By: Jonathan Nessler
A High-Ranking Official Accuses the Pope of Covering Up for Alleged Sexual Abuse by Cardinal McCarrick
A former high-ranking Vatican official rocked the Catholic Church when he called for Pope Francis to resign. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò says Pope Francis knew about sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for years and covered for him.
Viganò penned an eleven page letter accusing Pope Francis of removing sanctions against McCarrick and promoting him to cardinal despite knowing about McCarrick's alleged sexual misconduct. The sanctions were put in place by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010.
Viganò is a former Vatican ambassador to the United States. Viganò confirmed to the Washington Post that he wrote the letter.
McCarrick resigned last month following a U.S. church investigation that determined that an allegation that McCarrick had sexually abused a minor is credible. A second victim came forward after the resignation. This second victim alleges McCarrick began molesting him when he was eleven years old. Several former seminarians also accuse McCarrick of abuse and harassment when they were in seminary.
Viganò Wrote an Eleven Page Letter Accusing Pope Francis of Cover Up
In his letter, Viganò recalls several interactions with Pope Francis. Viganò writes, in part, about his first interaction with Pope Francis:
Immediately after, the 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.
Viganò's letter states that this interaction took place on June 23, 2013.
Viganò recalls a second meeting with the Pope, writing that the two men met on October 10, 2013:
Not happy with the trap he had set for me on June 23, 2013, when he asked me about McCarrick, only a few months later, in the audience he granted me on October 10, 2013, Pope Francis set a second one for me, this time concerning a second of his protégés, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. He asked me: “What is Cardinal Wuerl like, is he good or bad?” I replied, “Holy Father, I will not tell you if he is good or bad, but I will tell you two facts.” They are the ones I have already mentioned above, which concern Wuerl’s pastoral carelessness regarding the aberrant deviations at Georgetown University and the invitation by the Archdiocese of Washington to young aspirants to the priesthood to a meeting with McCarrick! Once again the Pope did not show any reaction.
Viganò Calls for Pope Francis and Others to Step Down
Viganò accuses the Pope of covering for McCarrick after the Pope learned about the alleged crimes committed by McCarrick.
Whether an institution has notice that one of its priests or employees is committee sexually abuse acts is often an issue in civil liability cases.
Viganò implores, "everyone, especially Bishops, to speak up in order to defeat this conspiracy of silence that is so widespread, and to report the cases of abuse they know about to the media and civil authorities."
On the final page of his letter, Viganò calls for Pope Francis to "set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick's abuses and resign along with all of them."