In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.
Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement, simultaneously released to the Register and other media, (see full text below) that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.” Viganò said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.
Archbishop Viganò, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” ended his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.
The Register piece is well-written, so do read the whole thing, but to sum up, a former Vatican envoy says Pope Francis ended sanctions slapped onto him by Pope Benedict XVI for accused sex-abuser Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, let him out of Vatican bad-priest jail, knew about the bad stuff that put him there, made him a trusted advisor in charge of picking out new U.S. archbishops, and now needs to take his own advice and resign for the good of the Church.
Have you ever read an accusation as bad as that one, and not from an anonymous source leaking to the New York Times, but from a well-connected insider with vast experience in the Vatican elites making an open accusation with his name on it? It's a bombshell.
It's as if the accusing archbishop, Carlo Maria Viganò, is taking the pope at his word in his request for people to rock the boat and clean the Church out. The former nuncio has fired away once that request was made.
But Pope Francis only made it to the laity, it must have come as a shock that the people heeding him were inside the clergy itself, sadly, where the actual knowledge was. We parishioners know nothing about the internal shenanigans of the Vatican and its battling archbishops or any of the coverups until we read about them in the news. It makes Pope Francis's appeals seem a bit wan, given how little we know. But then there's the insiders, and just one of them seems to be changing the dynamics.
Now, there's more than a little whiff of politics in this scenario.
We know that Pope Francis has been shunting aside conservatives in high office and appointing leftists in their place. The Knights of Malta battle is Exhibit A. We also know that in Europe, he's been accused of being 'the dictator pope' by other angry conservatives inside the Vatican establishment, something the pope with the image of being the friendly, 'people's pope' doesn't like.
The news that McCarrick was let out of his Vatican doghouse (my argument earlier was that he should have been thrown to the long arm of the law here and been breaking rocks in the hot sun instead) is bad enough. But what's really bad is that obviously McCarrick, who's a leftist, was out there appointing other leftists and quite possibly fellow sexual predators, given that they were the people he trusted, to high Church positions. He was seeding the entire U.S. Church leadership with his kind of people. One example that leaps out at me is the appointment of Archbishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, who this week was pictured on the front page of the Spanish edition of Southern Cross, marching for illegals and their 'right' to break U.S. law. Sound familiar? Some of these guys in the Francis/McCarrick camp just don't like law. (Even when the Catechism of the Catholic Church commands the faithful to obey the laws of their country). McElroy was supposedly appointed by someone from the Vatican, according to this report, and now he's in line to succeed embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl in Washington, D.C.?
Sounds like cronyism run rampant, given how all these guys are connected. McCarrick was picking these guys? And all of them are leftwing? And who knows, bath-house buddies and quite possibly abusers? It boggles the mind. How sad to think that Pope Francis could be at the top of this, knowingly allowing it. I've always sought to give him the benefit of the doubt because the political angle is so strong. The hunkering down we see seems to be a bid to preserve the status quo. Was Pope Francis protecting McCarrick because he wanted all of our bishops and cardinals (who elect the next pope) to be leftwing? This sounds like Chicago-style politics.
I have no idea if Pope Francis will resign. But his letter to the faithful came off as rather weak and spread-the-blamey, which now in light of these accusations it suggests weakness and self-protectiveness. Will he try to weather the mess out? Or will more opponents come forward, and magnify the pressure he's under? And cripes, why the heck did he do that? McCarrick is a disgusting guy who should have been thrown to the long arm of the law years ago. By protecting him, the pressure is on the pope, not McCarrick. He can either admit his error, get rid of the leftists, and ship McCarrick back to the states for prosecution, or else watch his credibility and the credibility of the Church itself drift downward.