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Gerard O’ConnellJune 24, 2024
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, talks with a U.S. bishop during the bishops' meeting in Baltimore in this Nov. 13, 2012, file photo (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec).Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, talks with a U.S. bishop during the bishops' meeting in Baltimore in this Nov. 13, 2012, file photo (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec).

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has stated clearly that he does not intend to cooperate in any way in the extrajudicial trial at the Dicastery of the Doctrine for the Faith, in which he is accused of the crime of schism. He said he “does not recognize” the authority of the dicastery or of its prefect or of Pope Francis, who appointed him.

He declared this in a statement that he first sent to LifeSite News, which published it on June 21, and which he subsequently posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

His statement took as its point of departure an article I wrote (published in America on June 20) that erroneously claimed he had presented himself to the dicastery that afternoon. A correction to the article acknowledging the mistake was published early on the morning of June 21, some nine hours before the archbishop’s statement was published on LifeSite News. But the archbishop, in his statement that contained some false assumptions regarding my article, either took no account or was not aware of this correction.

Archbishop Viganò, for example, said in his response that my report “seem[ed] to have been written even before I [Viganò] made the Vatican document public,” claiming it was part of “very precise strategy, aimed at liquidating my trial with a condemnation that has already been decided by Bergoglio and his zealous collaborator [Cardinal Victor Manuel] Tucho Fernández.” However, my article was written more than two hours after Archbishop Viganò first broke the news on X, and was published four and a half hours later.

In his statement, Archbishop Viganò said: “I therefore wish to make it clear that I did not go to the Vatican yesterday [June 20], and that I have no intention of going to the Holy Office on June 28, and that I have not delivered any statement or document in my defense to the Dicastery, whose authority I do not recognize, nor do I recognize the authority of its Prefect, nor do I recognize the authority of the one who appointed him.”

The prefect is Cardinal Fernández and “the one who appointed him” is Pope Francis.

The dicastery sent him a decree on June 11, signed by Monsignor John Kennedy, the Irish-born secretary (top official) of its disciplinary section, summoning the archbishop to present himself at its office on June 20 at 3:30 p.m., so that he “may take notice of the accusations and evidence concerning the crime of schism of which has been accused.” It specified that this crime involves “public statements which result in a denial of the elements necessary to maintain communion with the Catholic Church: denial of the legitimacy of Pope Francis, rupture of communion with him, and rejection of the Second Vatican Council.”

The decree further advised him that “in the absence of an appearance or a written defense, which must be forwarded to this Dicastery by 28 June 2024, he will be judged in his absence.”

Archbishop Viganò wrote in his June 21 statement in response to my story: “I have no intention of submitting myself to a show trial in which those who are supposed to judge me impartially in order to defend Catholic orthodoxy are at the same time those whom I accuse of heresy, treason, and abuse of power.”

Archbishop Viganò, the former Vatican nuncio to the United States (2011-16) added, “Bergoglio’s ‘church’ is not the Catholic Church, but rather that ‘conciliar church’ born from Vatican Council II and recently rebranded with the no less heretical name of ‘synodal church.’ If it is from this ‘church’ that I am declared to be separated by schism, it will be for me a cause for honor and pride” (emphasis in the original).

The previous day, June 20, the day he was to present himself at the dicastery, an Italian journalist friend of the archbishop, Aldo Maria Valli, published the former nuncio’s response to the Vatican decree. It said that the accusations brought against him by the dicastery are for him “a motive of honor” and said that it’s no accident that they regard his “calling into question the legitimacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the rejection of Vatican II” as schismatic. He said the Second Vatican Council “represents the ideological, theological, moral and liturgical cancer of which the Bergoglian ‘synodal church’ is the necessary metastasis.”

While he claimed “as a successor of the apostles, to be in full communion with the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, with the magisterium of the Roman Pontiffs and with the uninterrupted doctrinal, moral and liturgical Tradition that they have faithfully safeguarded,” he also said, “I refute, I reject and condemn the neo-modernist errors inherent in the Second Vatican Council and in the so-called ‘post-conciliar magisterium’, in particular on the subject of collegiality, ecumenism, religious liberty, the laicity of the state, and liturgy.”

In that response, the former nuncio likened himself to the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who rejected teachings of Vatican II, in which he had participated. Archbishop Viganò recalled:

Fifty years [ago], in this same Holy Office palace, he was summoned and accused of schism for having rejected the Second Vatican Council. His defense is mine, his words are mine, his arguments are mine before which the Roman authorities were not able to condemn him for heresy, and had to wait for him to consecrate bishops to have the pretext of declaring him schismatic, and to revoke the excommunication when he was already dead. The scheme repeats itself also after decades have shown the prophetic choice of Monsignor Lefebvre.

He concluded, among other things, “I reject and condemn the scandals, errors and heresies of Jorge Mario Bergoglio,” and said, “with this ‘Bergoglian church,’ no Catholic worthy of the name can be in communion.”

One Vatican official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on this matter, said: “Archbishop Viganò has crossed the Rubicon. He has blown up the bridges.”

The Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith will wait until June 28 before moving forward with the extrajudicial penal trial. There is no indication yet when a verdict may be expected, but sources say it should not take too long, especially since Archbishop Viganò has said he does not intend to participate in it.

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