Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Vatican defends pope against 'blasphemous' coverup claims

What is God trying to say? Synod's youngest cardinal speaks out Pope blames devil for Church divisions, scandals, seeks angel's help
Deanna Wagner | 10 October, 2018, 16:27

Archbishop Vigano had claimed he personally informed Pope Francis in June 2013 that in "2009 or 2010", after Cardinal McCarrick had retired, Pope Benedict imposed sanctions on him because of allegations of sexual misconduct with and sexual harassment of seminarians.

Six weeks after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano threw the papacy into turmoil with his claims about ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the head of the Vatican's bishops office said there is no documentary evidence backing up Vigano's claims that Francis annulled sanctions against McCarrick.

According to Vatican News, Ouellet wrote to Viganò: "Dear Pontifical Representative Emeritus, I tell you frankly that I believe it is incredible and unlikely from many points of view to accuse Pope Francis of having covered up after having full knowledge of the facts of this presumed sexual predator, and therefore of being an accomplice in the corruption rampant in the Church, to the point of considering him unfit to continue his reforms as the first Shepherd of the Church".

Before the meeting, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston responded to additional steps the Pope is taking to address the sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church.

"On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States, I welcome the statement of October 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault", Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, said.

"In response to your unjust and unjustified attack, dear Vigano, I conclude that your accusation is a political setup without any real foundation that could incriminate the pope, and I repeat that it has profoundly wounded the communion of the church", Ouellet wrote.

The McCarrick scandal has thrown the USA and Vatican hierarchy into turmoil, given it was apparently an open secret in some United States church circles that he would invite seminarians to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed.

After stepping down as archbishop of Washington in 2006, McCarrick "had been strongly advised not to travel and not to appear in public, so as not to provoke additional rumours in his regard".

"It is false to present the measures taken in his regard as "sanctions" decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and revoked by Pope Francis", Cardinal Ouellett said in an open letter to Archbishop Vigano.

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He accused Francis of knowing about sexual misconduct by a former USA cardinal with male adult seminarians but not doing anything about it.

Francis accepted McCarrick's resignation as a cardinal in July after a USA church investigation determined that an allegation that he groped a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible.

The first formal sanctions on Archbishop McCarrick were imposed by Pope Francis in June after an investigation found credible allegations of the sexual abuse of minors.

"Imagine the enormous quantity of verbal and written information he received that day regarding many people and situations", the cardinal wrote.

And, unlike what Archbishop Vigano claimed, there are no documents from Cardinal Ouellet's predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, saying that then-Cardinal McCarrick was ordered to live a life of withdrawal and silence under the threat of canonical penalties. "The reason is that back then, unlike today, there was not sufficient proof of his alleged culpability".

Ouellet said in all his meetings with Francis about bishop nominations, he never heard him once refer to McCarrick as a trusted counselor.

"You can not end your priestly life in an open and scandalous rebellion that inflicts a painful wound" on the church and divides its people, he ended his letter.

Secondly the letter mentions "friends" of Mgr Viganò who share his opinions and calls the former nuncio's accusations a baseless "political manoeuvre" and appeals to him to come out "of hiding", repent and retrieve "better feelings towards the Holy Father".