Although the pope pledged that he would “not say a single word” about the accusation that he was involved in the cover-up of Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual abuse, he seems unable to stop making oblique references to exactly that situation. There has been a pattern – a theme, if you will – that has overtaken the papal homilies of the past few weeks since the allegations first surfaced. Indeed, since news broke of the 11-page testimony from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò on August 25th, the Roman pontiff – who has committed to an official silence in the face of the accusations from Viganò – has been quite vocal, only veiling his words in the thinnest of biblical allusions.
Since the Viganò revelations, the pope has either directly (or indirectly) referred to this crisis, his critics, and his own actions during no fewer than nine homilies. The themes range from making stark accusations of his critics’ motives and alleged “hypocrisy” – at times comparing them to Satan, the “Great Accuser” – to an apparent equating of his own situation and that of his fellow bishops to that of the innocent Christ during His passion. The following are direct references:
“With people lacking good will, with people who only seek scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction, even within the family: silence, prayer.”
“There are people who go through life talking about others, accusing others and never thinking of their own sins. … A sign that a person does not know, that a Christian does not know how to accuse himself is when he is accustomed to accusing others, to talking about others, to being nosy about the lives of others. And that is an ugly sign.”
“We are on a path, and we are watched by the great accuser who raises up the accusers of today to catch us in contradiction[.]”
“In these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people. The ‘Great Accuser’, as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, ‘roams the earth looking for someone to accuse’.”
“Only the merciful are like God the Father. ‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.’ This is the path, the path that goes against the spirit of the world, that thinks differently, that does not accuse others. Because among us is the ‘Great Accuser,’ the one who is always going about to accuse us before God, to destroy. Satan: he is the ‘Great Accuser.’ And when I enter into this logic of accusing, of cursing, seeking to do evil to others, I enter into the logic of the ‘Great Accuser’ who is the ‘Destroyer,’ who does not know the word mercy, does not know, has never lived it.”
“Our victory is the cross of Jesus, victory over our enemy, the ancient serpent, the Great Accuser[.]” … And the ancient serpent that was destroyed still barks, still threatens but, as the Fathers of the Church say, he is a chained dog: do not approach him and he will not bite you; but if you try to caress him because you attracted to him as if he were a puppy, prepare yourself, he will destroy you.”
Per Vatican News: The Pope brought up that it was also the people who yelled “crucify him.” Jesus then compassionately remained silent because “the people were deceived by the powerful,” Pope Francis explained. His response was silence and prayer. Here the shepherd chooses silence when the “Great Accuser” accuses him “through so many people.” Jesus “suffers, offers his life, and prays,” Pope Francis said.
With regard to the “doctors of the law,” Pope Francis says “they have an attitude that only the hypocrites use often: they are scandalized.”
[And they say, ]“But look, what a scandal! You can’t live like that! We have lost our values. Now everyone has the right to enter into the church, even the divorced, everyone. But where are we?” The scandal of the hypocrites. This is the dialogue between the great love that forgives all, [the love of] Jesus; [and] the love “by halves” of Paul and of this woman, and also our [love], which is an incomplete love because none of us is a canonized saint. Let’s be honest. It is hypocrisy: the hypocrisy of the “just,” of the “pure,” of those who believe they are saved by their own proper external merits. …
And the Church, when it journeys through history, is persecuted by hypocrites: hypocrites within and without. The devil has nothing to do with repentant sinners, because they look upon God and say, “Lord, I am a sinner, help me!” And the devil is impotent; but he is strong with hypocrites. He is strong, and he uses them to destroy, to destroy the people, to destroy society, to destroy the Church. The workhorse of the devil is hypocrisy, because he is a liar. He makes himself out to be a powerful prince, beautiful, and from behind he is an assassin.
Per Vatican News: When an apostle forgets his origins and starts off on a career path, the pope explained, he distances himself from the Lord and become an “official.” An official who perhaps does a good job, but he is not an apostle. He is incapable of “transmitting” Jesus; he is someone who organizes pastoral projects and plans and many other things; he is what he called an “affarista” – a “wheeler-dealer” – of the Kingdom of God because he has forgotten from where he was chosen.
Instead of looking at ourselves, Pope Francis said, we tend to look at others, at their sins, and to talk about them. This, he said, is a harmful habit. It’s better to accuse oneself, the pope suggested, and keep in mind from where the Lord chose us from.
The message delivered on September 21 was particularly interesting, as just two days ago, Archbishop Victor Manuel “Tucho” Fernández – the papal confidant and ghostwriter (known for writing the book Heal Me with Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing) – claimed that Archbishop Viganò was suffering from “megalomania” psychosis. In fact, those considered to be in the pope’s “circle of nine” – as well as others engaged in trying to change the narrative in these scandals – have gone directly after the person of the archbishop and those delivering his message.
Recall that it was only a few days after the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin broke the Viganò story that Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga unjustly and viciously attacked Pentin for his investigative work. Cardinal Maradiaga, who has been embroiled in his own financial and sexual abuse scandals for months, has been one of the closest advisers to this pope. He also has been directly tied to George Soros through the PICO organization. Soros, for his part, has vast connections to funding extreme leftist organizations – including violent ones, such as Antifa. With all this rhetoric, and the resulting vitriol, is it any wonder that Archbishop Viganò took to hiding, reportedly in fear for his life?
Bree A. Dail holds a Masters of Diplomacy, focusing on Conflict Management from Norwich University and a Bachelor of Arts from Christendom College. She is a veteran Naval Surface Warfare Officer, and has published various academic and AP articles on Military Affairs and Policy. She currently works as Consultant for a major Defense Contractor, and is the International/National Coordinator for Rosary Coast to Coast and the Holy League of Nations.