On a day when Pope Francis begged “the Lord’s forgiveness” at a shrine in Ireland for the clerical sex abuse scandals that threaten his church, a former top-ranking Vatican official alleged that Francis himself knew about the abuses of a now-disgraced American prelate years before they became public.
The bombshell accusation, leveled by Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican’s top diplomat in the United States between 2011 and 2016 and a staunch critic of Francis, immediately threatened to derail the pope’s already difficult mission to demonstrate his commitment to combating the cover-up of sexual abuse.
Instead, Francis and several other top-ranking Vatican officials were now accused of being part of the cover-ups as Archbishop Viganò called for their resignations.
The Vatican has said it will have no immediate reaction to the letter.
In a detailed, 7,000-word letter published Sunday morning by several conservative Catholic outlets, including The National Catholic Register and Lifesite News, Archbishop Viganò alleges that much of the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians.
Last month, Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal McCarrick, the first such resignation in living memory, after The New York Times and other news outlets published accounts of the alleged abuse and an internal investigation by the American church deemed credible an accusation that he had sexually abused a minor.
But Archbishop Viganò alleges that Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, had already punished Cardinal McCarrick for his abuse of seminarians and priests. The archbishop writes that Benedict banned the American cardinal from publicly celebrating Mass, living in a seminary and traveling to give lectures. – READ MORE