A former high ranking official in the Catholic Church, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, claims that Pope Francis personally helped cover up the abuses of degenerate predator Cardinal McCarrick. Vigano spilled his guts in an 11-page report, which he says he is publishing now in order to “discharge his conscience” so that he can “present himself to God with a clean conscience.” What follows from there is tantamount to a nuclear bomb dropped right on top of the whole network of cowards and perverts in the upper echelons of the Church.
Vigano spends the first half of his report accusing numerous cardinals and bishops by name. He reserves special (and deserved) scorn for Cardinal Wuerl, who covered up abuses in Pittsburg, saying Wuerl “lies shamelessly.” He names a host of other top officials, indicting them as liars, conspirators, and deviants or defenders of deviants. Finally, he lands on Pope Francis himself.
He claims that Francis knew about McCarrick’s abuses but took no action against him, and actually lifted sanctions that Pope Benedict had placed on him. Vigano says that he personally spoke with Francis about McCarrick, yet Francis still kept McCarrick installed as a public and powerful voice in the Church. In Vigano’s version, Francis only moved against McCarrick once his misdeeds became public knowledge. Vigano called for Francis to “set a good example” and resign from his office.
In the couple of days since these stunning allegations were made, one person mentioned in Vigano’s letter has come forward and corroborated his claims. Also, the National Catholic Register confirmed that Benedict did know about McCarrick and did level sanctions against him. Further, Cardinal Burke and a bishop in Texas have categorized the allegations as credible and called for a thorough investigation.
For his part, incredibly, Pope Francis chose not to respond to the allegations at all. In a deranged statement, he declared that he is “not going to say a word about this.” He actually admonished the public to “draw conclusions” and “make your own judgment.”
A few points about all of this:
1) There are no flattering ways to interpret Pope Francis’ non-denial. Either he is guilty as sin or he has so much disdain and hubris in his heart that he does not think he owes anyone an explanation. I suppose a third possibility is that the man has gone completely senile. But until Vatican doctors testify to the latter option, we are left choosing between the first two or both combined.
Whichever is true, Francis’ answer is shameful. Catholic faithful around the world had already been deeply distressed and heartbroken as they watched their beloved Church gasping and staggering under the weight of cowardice, debauchery, and corruption. Now that the Pope has been implicated, many Catholics have found themselves teetering on the edge of despair. In the face of such scandal and pain, Francis has nothing to offer but smugness. It is disgraceful.
The pontiff has no problem pontificating about “rigid” young Catholics who are too orthodox for his taste. He has no problem mocking Catholics who take seriously the Church’s teachings about birth control, accusing them of breeding “like rabbits.” He even has no problem upending millennia of Church teaching and the dictates of God Himself when it comes to issues like the death penalty. But suddenly he becomes shy when he is asked a simple question about his own conduct?
Well, we must note that Francis’ silence is not unprecedented. When four cardinals sent him a letter expressing “grave concern” over his teachings in Amoris Laetitia, asking him to answer five simple questions in order to clear up the confusion created by the document, Francis ignored them. To this day, he has not answered the questions. This is Francis’ long-established modus operandi: wreak havoc and sow confusion, then arrogantly refuse to clarify anything.
2) If the allegations are true, Pope Francis must resign. He would lack the moral capacity to lead even a local parish in North Dakota, let alone the entire Church. If he will not resign, then he must be pushed out. The message would need to be sent from every good Bishop, every good priest, and every good Catholic lay person, that they will not tolerate such abuses from anyone — even the Pope. Especially the Pope.
3) But that raises the central question: are the allegations true? They are certainly credible, as they come from a reliable and knowledgeable source and are well-detailed and documented. They have been corroborated by at least one witness and aspects of the story have apparently been confirmed by Benedict. Many of the people implicated are known cowards and liars, so Vigano would seem to have the edge in a “he said/they said” debate. Vigano’s story also sounds reasonable and fits into the overall puzzle. These factors do not remove all doubt, but they do remove a significant portion of the doubt.
In order to fully confirm Vigano’s claims, or fully refute them, the following needs to happen: 1) All of the documents, letters, and memos Vigano mentions in his report, which he says will corroborate many of his claims, must be released to the public. 2) Every person in the Vatican hierarchy with any knowledge of the situation must come forward and speak. 3) A full investigation must be conducted. 4) Pope Francis must answer these charges personally, not through statements issued by Vatican lawyers.
If none of these measures are taken, Catholic faithful will have no choice but to assume that the cover-up is ongoing and Francis is involved in it. He will have left them no other option. Pope Francis can no longer be given the benefit of the doubt. If he allows the doubt to fester, then the benefit will go to Vigano. The time for blind acceptance is over. The men at the very top of the hierarchy must be humbled. They must explain themselves. They are not gods. They are servants of God. Now it is time for them to act like it.
Pope Francis once exhorted Christians to “answer for themselves.” Now I exhort him to do the same. And there is no time to waste.