In an eleven-page public statement, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former papal nuncio to the United States, has made explosive claims pertaining to the knowledge and complicity of Pope Francis as well as those of Cardinals Wuerl, Sodano, Bertone, and Parolin concerning the abuses perpetrated by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Viganò claims that Pope Benedict XVI had imposed sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick “similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis.” According to Diane Montagna of LifeSiteNews, who provided an English translation of Viganò’s statement in an August 25 report (from which all subsequent excerpts in this story are taken), “Viganò personally spoke with Francis about the gravity of McCarrick’s abuse soon after his election in 2013.”
Aware that the pope was informed about the evil actions of McCarrick shortly after his election, Viganò has taken the unprecedented step of calling for his resignation. “Although he knew that he [McCarrick] was a corrupt man,” says Vigano, the pope “covered for him to the bitter end.”
Montagna writes that the former nuncio says that despite his warnings,
Francis “continued to cover him” 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” who helped him to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.
Archbishop Viganò also implicates Cardinals Sodano, Bertone and Parolin in the cover-up and insists various other cardinals and bishops were well aware, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as Archbishop of Washington D.C.
“I myself brought up the subject with Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions, and I certainly didn’t need to go into detail because it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it,” he writes. Cardinal Wuerl’s “recent statements that he knew nothing about it … are absolutely laughable. He lies shamelessly.”
“Cardinal Wuerl, well aware of the continuous abuses committed by Cardinal McCarrick and the sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict, transgressing the Pope’s order, also allowed him to reside at a seminary in Washington D.C. In doing so, he put other seminarians at risk,” he attests.
Citing his advancing age and the dictates of his conscience, Viganò states that he believes he was obligated to reveal the truth about this matter because “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy.” The former nuncio writes:
To restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ, which is terribly disfigured by so many abominable crimes, and if we truly want to free the Church from the fetid swamp into which she has fallen, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truths we have kept hidden. We must tear down the conspiracy of silence with which the bishops and priests have protected themselves at the expense of their faithful, a conspiracy of silence that in the eyes of the world risks making the Church look like a sect, a conspiracy of silence not so dissimilar from the one that prevails in the mafia. “Whatever you have said in the dark … shall be proclaimed from the housetops.”
Viganò claims he wrote a memo on documents pertaining to the matter of McCarrick’s illicit activities as delegate for pontifical representations in December, 2006. “I wrote to my superiors,” says Viganò, “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Substitute Leonardo Sandri, that the facts attributed to McCarrick by (father Gregory) Littleton (of Charlotte, NC) were of such gravity and vileness as to provoke bewilderment, a sense of disgust, deep sorrow and bitterness in the reader, and that they constituted the crimes of seducing, requesting depraved acts of seminarians and priests, repeatedly and simultaneously with several people, derision of a young seminarian who tried to resist the Archbishop’s seductions in the presence of two other priests, absolution of the accomplices in these depraved acts, sacrilegious celebration of the Eucharist with the same priests after committing such acts.”
Viganò says he ended his memo by repeating to his superiors that he “thought it was necessary to intervene as soon as possible by removing the cardinal’s hat from Cardinal McCarrick and that he should be subjected to the sanctions established by the Code of Canon Law, which also provide for reduction to the lay state.”
Viganò says Pope Benedict did, in fact, impose sanctions on McCarrick, indicating that he was to leave the seminary where he lived in residence, was forbidden from offering public Masses or participating in public meetings, was prohibited from lectures and traveling, and was instructed to live a life of prayer and penance – restrictions that were communicated to McCarrick by then-papal nuncio to the United States Pietro Sambi.
As regards the knowledge of Cardinal Wuerl about his predecessor, Viganò states that he personally “brought up the subject” with him on “several occasions” and that he “certainly didn’t need to go into detail because it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it.” Viganò calls Wuerl’s recent claims of ignorance of the illicit activities of McCarrick “absolutely laughable.” “The Cardinal,” claims Viganò, “lies shamelessly and prevails upon his Chancellor, Monsignor Antonicelli, to lie as well.”
Viganò also says his “conscience requires” that he disclose facts he has “experienced personally” regarding the knowledge of Pope Francis in the McCarrick affair – facts that “have dramatic significance, which[,] as Bishop, sharing the collegial responsibility of all the bishops for the universal Church,” do not allow him to remain silent. “I state here,” says Viganò, “ready to reaffirm them under oath by calling on God as my witness.”
Recounting a story in which he spoke with Francis in a private audience shortly after his election, Viganò says:
[T]he Pope asked me in a deceitful way: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naiveté: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject. But then, what was the Pope’s purpose in asking me that question: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” He clearly wanted to find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not.
It was also clear that, from the time of Pope Francis’s election, McCarrick, now free from all constraints, had felt free to travel continuously, to give lectures and interviews. In a team effort with Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, he had become the kingmaker for appointments in the Curia and the United States, and the most listened to advisor in the Vatican for relations with the Obama administration. This is how one explains that, as members of the Congregation for Bishops, the Pope replaced Cardinal Burke with Wuerl and immediately appointed Cupich right after he was made a cardinal. With these appointments the Nunciature in Washington was now out of the picture in the appointment of bishops. …
Even in the tragic affair of McCarrick, Pope Francis’s behavior was no different. He knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator. Although he knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end; indeed, he made McCarrick’s advice his own, which was certainly not inspired by sound intentions and for love of the Church. It was only when he was forced by the report of the abuse of a minor, again on the basis of media attention, that he took action [regarding McCarrick] to save his image in the media.
Viganò says that in the U.S., a “chorus of voices is rising especially from the lay faithful, and has recently been joined by several bishops and priests, asking that all those who, by their silence, covered up McCarrick’s criminal behavior, or who used him to advance their career or promote their intentions, ambitions, and power in the Church, should resign.”
Driving the point home, Viganò cites the pope himself (emphasis added):
At the Angelus on Sunday, August 12, 2018 Pope Francis said these words: “Everyone is guilty for the good he could have done and did not do[.] … If we do not oppose evil, we tacitly feed it. We need to intervene where evil is spreading; for evil spreads where daring Christians who oppose evil with good are lacking.” If this is rightly to be considered a serious moral responsibility for every believer, how much graver is it for the Church’s supreme pastor, who in the case of McCarrick not only did not oppose evil but associated himself in doing evil with someone he knew to be deeply corrupt. He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert, thus multiplying exponentially with his supreme authority the evil done by McCarrick. And how many other evil pastors is Francis still continuing to prop up in their active destruction of the Church!
Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren. Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock.
In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.
Many more names of high clerics Viganò claims were aware of McCarrick’s abuses are mentioned in the statement, including Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen; Archbishop John Myers of Newark; and Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Leonardo Sandri, Fernando Filoni, and Angelo Becciu.
Please read the full statement provided by LifeSiteNews here for more detailed information.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.