If Viganò’s “Testimony” is true, Pope Francis has failed his own test

The testimony Archbishop Viganò offers is neither perfectly crafted, nor immune to criticism, but it is wide-ranging, detailed, and devastating.

Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, is pictured at his residence at the Vatican in this Oct. 20, 2011, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has written a letter alleging systematic coverup of the disordered and abusive behavior of the former Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, who has resigned from the College of Cardinals and awaits canonical trial on charges he molested at least one minor. Since that charge became public on June 20th, other accusers have come forward, some of them alleging they suffered abuse in seminary or as priests, while at least one other accuser — the first person McCarrick baptized as a priest — alleges his abuse began when he was aged 11 years.

McCarrick’s behavior appears to have been an open secret, though high-ranking prelates close to McCarrick claim they were unaware of any hint of impropriety. They include McCarrick’s successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and Cardinal Kevin Farrell of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. The records of both men deserve the most careful and relentless scrutiny, but not here.

Here, the concern is the set of assertions Archbishop Viganò has made in his letter, in which he details a nearly two decades’ coverup of McCarrick’s misconduct. It involves three popes and three Secretaries of State, as well as at least a half-dozen other high-ranking Vatican officials.

Archbishop Viganò, who was Nuncio from 2011 to 2016, asserts that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, when he was Secretary of State under Pope St. John Paul II, knew of the allegations against McCarrick. Viganò strongly suggests Sodano was nevertheless instrumental in securing McCarrick’s appointment to the See of Washington, DC. Viganò speculates that Sodano would have been able to pass McCarrick’s nomination across the desk of the weak and sickly Pope St. John Paul II, from whom he would have kept information regarding McCarrick’s habits.

Some knowledge of McCarrick’s proclivities would have come to Cardinal Sodano and other Vatican officials — and should have gone to the Pope — by way of a letter written by Fr. Boniface Ramsey, OP, some time before November of the year 2000, when then-Nuncio to the US Gabriel Montalvo should have forwarded it to Sodano.

In his letter of the year 2000, however, Fr. Ramsey apparently only noted his concern regarding what he had heard from students about McCarrick’s bizarre sleeping arrangements during his frequent excursions to his beach house: that McCarrick would always bring one more guest — generally seminarians or young priests — than there were beds in the house, and then “solve” the logistical difficulty by sharing a bed with one of the visitors. None of that was, strictly speaking, criminal, though it ought to have been enough to kibosh a nomination to any See. It was not.

Viganò asserts that, sometime between 2006 and 2008, Benedict XVI became aware of further, more gruesome allegations against then-Cardinal McCarrick, no later than when news reached him of a memorandum of indictment written by a laicized priest who was himself an abuser. That document detailed sexual aggressions McCarrick and other priests and seminarians of the Newark archdiocese (which McCarrick led from 1986 to 2000), as well as other allegations detailed in a letter by the former cleric, Richard Sipe, whose career focused on the psychological study of clerics’ aberrant and abusive behavior. Viganò says that sometime thereafter, the then-Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, told him Benedict had imposed disciplinary measures on McCarrick.

“I learned with certainty, through Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, then-Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, that Richard Sipe’s courageous and meritorious Statement had had the desired result,” Viganò writes in his testimony. “Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.”

If this rehearsal of the facts is accurate, it raises the question why Benedict should have kept the matter secret, not to mention why McCarrick was allowed to keep his red hat. There are other questions the former Nuncio’s letter raises, as well. It was not accompanied by a dossier containing the many memoranda and other correspondence on which he draws in his construction of events, even though it appears he kept copies of at least some of the documents to which he averts in his letter. At one point, Viganò says:

[A]round April 21-23, 2008, the Statement for Pope Benedict XVI about the pattern of sexual abuse crisis in the United States, by Richard Sipe, was published on the internet, at richardsipe.com. On April 24, it was passed on by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, to the Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. It was delivered to me one month later, on May 24, 2008.

The following day, I delivered a new memo to the new Substitute, Fernando Filoni, which included my previous one of December 6, 2006. In it, I summarized Richard Sipe’s document, which ended with this respectful and heartfelt appeal to Pope Benedict XVI: “I approach Your Holiness with due reverence, but with the same intensity that motivated Peter Damian to lay out before your predecessor, Pope Leo IX, a description of the condition of the clergy during his time. The problems he spoke of are similar and as great now in the United States as they were then in Rome. If Your Holiness requests, I will personally submit to you documentation of that about which I have spoken.”

