A small group of journalists accredited to the Holy See Press Office left Rome this morning at 8:30 for Castelgandolfo for a visit to the papal palace and the Vatican Observatory, also known here as the specola. About to board the bus I checked email and saw that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has issued a second letter, following his August 26th 11-page letter accusing the Vatican, in particular Pope Francis, of covering up sex abuse by former American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
We got home in mid-afternoon and I have had time to read that letter but will take more time to make a thoughtful commentary on its contents.
The day was splendid, as was our visit to the observatory’s two telescopes, the papal palace and the Vatican gardens that contain yet a third telescope. I’ll be bringing you that story and some photos in coming days.
I did post two Facebook Live videos. I know I sounded breathless as I narrated the video from the roof of the apostolic palace but no one told us that our bus would be parked in the public lot and that we would have to walk a mile or more up a road, then up steep steps and then up a street to the papal palace – and then walk up five flights of stairs to the roof! Everyone was looking for a place to sit for a minute when we finally got to the roof. Of course it was worth it!! AND we probably walked double that as we made our way to the Vatican gardens where there is another telescope. And then, of course, back all that distance to the bus.
ARCHBISHOP VIGANO ISSUES NEW LETTER ON POPE FRANCIS AND MCCARRICK
Vatican City, Sep 27, 2018 / 03:51 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has issued a new letter addressing his allegation that senior prelates have been complicit in covering up alleged sex abuse by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
Headed with Archbishop Viganò’s episcopal motto, Scio Cui credidi (I know whom I have believed), the letter, dated Sept. 29, was released Sept. 27. (AP photo)
The former apostolic nuncio to the US prefaced his letter giving “thanks and glory to God the Father for every situation and trial that He has prepared and will prepare for me during my life. As a priest and bishop of the holy Church, spouse of Christ, I am called like every baptized person to bear witness to the truth … I intend to do so until the end of my days. Our only Lord has addressed also to me the invitation, “Follow me!”, and I intend to follow him with the help of his grace until the end of my days.” (AP photo)
He noted it has been a month since he released his testimony, “solely for the good of the Church,” alleging that Pope Francis and other high-ranking prelates knew of grave sexual sins committed by Archbishop McCarrick.
He said he chose to disclose the cover-up “after long reflection and prayer, during months of profound suffering and anguish, during a crescendo of continual news of terrible events … The silence of the pastors who could have provided a remedy and prevented new victims became increasingly indefensible, a devastating crime for the Church.”
“Well aware of the enormous consequences that my testimony could have, because what I was about to reveal involved the successor of Peter himself, I nonetheless chose to speak in order to protect the Church, and I declare with a clear conscience before God that my testimony is true.”
Archbishop Viganò affirmed that some of what he revealed is covered by the pontifical secret, but defended himself saying that “the the purpose of any secret, including the pontifical secret, is to protect the Church from her enemies, not to cover up and become complicit in crimes committed by some of her members.”
He called himself a witness “of shocking facts,” and said he believed very grave harm could be avoided “only by divulging the truth.”
“Neither the pope, nor any of the cardinals in Rome have denied the facts I asserted in my testimony,” the archbishop noted; referring to the proverb “silence is consent”, he said that “if they deny my testimony, they have only to say so, and provide documentation to support that denial.”
“How can one avoid concluding that the reason they do not provide the documentation is that they know it confirms my testimony?”
Archbishop Viganò noted that Pope Francis’ response to his testimony was, “I will not say a word,” though “he has compared his silence to that of Jesus in Nazareth and before Pilate, and compared me to the great accuser, Satan, who sows scandal and division in the Church — though without ever uttering my name.”
The former nuncio charged that rather than simply saying, “Viganò lied”, the pope has “put in place a subtle slander against me — slander being an offense he has often compared to the gravity of murder.”
“The pope’s unwillingness to respond to my charges and his deafness to the appeals by the faithful for accountability are hardly consistent with his calls for transparency and bridge building,” Archbishop Viganò asserted.
He said that “the pope’s cover-up of McCarrick was clearly not an isolated mistake,” noting that Francis “has defended homosexual clergy who committed serious sexual abuses against minors or adults.” He gave as examples Fr. Julio Grassi, Fr. Mauro Inzoli, “and his halting of the investigation of sex abuse allegations against Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor.”
Archbishop Viganò called on Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and the other American bishops who met with Francis Sept. 13 to state whether the pope refused “to carry out a Vatican investigation into McCarrick’s crimes and of those responsible for covering them up,” saying that “the faithful deserve to know.”
He also appealed to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Archbishop Viganò said that Cardinal Ouellet “had maintained his dignity … at the beginning of Pope Francis’ pontificate.”
“Later, however, when his work as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops was being undermined because recommendations for episcopal appointments were being passed directly to Pope Francis by two homosexual ‘friends’ of his dicastery, bypassing the Cardinal, he gave up. His long article in L’Osservatore Romano, in which he came out in favor of the more controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia, represents his surrender.”
Addressing Cardinal Ouellet, he said: “before I left for Washington, you were the one who told me of Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick. You have at your complete disposal key documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups. Your Eminence, I urge you to bear witness to the truth.
Archbishop Viganò closed his letter by encouraging the faithful to “never be despondent” and to have faith and complete confidence in Christ.
“This is a time of repentance, of conversion, of prayers, of grace, to prepare the Church, the bride of the Lamb, ready to fight and win with Mary the battle against the old dragon,” he said.
