CATHOLIC LEADERS BACK POPE’S ACCUSER
WND. 8/31/2018. ART MOORE
The explosive charge by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that Pope Francis covered up sexual abuse by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick should be taken seriously, contend Catholic leaders who know Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. capital. George Weigel, writing for the website of the journal First Things, said he felt obliged to speak about Vigano, which he hoped would help others “consider his very, very serious claims thoughtfully.”
Vigano asserted “corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy.” He said he warned the pope about the numerous allegations against McCarrick, but Francis did not respond. Rather than punish McCarrick, Pope Francis lifted sanctions imposed on the cardinal by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, and made him a trusted adviser.
Weigel, a senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, described Vigano as “a courageous reformer, who was moved out of the Vatican by his immediate superiors because he was determined to confront financial corruption in the Governatorato, the administration of Vatican City State.” Secondly, he said, he has known Viganò to be “an honest man” of “humility and prayer,” meaning “attempts to portray him as someone deliberately making false accusations, someone other than an honest witness to what he believes to be the truth, are unpersuasive.”
Thirdly, Weigel said Viganò is a “loyal churchman” whose “training in the papal diplomatic service would instinctively lead him to make the defense of the pope his first, second, third, and hundredth priority.”
“If he believes that what he has now said is true, and that the Church needs to learn that truth in order to cleanse itself of what is impeding its evangelical mission, then he is overriding his ingrained instincts for the gravest of reasons,” Weigel wrote.
In an interview with the Catholic television network EWTN, canon lawyer Fr. Gerald Murray, who also said he has “high regard” for Viganò, called him “a man who lives the Gospel because he speaks the truth.” “This is very big,” Murray said of the Vigano’s charges. “This is something that is unprecedented in our lifetime, and it is, for me, a crucial moment in the life of the Church.”
Murray said that Viganò’s letter calls into question everything that the Vatican and the American bishops have been doing since 2002 to rid the priesthood of clerical sexual abuse and the stigma it has cast upon the Roman Catholic Church. “Are we going to indeed root out sexual abuse in the life of the church?” Murray asked. “Will the abuse of authority be exposed and punished?”
Francis refused to address Vigano’s allegations on Sunday as he flew back to Rome from Dublin. “I will not say a word about that. I think that the communique speaks for itself,” Francis told reporters. AFP said the timing of the letter’s release, amid a landmark trip to Ireland, has raised speculation of a campaign by conservatives in the church to bring down the progressive pope. An editorial article on the website of the progressive National Catholic Reporter weekly said: “Make no mistake. This is a coordinated attack on Pope Francis.”
However, a former Vatican diplomat insisted Vigano told “the truth.” Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, the former first counsellor at the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., was mentioned by Vigano in his letter as a witness of the 2013 meeting in which Francis was informed of the allegations against McCarrick. Lantheaume, who has now left the Vatican diplomatic corps, declined to give an interview to the Catholic News Agency, but he issued a brief confirmation.
“Viganò said the truth. That’s all,” he wrote to CNA.
The Catholic News agency reported the former nuncio named three different Vatican secretaries of state – Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Tarcissio Bertone and Pietro Parolin – as having either supported McCarrick or failed to confront his behavior.
‘Men of God … did nothing’
The sexual-abuse scandal resurfaced this month with the release of a report by a Pennsylvania grand jury assembled by Attorney General Josh Shapiro. It revealed, based on internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in the state, that more than 300 “predator priests” have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims. “We believe that the real number of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward is in the thousands,” the report says. “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted.”
Categories: False Prophet Update