The Italian language site of Vatican News posted a story today about a letter Pope Francis wrote to the International Pontifical Marian Academy in which he addresses the issue of freeing the figure of Mary from the influence of the mafia. The Holy Father stressed that, “Marian devotion is a religious-cultural heritage to be safeguarded in its original purity, freeing it from superstructures, powers or conditioning that do not meet the evangelical criteria of justice, freedom, honesty and solidarity”.

The Pontiff noted that the Department of analysis and study of criminal and mafia phenomena was created within this papal academy “to free the figure of the Madonna from the influence of criminal organizations.” Examples of this distorted spirituality include the “bowing down” before statues of Mary in front of the homes of mafia bosses during processions.

In his letter, Pope Francis greeted the promoters, speakers and participants in the study day scheduled for September 18 that has been organized by the International Pontifical Marian Academy in collaboration with ecclesiastical authorities and public institutions. The aim of the initiative is to identify “effective responses” for a necessary “cultural awareness raising operation.”

Francis expressed the hope that Marian shrines will become more and more “citadels of prayer, centers of action of the Gospel, places of conversions, cornerstones of Marian piety.”

Fr. Cecchin gave an interview in Italian to Vatican News: https://www.vaticannews.va/it/papa/news/2020-08/papa-francesco-lettera-accademia-mariana-intervista-cecchin.html


THE VIGANO RESPONSE: In his third letter or testimony, made public today, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano answers accusations made by Cardinal Marc Ouellet in his letter of October 7.

Vigano’s 2400-word missive is more dispassionate than his previous letters and is laid out as if by a lawyer – chronological dates and facts, and responses to what Cardinal Ouellet wrote, noting that basically the cardinal’s letter vindicated his (Vigano’s) original statements. Vigano details Ouellet’s letter statement by statement, answering point by point and even listing what Cardinal Ouellet omitted in his accusatory letter.

Abp. Vigano begins: “To bear witness to corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was a painful decision for me, and remains so.

“But I am an old man, one who knows he must soon give an accounting to the judge for his actions and omissions, one who fears Him who can cast body and soul into hell.

“A judge, even in his infinite mercy, will render to every person salvation or damnation according to what he has deserved.

“Anticipating the dreadful question from that judge — “How could you, who had knowledge of the truth, keep silent in the midst of falsehood and depravity?” — what answer could I give?”

Vigano writes of the pain of realizing “that many of the innocent faithful would be confused and disconcerted by the spectacle of a bishop’s charging colleagues and superiors with malfeasance, sexual sin, and grave neglect of duty. Yet I believe that my continued silence would put many souls at risk, and would certainly damn my own.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano speaks to thousands during the “Walk for Life” rally and march, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in San Francisco. Abortion opponents gathered at Civic Center Plaza in front of City Hall for the 11th annual “Walk for Life West Coast” before marching down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza while chanting and carrying signs that called to end abortion. (AP Photo/Alex Washburn)

The archbishop states: “I have been accused of creating confusion and division in the Church through my testimony. … Most impartial observers, however, will have been aware of a longstanding excess of both, as is inevitable when the successor of Peter is negligent in exercising his principal mission, which is to confirm the brothers in the faith and in sound moral doctrine. When he then exacerbates the crisis by contradictory or perplexing statements about these doctrines, the confusion is worsened.

“Therefore I spoke”

Following is the entire text of Abp. Vigano’s third letter:


The Third Testimony – On the Memory of the North American Martyrs
By Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano
October 19, 2018

To bear witness to corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was a painful decision for me, and remains so.

But I am an old man, one who knows he must soon give an accounting to the judge for his actions and omissions, one who fears Him who can cast body and soul into hell.

A judge, even in his infinite mercy, will render to every person salvation or damnation according to what he has deserved.

Anticipating the dreadful question from that judge — “How could you, who had knowledge of the truth, keep silent in the midst of falsehood and depravity?” — what answer could I give?

I testified fully aware that my testimony would bring alarm and dismay to many eminent persons: Churchmen, fellow bishops, colleagues with whom I had worked and prayed.

I knew many would feel wounded and betrayed.

I expected that some would in their turn assail me and my motives.

Most painful of all, I knew that many of the innocent faithful would be confused and disconcerted by the spectacle of a bishop’s charging colleagues and superiors with malfeasance, sexual sin, and grave neglect of duty.
Yet I believe that my continued silence would put many souls at risk, and would certainly damn my own.

Having reported multiple times to my superiors, and even to the pope, the aberrant behavior of Theodore McCarrick, I could have publicly denounced the truths of which I was aware earlier.