One wonders where the documentation to which Archbishop Viganò refers, both in the passage above and elsewhere throughout his testimony, might be. If he has it, he should share it — indeed, should have included it in his “testimony”. If he is no longer in possession of the documents, he ought to say so, and say why and how he came to be dispossessed of them. It could be simply that they remain on file with the Nunciature and/or the Secretariat of State. If that is the case, there is a strong case to be made for their immediate release to the public.

In any case, the former Nuncio’s narrative continues to detail further misdeeds, the most damning of which he attributes to the Holy Father.

In essence, Archbishop Viganò claims that Pope Francis knowing of the allegations against McCarrick and aware of the sanctions Benedict had imposed on him, did not act on the allegations and lifted the sanctions, allowing McCarrick to travel freely and function as a priest and a bishop. Reading Viganò’s recollection of his conversations with the Holy Father regarding McCarrick — in June of 2013, only a few months after Francis’s election — one notes that Viganò never says he explicitly mentioned any specific allegation against McCarrick. He also does a good deal of reading between the lines, and attributes motive:

I began the conversation, asking the Pope what he intended to say to me with the words he had addressed to me when I greeted him the previous Friday. And the Pope, in a very different, friendly, almost affectionate tone, said to me: “Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia, (the Pope did not give me the name of the Archbishop) they must be shepherds; and they must not be left-wing — and he added, raising both arms — and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual.” Of course, the logic of the correlation between being left-wing and being homosexual escaped me, but I added nothing else.

Immediately after, the Pope asked me in a deceitful way: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naiveté: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject. But then, what was the Pope’s purpose in asking me that question: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” He clearly wanted to find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not.

Without regard for the question of motive — and granted that he assumes, rather than demonstrates, Francis’s knowledge of the specific kinds of enormities McCarrick is alleged to have committed — a candid reader must nevertheless admit that, unless Archbishop Viganò is weaving the story up out of whole cloth, it is impossible for Pope Francis to claim he had no knowledge of McCarrick’s behavior prior to this past June, when the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York deemed an accusation McCarrick committed numerous acts of sexual assault on an altar boy over a period of years — including one in the sacristy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral during preparations for Christmas Mass, 1971, “credible and substantiated”.

The testimony Archbishop Viganò offers is neither perfectly crafted, nor immune to criticism. In addition to its presumption of motive, it also speculates — not wildly, but — without foundation as firm as one would want with matters of such gravity. Archbishop Viganò’s letter is also also is intemperate at times. In it, Viganàò names several men, at whose roles in the affair he can only guess. Among the men named are Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who, says Viganò, “belong to the homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality,” along with Cardinal Edwin O’Brien and Cardinal Renato Martino. Those claims — without respect to their merit or basis in fact — in the absence of explicit and detailed discussion of their specific pertinence to the narrative, approach slander.

Nevertheless, if the allegations contained in Archbishop Viganò’s letter are correct, then it is difficult to escape the conclusion the former nuncio reaches in his testimony: “In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.”

If there is even a little truth to the allegations, then Francis has failed his own test: he has not practiced what he has preached — transparency and zero tolerance — nor has he tried adequately to become part of the solution, as he supposedly promised to Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton, and José Andrés Murillo, whom he accused of calumny before praising their courage and resolve when his former position became untenable.

(The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CWR editors and other contributors, or of Ignatius Press.)

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About Christopher R. Altieri 190 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, editor and author of three books, including Reading the News Without Losing Your Faith (Catholic Truth Society, 2021). He is contributing editor to Catholic World Report.


  1. Has the author of this article ever seen or heard of the infamous homoerotic mural commissioned by, and depicting, Archbishop Paglia himself? Does it “approach slander” to identify Paglia as a gay lobbyist, or approach willful disconnection from reality, not to? I do agree that, in the heat of the moment, we all ought to be careful not to overstep the boundaries of charity and of factuality. But for this author–well known for giving Pope Francis many benefits, even when there is no doubt–to fault the ex-nuncio for something this minor smacks of reluctance to deal with reality rather then of careful adherence to right reason.

    • The author has lived in Italy for two decades, so he very likely has seen the mural. You are not being fair to his analysis here, or to his other pieces. Giving the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt is not a flaw, but a basic standard of decent thinking and acting.

      • God bless you, Mr. Olson.

