Yesterday, we shared with you the words of Riccardo Cascioli, Editor of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana:
One letter, the letter of Benedict XVI, we have finally succeeded in reading in its entirety. Now we are still missing two letters: the one sent on January 12 by Monsignor Dario Viganò to Benedict XVI, which provoked the response which we have seen. And next, another letter by Monsignor Viganò, in which he submits his irrevocable resignation. We don’t have this last letter yet, but it cannot wait – because it is unthinkable that he could remain calmly in his position after the terrible international loss of face he has caused [for the Vatican].
Today, the Holy See Press Office has announced that the pope has received and accepted the second letter. Msgr. Viganò has resigned his post.
From La Repubblica, we get some detail from his resignation letter*:
Viganò asked the Pope to accept his resignation with a letter signed on March 19. “In the last few days, there has arisen many polemics about my work, that, apart from their intentions, have destabilized the complex and great work of reform which You have entrusted to me in June 2015, and which you can now see, thanks to the contribution of many people on our staff, to complete the final work.
“I thank you” wrote Viganò “for the paternal accompaniment and support which you have offered to me with generosity during this time, and for the renewed esteem which you wanted to show me also in our last meeting. In respect for the persons who have worked with me, however, and to avoid that my person could in some way slow down, damage, or completely block what has been laid down in the Motu Proprio of June 27 2015, “L’atuale contesto comunicativo”, and above all, out of love for the Church and You, Holy Father, I ask you to accept my desire and allow me to leave, allowing me, if You wish, to be free to collaborate in some other way.”
According to La Reppublica, Pope Francis:
replied to Viganò via letter explaining to him that “after having deliberately pondered and carefully pondered the motivations of his request,” he accepted the resignation “not without some effort”. At the same time he asked him to “continue remaining at the Dicastery, appointing him as Councilor for the Communication Department to be able to give his human and professional contribution to the new Prefect to the reform project desired by the Council of Cardinals, approved by me and regularly shared”.
Journalist and Vatican expert Marco Tosatti writes today that the position the now-former prefect has been given “is new, and one may conclude that it has been created “ad hoc” for Msgr Viganò. The position of prefect in light of what happened became objectively unsustainable. Francis has been convinced by his collaborators that Viganò had to be moved aside.”
The question remains open whether this is a resignation-in-name-only, leaving Viganò to continue to lead the Secretariat from his new position, or if he has really lost favor with the pope for his embarrassing handling of the Benedict letter.
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.