If I have some responsibility in this delay, I repent for that.

This delay was due to the gravity of the decision I was going to take, and to the long travail of my conscience.

I have been accused of creating confusion and division in the Church through my testimony.

To those who believe such confusion and division were negligible prior to August 2018, perhaps such a claim is plausible.

Most impartial observers, however, will have been aware of a longstanding excess of both, as is inevitable when the successor of Peter is negligent in exercising his principal mission, which is to confirm the brothers in the faith and in sound moral doctrine.

When he then exacerbates the crisis by contradictory or perplexing statements about these doctrines, the confusion is worsened.

“Therefore I spoke”
Therefore I spoke.

For it is the conspiracy of silence that has wrought and continues to wreak great harm in the Church — harm to so many innocent souls, to young priestly vocations, to the faithful at large.

With regard to my decision, which I have taken in conscience before God, I willingly accept every fraternal correction, advice, recommendation, and invitation to progress in my life of faith and love for Christ, the Church and the pope.

Let me restate the key points of my testimony.
• In November 2000 the U.S. nuncio Archbishop (Gabriel) Montalvo informed the Holy See of Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual behavior with seminarians and priests.
• In December 2006 the new U.S. nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, informed the Holy See of Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual behavior with yet another priest.
• In December of 2006 I myself wrote a memo to the Secretary of State Cardinal (Tarcisio) Bertone, and personally delivered it to the Substitute for General Affairs, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, calling for the pope to bring extraordinary disciplinary measures against McCarrick to forestall future crimes and scandal. This memo received no response.
• In April 2008 an open letter to Pope Benedict by Richard Sipe was relayed by the Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal (William) Levada, to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, containing further accusations of McCarrick’s sleeping with seminarians and priests. I received this a month later, and in May 2008 I myself delivered a second memo to the then Substitute for General Affairs, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, reporting the claims against McCarrick and calling for sanctions against him. This second memo also received no response.
• In 2009 or 2010 I learned from Cardinal (Giovanni Battista) Re, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, that Pope Benedict had ordered McCarrick to cease public ministry and begin a life of prayer and penance. The nuncio Sambi communicated the Pope’s orders to McCarrick in a voice heard down the corridor of the nunciature.
• In November 2011 Cardinal (Marc) Ouellet, the new Prefect of Bishops, repeated to me, the new nuncio to the U.S., the Pope’s restrictions on McCarrick, and I myself communicated them to McCarrick face-to-face.
• On June 21, 2013, toward the end of an official assembly of nuncios at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke cryptic words to me criticizing the U.S. episcopacy.
• On June 23, 2013, I met Pope Francis face-to-face in his apartment to ask for clarification, and the Pope asked me, “il cardinale McCarrick, com’è (Cardinal McCarrick — what do you make of him)?”– which I can only interpret as a feigning of curiosity in order to discover whether or not I was an ally of McCarrick. I told him that McCarrick had sexually corrupted generations of priests and seminarians, and had been ordered by Pope Benedict to confine himself to a life of prayer and penance.
• Instead, McCarrick continued to enjoy the special regard of Pope Francis and was given new responsibilities and missions by him.
• McCarrick was part of a network of bishops promoting homosexuality who exploiting their favor with Pope Francis manipulated episcopal appointments so as to protect themselves from justice and to strengthen the homosexual network in the hierarchy and in the Church at large.
• Pope Francis himself has either colluded in this corruption, or, knowing what he does, is gravely negligent in failing to oppose it and uproot it.

“I invoked God as my witness”

I invoked God as my witness to the truth of my claims, and none has been shown false.

Cardinal Ouellet has written to rebuke me for my temerity in breaking silence and leveling such grave accusations against my brothers and superiors, but in truth his remonstrance confirms me in my decision and, even more, serves to vindicate my claims, severally and as a whole.

• Cardinal Ouellet concedes that he spoke with me about McCarrick’s situation prior to my leaving for Washington to begin my post as nuncio.
• Cardinal Ouellet concedes that he communicated to me in writing the conditions and restrictions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict.
• Cardinal Ouellet concedes that these restrictions forbade McCarrick to travel or to make public appearances.
• Cardinal Ouellet concedes that the Congregation of Bishops, in writing, first through the nuncio Sambi and then once again through me, required McCarrick to lead a life of prayer and penance.