        I appreciate your fine commentary and your courage in allowing a diversity of opinion to be expressed here.

        Yes, we should give people the benefit of the doubt. We should also take very seriously the words of Christ:

        Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
        — Matthew 7:15-20

        Bergoglio has generated endless confusion, in stark contrast to the teaching of St. Paul that “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace …” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

        Respected prelates have asked for clarification of Bergoglio-generated confusion in the form of dubia that Bergoglio refuses to respond to.

        Bergoglio is now making modifications to the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty that have — no surprise here — generated massive confusion.

        Under Bergoglio Fr. Martin, a Jesuit priest who blatantly advocates a homosexual priesthood, is a keynote speaker at an international Church event, the World Meeting of Families.

        Bergoglio’s Vatican has invited flaming advocates of population control via coercive abortion policy to speak at Vatican events, thereby bestowing upon them a legitimacy they in no way deserve.

        Bergoglio has criticized Catholics who are open to life and faithful to Church teaching as people who “breed like rabbits.”

        Judging from the comments of the anti-Catholic crowd on secular web sites, Bergoglio has given them more ammunition than they know what to do with and has increased hostility to the Catholic Church dramatically as well as the size of the anti-Catholic crowd.

        I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Where is the good fruit in all this? Can we deny that there has been bad fruit? When does giving Bergoglio the benefit of the doubt become aiding and abetting the harm he is doing? When does it become ignoring the words of Christ about how to determine that there is a wolf in our midst disguised as a member of the flock?

        It is much more difficult to believe Vigano would make up such allegations than it is to believe that he is sincerely telling us what he knows, regardless of how lawyerly he is being as he does so. Being very lawyer-like is what one attempting to deceive would do.

        Having said all that, I take the position of Bishop Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who finds Vigano’s testimony credible and thinks it calls for a thorough investigation. See his remarks on the situation here:

        Bishop Strickland’s Public Statement to the Diocese

        God bless you, my friend.

        • The benefit of the doubt means that it is entirely possible that Bergoglio is cleansing our Church the only way he can do so and survive the exceptionally dangerous deed, by using secular sources to do so, even if it means sacrificing himself.

          While I also disagree with Bergoglio’s appointments and support of those on the left (bad) in our Church, while he also oppressed or opposed those on the right on our Church, it is entirely possible that this was the only way to reveal the evil left that had taken hold of our Church while removing the good (right) in our Church from the crosshairs, and true danger, to themselves and other righteous.

          It is entirely possible that Bergoglio is sacrificing himself and his papacy (i.e legacy) so as to assuage the left, who love him, and lull them into a false sense of complacency, while he sets them all up like sitting ducks, and he then, brilliantly uses the leftist msm to shoot them down, along with themselves and their errant ideology.

          This pope isn’t stupid. He has purposefully brought our Church to this crisis event as a supposed ‘friend and supporter’ of the left, just so that the filth can, finally, be cleansed from our Church, and using the leftist msm as an unwitting ally.

          I cannot erase Bergoglio’s almost ‘prophetic’ words from inside my head, soon after he assumed the papacy- he asked that we pray for him as he takes on this papacy- which might also mean the death of him, or his residency as pope. Bergoglio was and still is a friend to Ratzinger- who abdicated due to his inability to successfully the filth head on. I suspect the two hatched this plan to take the Church back from the evil that has held it since the 60s.

          Since almost nothing Bergoglio says (oftentimes, intentionally misinterpreted or misconstrued) appears to make sense to observers, especially in light of his actions, I will take the position that His Holiness is attempting to drive out the vipers from our Church, the only way he knows how to do so, and that we must trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding him in these very troubling and dangerous times.

        • It is time for the Vatican and Pope Francis to accept responsibility. This cycle of discovery and a vague “mea culpa” have to stop. There is a constant pattern of cover-up. That cannot be denied. I believe Vigano. Who cannot remember the outrage Francis caused in Chile with his behavior over the sex abuse scandal when the people of Chile were expecting him to behave as a proper Pope instead of covering up as usual.

          • This is complete BS. No one covered anything. Please, people do not believe and be so naive about this. The reason why Vigano was posted to the States, because he was “expelled” from the Vatican for his misdeeds. And this is now his personal vendetta against Francis. one or 3 cases of molestation does not make it a sea. It is rather peculiar that “the massive cover up” happens in USA, where Vigano was posted, as opposed to Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia. We must be doing then a very heck of a job covering crimes here in the Baltics

          • “No one covered anything. Please, people do not believe and be so naive about this.”

