A former Vatican ambassador has challenged the Holy See to say what it knows about a scandal surrounding a disgraced American ex-cardinal and accused Pope Francis of mounting a campaign of ‘subtle slander’ against him.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano penned a new missive, a month after his initial 11-page document sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church.
It was uploaded to a document-sharing site. In the document the archbishop denounced the official Vatican silence about his claims and accused Francis of mounting a campaign of ‘subtle slander’ by referring indirectly to him as Satan in recent homilies.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano (pictured) challenged the Holy See to hand over information
The cleric urged the current head of the Vatican bishops office to speak out, saying he has all the documentation needed to prove years of cover-up by the Vatican about alleged sexual misconduct by ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
‘How can one avoid concluding that the reason they do not provide the documentation is that they know it confirms my evidence?’ the archbishop wrote.
‘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.’
The archbishop threw Francis’ papacy into turmoil last month when he accused Francis of rehabilitating ex-cardinal McCarrick from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI.
He accused more than two dozen current and former Vatican officials, as well as a host of US bishops and papal advisers, of being part of the cover-up and called for Francis to resign over the scandal.
Francis removed Mr McCarrick as a cardinal in July after a US church investigation determined an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible.
Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick (pictured) has been accused of sexual misconduct
After news broke of the investigation, several former seminarians and priests came forward to report that they, too, had been abused or harassed by Mr McCarrick as adults.
The scandal has led to a crisis in confidence in both the US and Vatican hierarchy, since Mr McCarrick’s penchant for seminarians was apparently an open secret in some US and Vatican church circles.
In his first denunciation, published on August 26, the archbishop initially claimed Benedict had imposed sanctions against Mr McCarrick prohibiting him from exercising public ministry, travelling or lecturing on behalf of the church.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano threw Francis’ (pictured) papacy into turmoil last month when he accused Francis of rehabilitating ex-cardinal McCarrick from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI
He has changed his account, however, since the historic record is rife with evidence Mr McCarrick lived his ministry free from any real constraints, and it is unclear what type of sanctions were ever imposed.
But the crux of the archbishop’s claim was that he told Francis of the sanctions against Mr McCarrick on June 23 2013, and that the pope effectively rehabilitated Mr McCarrick and made him a trusted adviser.
Francis has refused to directly respond to the archbishop’s claims, though the Vatican is expected to release some ‘clarifications’ soon.
Francis, however, has referred to the issue indirectly in his morning homilies, speaking of the silence of Jesus before the ‘great accuser’, seemingly comparing his own silence to that of Christ and the archbishop’s accusations to the work of Satan.
Rather than directly responding, the archbishop complained, Francis ‘put in place a subtle slander against me, slander being an offence he has often compared to the gravity of murder.
‘Indeed, he did it repeatedly, in the context of the celebration of the most Holy Sacrament, the Eucharist, where he runs no risk of being challenged by journalists.’
The archbishop claimed Pope Benedict (pictured) had imposed sanctions against now ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick
Francis refused to take questions about the accusations during his in-flight news conference returning from the Baltics on Tuesday.
The archbishop acknowledged he has violated the pontifical secret, the rule of confidentiality that governs much of the inner workings of the Catholic Church.
‘Certainly, some of the facts that I was to reveal were covered by the pontifical secret that I had promised to observe and that I had faithfully observed from the beginning of my service to the Holy See,’ the achbishop wrote.
‘But 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.’
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