What does Cardinal Ouellet dispute?
• Cardinal Ouellet disputes the possibility that Pope Francis could have taken in important information about McCarrick on a day when he met scores of nuncios and gave each only a few moments of conversation. But this was not my testimony. My testimony is that at a second, private meeting, I informed the Pope, answering his own question about Theodore McCarrick, then Cardinal archbishop emeritus of Washington, prominent figure of the Church in the US, telling the pope that McCarrick had sexually corrupted his own seminarians and priests. No pope could forget that.
• Cardinal Ouellet disputes the existence in his archives of letters signed by Pope Benedict or Pope Francis regarding sanctions on McCarrick. But this was not my testimony. My testimony was that he has in his archives key documents – irrespective of provenance – incriminating McCarrick and documenting the measures taken in his regard, and other proofs on the cover-up regarding his situation. And I confirm this again.
• Cardinal Ouellet disputes the existence in the files of his predecessor, Cardinal Re, of “audience memos” imposing on McCarrick the restrictions already mentioned. But this was not my testimony. My testimony is that there are other documents: for instance, a note from Card. Re not ex-Audientia SS.mi, or signed by the Secretary of State or by the Substitute.
• Cardinal Ouellet disputes that it is false to present the measures taken against McCarrick as “sanctions” decreed by Pope Benedict and canceled by Pope Francis. True. They were not technically “sanctions” but provisions, “conditions and restrictions.” To quibble whether they were sanctions or provisions or something else is pure legalism. From a pastoral point of view they are exactly the same thing.

In brief, Cardinal Ouellet concedes the important claims that I did and do make, and disputes claims I don’t make and never made.

There is one point on which I must absolutely refute what Cardinal Ouellet wrote.
The Cardinal states that the Holy See was only aware of “rumors,” which were not enough to justify disciplinary measures against McCarrick.

I affirm to the contrary that the Holy See was aware of a variety of concrete facts, and is in possession of documentary proof, and that the responsible persons nevertheless chose not to intervene or were prevented from doing so.

Compensation by the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen to the victims of McCarrick’s sexual abuse, the letters of Fr. Ramsey, of the nuncios Montalvo in 2000 and Sambi in 2006, of Dr. Sipe in 2008, my two notes to the superiors of the Secretariat of State who described in detail the concrete allegations against McCarrick; are all these just rumors?

They are official correspondence, not gossip from the sacristy.

The crimes reported were very serious, including those of attempting to give sacramental absolution to accomplices in perverse acts, with subsequent sacrilegious celebration of Mass.

These documents specify the identity of the perpetrators and their protectors, and the chronological sequence of the facts.

They are kept in the appropriate archives; no extraordinary investigation is needed to recover them.

“I have noted two omissions”
In the public remonstrances directed at me I have noted two omissions, two dramatic silences.

The first silence regards the plight of the victims.

The second regards the underlying reason why there are so many victims, namely, the corrupting influence of homosexuality in the priesthood and in the hierarchy.

As to the first, it is dismaying that, amid all the scandals and indignation, so little thought should be given to those damaged by the sexual predations of those commissioned as ministers of the gospel. This is not a matter of settling scores or sulking over the vicissitudes of ecclesiastical careers. It is not a matter of politics. It is not a matter of how church historians may evaluate this or that papacy. This is about souls. Many souls have been and are even now imperiled of their eternal salvation.

As to the second silence, this very grave crisis cannot be properly addressed and resolved unless and until we call things by their true names. This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons. It is an enormous hypocrisy condemn the abuser, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality. It is hypocrisy to refuse to acknowledge that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and to fail to take the steps necessary to remedy it.

Unquestionably there exist philandering clergy, and unquestionably they too damage their own souls, the souls of those whom they corrupt, and the Church at large.
But these violations of priestly celibacy are usually confined to the individuals immediately involved.

Philandering clergy usually do not recruit other philanderers, nor work to promote them, nor cover-up their misdeeds — whereas the evidence for homosexual collusion, with its deep roots that are so difficult to eradicate, is overwhelming.

It is well established that homosexual predators exploit clerical privilege to their advantage.

But to claim the crisis itself to be clericalism is pure sophistry.

It is to pretend that a means, a new instrument, is in fact the main motive.

Denouncing homosexual corruption and the moral cowardice that allows it to flourish does not meet with congratulation in our times, not even in the highest spheres of the Church.

I am not surprised that in calling attention to these plagues I am charged with disloyalty to the Holy Father and with fomenting an open and scandalous rebellion.
Yet rebellion would entail urging others to topple the papacy.

“I am urging no such thing”

I am urging no such thing.

I pray every day for Pope Francis — more than I have ever done for the other popes.
I am asking, indeed earnestly begging, the Holy Father to face up to the commitments he himself made in assuming his office as successor of Peter.