He referred to an image of the calming of the storm from St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, which shows Christ both in the boat asleep, with Peter trying to wake him, and also standing behind the apostles and in command of the boat.
“The scene is very timely in portraying the tremendous storm the Church is passing through in this moment,” Archbishop Viganò said, “but with a substantial difference: the successor of Peter not only fails to see the Lord in full control of the boat, it seems he does not even intend to awaken Jesus asleep in the bow.”
“Has Christ perhaps become invisible to his vicar? Perhaps is he being tempted to try to act as a substitute of our only Master and Lord?”
“The Lord is in full control of the boat,” he concluded. “May Christ, the Truth, always be the light on our way!”
(JFL: In a commentary for the National Catholic Register, Fr. Raymond de Souza notes the following (this is excerpted from his full commentary):
Archbishop Viganò claimed a documentary trail that would verify his claims — documents that are in the archives of the apostolic nunciature in Washington, the Secretariat of State in Rome, and the Congregation for Bishops.
In response to those accusations, Pope Francis resolved to “say not one word” about them, inviting journalists to look into the matter. But the documents will not be released.
Archbishop Viganò’s second testimony, dated Sept. 29, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, reviews the month since his first testimony and makes six key points:
· Viganò insists that he revealed what he did solely for the good of the Church, calling it “the most painful and serious decision that I have ever made in my life.” He declares with a “clear conscience before God that my testimony is true.” Viganò thus rejects the criticism that his testimony was motivated by a desire to settle old scores, or to lead a coup against Pope Francis.
· He confesses to breaking the pontifical secret in revealing what he knows, but claims that the “the purpose of any secret, including the pontifical secret, is to protect the Church from her enemies, not to cover up and become complicit in crimes committed by some of her members.”
· He argues that it would be easy, if he was lying, for the Holy See to assemble to documentation that would demonstrate that. “Neither the pope, nor any of the cardinals in Rome have denied the facts I asserted in my testimony,” Viganò writes. “How can one avoid concluding that the reason they do not provide the documentation is that they know it confirms my testimony?”
– Viganò takes issue with the Holy Father’s daily homilies, which were an attack upon his motivations and character: “Now, the pope’s reply to my testimony was: ‘I will not say a word!’ But then, contradicting himself, he has compared his silence to that of Jesus in Nazareth and before Pilate, and compared me to the great accuser, Satan, who sows scandal and division in the Church though without ever uttering my name.”
· Viganò argues that the alleged rehabilitation of McCarrick by Pope Francis would be consistent with other decisions Pope Francis has taken, especially in regard to a recently reported story that the Holy Father ordered a halt to an investigation of allegations against the late Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, being undertaken by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
· Viganò concludes with a “special appeal” to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, to release the documents that Viganò argues would demonstrate the truth of his testimony.
What is new from the original testimony?
First, Archbishop Viganò has adopted a more narrowly focussed tone, and chosen not to repeat the demand for a papal resignation, a needlessly inflammatory addition. Not that he has backed off his severe criticism of Pope Francis, asking whether “Christ has become invisible to His vicar?”
It appears that, while Archbishop Viganò has toned down some of his rhetoric, he is still willing to unnecessarily judge the motivations and interior disposition of others. It is the actual decisions taken that can, and ought to be, investigated.
Second, the former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., in his “special appeal” to Cardinal Ouellet, has underscored that the key Roman facts about Archbishop McCarrick are relatively easy to get at. Crux has reported that Cardinal Ouellet has given the files to the Secretariat of State, which is preparing some sort of response.
The credibility of that response depends upon access to the documents; a heavily redacted report that obscures more than illuminates will only further damage the Church’s credibility. So while Cardinal Ouellet may not be the one to release the documents, he is in a position to ensure that what is released is accurate.
Third, Archbishop Viganò will gain some sympathy as the first senior prelate to publicly object to the homiletic style of the Holy Father at his daily Masses. The daily castigations of those whom Pope Francis finds lacking have long been an irritant for many prelates and lay faithful around the world, a daily dose of severe judgments, harshly delivered. That the Holy Father would choose to liken Archbishop Viganò and his allies to Satan was thus not surprising, but it was provocative and some will sympathize with the archbishop for pointing that out.
Fourth, Archbishop Viganò takes note of other stories have broken since his testimony. In particular, one of Germany’s most prominent magazines, Der Spiegel, published a very critical cover story on Pope Francis — entitled “Thou shalt not lie” — which focused on his handling of a notorious cases in Buenos Aires, the Grassi case.
Possibility more critical though is new information reported by Marco Tosatti, who in 2017 originally reported that Pope Francis interrupted Cardinal Gerhard Müller during Mass to order an end to a CDF investigation.
Now Tosatti reports that the investigation was into allegations against late Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor. If Cardinal Müller were to confirm that new reporting, it would actually be more devastating that the alleged decisions of Pope Francis regarding Archbishop McCarrick.
Archbishop Viganò thus is arguing that, in addition to his documentary evidence, the claims that he makes fits a pattern.
The net result of the second Viganò testimony is that the path of investigation is now more focused and clear. The Holy See though has rejected the request of the U.S. leadership to take that path. The result is that whatever report the Secretariat of State will produce is now the key to whether the Viganò questions are resolved, or become even more contested.
Abp. Vigano’s second letter was released by Lifesite news: here is a link: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-vigano-releases-new-testimony-responding-to-popes-silence-on-mccar