Viganò begs McCarrick to repent as abuse verdict nears

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2011, file photo, then Cardinal Theodore McCarrick prays during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall assembly in Baltimore. A lawyer says the key accuser in the sex abuse case against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has met with New York City prosecutors, evidence that the scandal that has convulsed the papacy is now part of the broader U.S. law enforcement investigation into sex abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)  

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The retired Vatican diplomat who accused Pope Francis of turning a blind eye to the alleged sexual misconduct of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is begging the American to publicly repent for his crimes for the good of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano wrote a letter to McCarrick that was published Monday on an Italian blog, Vigano's way of communicating after he went into hiding following his bombshell accusations against the pope in August.

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In the letter, Vigano noted the Vatican is expected to shortly deliver its verdict against McCarrick after gathering testimony from at least three men who accused him of misconduct.

Vigano wrote that a public show of repentance would be a "gift" to the church to help it heal from the sex abuse crisis.

The McCarrick scandal has thrown the U.S. and Vatican hierarchy into crisis since it was apparently an open secret that the powerful retired archbishop of Washington slept with seminarians.

Vigano wrote that a public show of repentance would be a "gift" to the church to help it heal from the sex abuse crisis.

 

"Time is running out but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly," Vigano wrote. While saying McCarrick's own eternal salvation was at stake, Vigano also said the credibility of the church was also in the balance.

"A public repentance on your part would bring a significant measure of healing to a gravely wounded and suffering church," Vigano wrote. "Are you willing to offer her that gift?"

The McCarrick scandal erupted just before a grand jury in Pennsylvania accused some 300 priests of abusing more than 1,000 children over seven decades, while superiors largely stood by. The combined scandal, plus Francis' own missteps in handling abuse cases, has created a crisis of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy.

Francis has never responded to Vigano's claims, but a top Vatican cardinal, Marc Ouellet, tried to shoot them down.

Vigano added fuel to the scandal when he demanded the pope himself resign over what he said was his role in the McCarrick cover-up. In an 11-page denunciation in August, Vigano said he told Francis of McCarrick's misdeeds in 2013 but that Francis went ahead and rehabilitated him from sanctions imposed by the previous pope.

Francis has never responded to Vigano's claims, but a top Vatican cardinal, Marc Ouellet, tried to shoot them down. Ouellet urged Vigano himself to repent, for having launched such an unprecedented attack against the pope.

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Vincent Couling
3 months ago

Perhaps Vigano should lead by example, and publicly repent [1] of his apparent lack of action on McCarrick during the past two pontificates, especially while serving as Apostolic Nuncio to the US during the pontificate of BXVI, [2] of his reported attempt to defraud his brother of substantial sums of inherited money, and [3] of what appears to be a cover up in the Nienstedt investigation ... see https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/curb-crisis-10-essential-lessons-investigating-church-leaders for details ...

e.g. "After careful consideration, the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese selected the Greene Espel law firm in Minneapolis to conduct an internal investigation into various allegations of misconduct by Nienstedt involving seminarians and others. This highly-respected law firm assigned two of its senior, most-experienced attorneys to conduct the investigation. ... In less than 10 weeks, the Greene Espel attorneys gathered substantial evidence of alleged misconduct by Nienstedt occurring over many years. As described by Fr. Daniel Griffith, a lawyer and then the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese's delegate for safe environment, this included 10 sworn statements of alleged sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and reprisals in response to the rejection of unwelcome advances, all involving Nienstedt. ... These well-documented revelations (and the likelihood of more to come) obviously so disconcerted Nienstedt and others, including his long-time acquaintance, the former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, that they acted to ensure that the Greene Espel investigation would be first curtailed and then prematurely ended. (These actions were extensively documented by Griffith at the time and his July 7, 2014, memo should be required reading for any church leader.) Through their improper intervention, a credible independent investigation was so compromised that it could not be completed. This disastrous development still haunts the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese. ... So, what is the first lesson? Retain the best, most-experienced investigators available, make sure that they are given a mandate to investigate thoroughly and without fear or favor, and then stay true to that mandate."

Phil Lawless
3 months ago

Perhaps McCarrick is not to blame, in the sense of being complicit in sin. He certainly is to blame for the damage he has done to individuals, and for this he deserves punishment. But do you want to stand on the throne of God and still condemn him as God might? I think you might well be disappointed. You cannot conceive the love that God has for any person at all.

Phil Lawless
3 months ago

Perhaps McCarrick is not to blame, in the sense of being complicit in sin. He certainly is to blame for the damage he has done to individuals, and for this he deserves punishment. But do you want to stand on the throne of God and still condemn him as God might? I think you might well be disappointed. You cannot conceive the love that God has for any person at all.

F C
3 months ago

The poor judgement Abp Vigano shows in publishing this letter underscores the wisdom of the Pope Francis not to publicly engage with him.

Vigano is over-reaching by and needs to learn the wisdom of pulling back.

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