He took upon himself the mission of confirming his brothers and guiding all souls in following Christ, in the spiritual combat, along the way of the cross.

Let him admit his errors, repent, show his willingness to follow the mandate given to Peter and, once converted let him confirm his brothers (Lk 22:32).

“I wish to repeat my appeal”

In closing, I wish to repeat my appeal to my brother bishops and priests who know that my statements are true and who can so testify, or who have access to documents that can put the matter beyond doubt.

You too are faced with a choice.

You can choose to withdraw from the battle, to prop up the conspiracy of silence and avert your eyes from the spreading of corruption.

You can make excuses, compromises and justification that put off the day of reckoning.

You can console yourselves with the falsehood and the delusion that it will be easier to tell the truth tomorrow, and then the following day, and so on.

On the other hand, you can choose to speak.

You can trust Him who told us, “the truth will set you free.”

I do not say it will be easy to decide between silence and speaking.

I urge you to consider which choice– on your deathbed, and then before the just Judge — you will not regret having made.
October 19, 2018
Memory of the North American Martyrs
+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Tit. Archbishop of Ulpiana
Apostolic Nuncio


The Vatican this morning published a letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in answer to last week’s letter, the second he has written, from Abp. Carlo Maria Vigano that contained, among other things, accusations of coverup in the Vatican at the highest levels in the Abp. McCarrick scandal. Vigano’s second letter specifically named Cardinal Ouellet, by virtue of his office, as possessing information that would prove his – Vigano’s – claims.

The letter was written in French and translated into Italian – both were published.

I offer the following English language translation of that letter. Where you see bold, that was in the original.


Dear Brother Carlo Maria Viganò,

In your last messgae to the media, in which you denounce Pope Francis and the Roman Curia, you exhort me to tell the truth about the facts you interpret as an endemic corruption that has invaded the Church’s hierarchy to its highest level. With due pontifical permission, I offer my personal testimony here, as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, on the events concerning the Archbishop emeritus of Washington Theodore McCarrick and his alleged ties with Pope Francis which are the object of your resounding public denunciation as well as your claim that the Holy Father resign. I write my testimony based on my personal contacts and the documents of the archives of the aforementioned Congregation, which are currently the subject of a study to shed light on this sad case.

Allow me to tell you first, in full sincerity, by virtue of the good relationship of collaboration that existed between us when you were Nuncio in Washington, that your current position seems incomprehensible and extremely reprehensible, not only because of the confusion that it sows in God’s people, but because your public accusations seriously hurt the fame of the Successors of the Apostles. I remember having once enjoyed your esteem and your confidence, but I note that I would have lost the dignity you recognized in me, simply because I remained faithful to the guidelines of the Holy Father in the service entrusted to me in the Church. Is not the communion with the Successor of Peter the expression of our obedience to Christ who chose him and supports him with His grace? My interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, which you lament, is inscribed in this fidelity to the living tradition, of which Francis has given us an example with the recent modification of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the question of the death penalty.

Let’s go to the facts. You say you informed Pope Francis on June 23, 2013 on the McCarrick case in the audience he gave you, as well as many other pontifical representatives whom he met for the first time on that day. I imagine the enormous amount of verbal and written information that he had to gather on that occasion on many people and situations. I very much doubt that McCarrick interested him to the point that you would have us believe, since he was an Archbishop emeritus of 82 years and seven years without an assignment. Moreover, the written instructions prepared for you by the Congregation for Bishops at the beginning of your service in 2011, did not say anything about McCarrick, except what I told you about his situation as Bishop emeritus who had to obey certain conditions and restrictions to because of the rumors about his behavior in the past.

Since 30 June 2010, that is, since I have been Prefect of this Congregation, I have never brought the case of McCarrick to an audience with Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Francis, except in these last days, after his demission from the College of Cardinals. The ex-cardinal, who had retired in May 2006, had been strongly urged not to travel and not to appear in public, in order not to provoke other rumors about him. It is false to present the measures taken against him as “sanctions” decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and canceled by Pope Francis. After re-examining the archives, I note that there are no documents signed by either of the Popes, nor a note of the hearing of my predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Re, who gave the mandate of the Archbishop’s emeritus McCarrick to silence and private life, with the rigor of canonical penalties. The reason is that then, unlike today, there was no sufficient evidence of his alleged guilt. Hence the position of the Congregation inspired by the prudence and the letters of my predecessor and mine that reaffirmed, through the Apostolic Nuncio Pietro Sambi and then also through you, the exhortation to a discreet lifestyle of prayer and penance for his own good and for that of the Church. His case would have been the subject of new disciplinary measures if the Nunciature in Washington or any other source had given us recent and decisive information about his behavior. Like so many, I hope that, out of respect for the victims and the need for justice, the investigation underway in the United States and the Roman Curia finally offers us a critical and comprehensive view of the procedures and circumstances of this painful case, so that such facts are not repeated in the future.

