bride of Christ. Viganò is outing all the scoundrels. Now we know about Ouellet and where he stands. Keep him away from my kids.

Lisa M
2 months ago

Allison-Good God, what have you been reading? I think you seriously need to stay away from the hate. Read what Pope Francis says don't read what others say he means. You might be surprised. There is absolutely no contradiction in teaching, zero! Just a deeper understanding of mercy and kindness towards humanity. Your hateful tone should indicate to you that you are not on the side of our loving God. Since when would Catholicism promote such attacks on anyone, least our Pope? Kindness is the best indicator of the truth.

Allison Quinn
2 months ago

Lies! Christ is crystal clear in today’s Gospel about divorce, the Apostles asked him TWICE to get it crystal clear. Along comes the heretic Bergolio to contradict God Jesus Christ. It’s not nuance or “development”, it’s satanic heresy. The God of Surprises is not God Jesus Christ. Bergolio is on the wrong team. He’s hard a kind person, he’s the Dictator Pope.

Frank T
2 months ago

Allison, your comments are an insult to every thinking Catholic.
Why is the Holy Father guilty until proven innocent?
If you can't treat the Holy Father and the Curia with respect, then you are always welcomed to leave.

Lisa M
2 months ago

Allison-Again, you are completely wrong. Pope Francis is very clear on marriage. Teaching has never changed. For some, however, they refuse to see that our Lord is also loving and forgiving. Your 'sins of the flesh' by others ideology over all other sin is not representative of our faith. Nor is our faith a focus on other's sins, rather it's a calling of service and living a life by example.

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