How can it be that this man of the Church, whose incoherence is known today, was promoted on several occasions, up to the very high functions of Archbishop of Washington and then of Cardinal? I am amazed by it myself and I recognize the flaws in the selection procedure that has been carried out in your case. But without going into details, it must be understood that the decisions taken by the Supreme Pontiff rest on the information available at that precise moment and which constitute the object of a prudential judgment that is not infallible. It seems unfair to me to conclude that the persons responsible for the discernment prior to them are corrupt even if, in this specific case, some evidence provided by the testimonies should have been further examined. The prelate in question was able to defend himself with great skill from the doubts raised about him. On the other hand, the fact that there may be people in the Vatican who practice and support behavior contrary to the values of the Gospel in matters of sexuality, does not authorize us to generalize and declare this or that and even the Holy Father himself unworthy and complicit. First of all, do not the ministers of the truth look at themselves from slander and defamation?

Dear Pontifical Representative Emeritus, I tell you frankly that to accuse Pope Francis of having covered this presumed sexual predator with full knowledge of the facts and therefore to be complicit in the corruption that spreads in the Church, to the point of deeming him unworthy to continue his reform as the first pastor of the Church, I find it incredible and far-fetched from all points of view. I am unable to understand how you could convince yourself of this monstrous accusation that does not stand up. Francis had nothing to do with McCarrick’s promotions in New York, Metuchen, Newark and Washington. He dismissed him from his dignity as a Cardinal when a credible allegation of child abuse became evident. I have never heard Pope Francis refer to this so-called great adviser of his pontificate for nominations in America, although he does not hide the trust he accords to some prelates. I sense that these are not your preferences, nor those of friends who support your interpretation of the facts. However, I find it aberrant that you take advantage of the resounding scandal of sexual abuse in the United States to inflict on the moral authority of your Superior, the Supreme Pontiff, an unheard and undeserved blow.

I have the privilege of meeting Pope Francis for a long time each week, to discuss the appointments of the Bishops and the problems that affect their government. I know very well how he treats people and problems: with much charity, mercy, attention and seriousness, as you yourself have experienced. Reading how you conclude your last message, apparently very spiritual, playing a game and casting doubt on his faith, it seemed really too sarcastic, even blasphemous! This cannot come from the Spirit of God.

Dear brother, I would really like to help you rediscover the communion with the one who is the visible guarantor of the communion of the Catholic Church; I understand how bitterness and disappointments have marked your way in service to the Holy See, but you can not conclude your priestly life in an open and scandalous rebellion, which inflicts a very painful wound on the Bride of Christ, whom you claim to serve better, exacerbating division and bewilderment in God’s people! How can I answer your question if not to tell you: come out of your clandestinity, repent of your revolt and return to better feelings towards the Holy Father, instead of exacerbating hostility against him. How can you celebrate the Holy Eucharist and pronounce his name in the canon of the Mass? How can you pray the holy Rosary, St. Michael the Archangel and the Mother of God, condemning him whom you protect and accompany every day in his heavy and courageous ministry?

If the Pope were not a man of prayer, if he were attached to money, if he favored the rich to the poor, if he did not demonstrate an indefatigable energy in welcoming all the poor and giving them the generous comfort of his word and his gestures, if he did not multiply all possible means to announce and communicate the joy of the Gospel to everyone and everyone in the Church and beyond its visible borders, if he did not extend his hand to families, to the abandoned elderly, to those sick in soul and body, and above all to the young people looking for happiness, one might, according to you, perhaps prefer someone else with different diplomatic or political attitudes, but I who have been able to know him well, I cannot question his personal integrity, his consecration to the mission and above all the charism and peace that live within him by the grace of God and the power of the Risen One!

In response to your unjust and unjustified attack on the facts, dear Viganò, I conclude therefore that the accusation is a political frame devoid of a real foundation that can incriminate the Pope, and I repeat that it deeply hurts the communion of the Church. It is to God that this injustice is quickly repaired and that Pope Francis continues to be recognized for what he is: a distinguished pastor, a compassionate and firm father, a prophetic charism for the Church and for the world. May he continue with joy and full confidence his missionary reform, comforted by the prayer of the people of God and by the renewed solidarity of the whole Church together with Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary.

Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

October 7, 2018


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.


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