            That’s an interesting juxtaposition of statements…

        • Thank you for these important, not so well known facts.
          Perhaps the Bergoglio’s hostility toward the Church stems from his deeprooted Marxist beliefs.

        • Bergoglio praised Ms Emma Bonino, a notorious Italian back-street abortionist, as one of Italy’s great ones.
          Bergoglio bestowed on Ms Lilianne Ploumen, a notorious Dutch abortion promotor, a Pontifical Order.
          Bergoglio denied the existence of Hell.
          Bergoglio reinstated the pedophile priest Fr Inzoli in his priestly functions after he was defrocked a few years earlier by Pope Benedict.
          Bergoglio shuts down the Pontifical Institute of Life.
          Bergoglio reboots the John Paul Institute on marriage and family.
          Bergoglio demotes Cdl Müller and Burke from the Vatican.
          Bergoglio discourages the monastic and silent lifestyle.
          Bergoglio equates Islamic terrorists with Catholic fundamentalists.
          Bergoglio suppresses orthodox Catholic religious orders.
          And we could go on.

        • “If there is a union of a private nature, there is neither a third party nor is society affected.”

          This statement alone is enough to separate oneself from Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

      • “The benefit of the doubt” comes with an expiration date, though — probably one no later than Wednesday night. Pope Francis MUST address these allegations in a forthright way if he expects anyone to believe he takes the crisis in the Church seriously and is a true servant of the Church. This, not the color of his shoes, will be the true test of his humility.

        The crimes of priests and bishops that are now being revealed will be used for CENTURIES to attack the Church. Pope Francis has a short time in which he can shape how he will be remembered alongside these crimes — as someone who acted vigorously to cleanse the Church, or as someone who stuck his head in the sand and hoped it would all go away by tomorrow.

      • How much “benefit” of what sort of doubt? A process theologian pope who doesn’t give God the benefit of the doubt when he insists God is still learning how to be God? A pope who aids and abets the abortion holocaust by rehabilitating the most notorious abortionists in the world? A pope who blesses homosexual unions? A pope who blesses cohabiting couples? A pope who trivializes the sacred meaning of the Eucharist? A pope who hysterically defends moral relativism and condemns the very concept of God given moral absolutes? A pope whose concept of mercy is limited to attacking the gift of God given guilt while sustaining mercilessness towards the victims of sin?
        Now you’re justifying excuses to question the veracity of Vigano’s claims as though such things related to Francis are atypical, as though the Francis rehabilitation of the reputation of Cdl. Danneels did not even occur?

    • If the author does go easy on Pope Francis, he seems to show that even a “soft” interpretation of Viganò’s revelatory letter is still an atomic bomb for the pope and his role in all of this. That makes it all the more insidious, as far as I can tell. It shows you cannot escape implicating the pope in what’s going on just by “giving him the benefit of the doubt.”

      • Matthew a good point. His mo is evasion indirection suggestion never definitive committal. Circumstantial evidence can convict in criminal cases when direct evidence is lacking. Here we have a preponderance of circumstantial evidence.

    • The scary thing to me is that we are not seeing IMMEDIATE denials by the various accused, along with demands for proof and theats of demamation charges.

    • While I apologize for the typo (a word in my previous post should have been “than” rather than “then”), I stand by my perception that the article posted here–like others elsewhere since then–give the impression of having been penned by boiled Bergoglian frogs, length of overseas residence notwithstanding. Fairness isn’t always a matter of splitting the difference between two opposing viewpoints; would it have been “fair” for Herr Hitler to have attempted the extirpation of 49-51 percent of the European Jews, rather than all of them? Would it have been unbalanced, therefore, to call for him to halt the Holocaust entirely?

      In the same way, there is nothing intrinsically objective about conservative Catholic commentators casting aspersions on Archbishop Vigano’s testimony (a word which calls for no scare quotes around it, either; we all know what a testimony is). What is needed is unflinching regard for the facts, not positioning ourselves as so overprotective of the putative pope that we are ready to shoot the messenger ourselves.

      You (implicitly) ask whether I know as much as Chris Altieri; and I ask whether Chris Altieri knows as much as Archbishop Vignano. The Archbishop has proffered eyewitness testimony that has been corroborated by another eyewitness and by many character witnesses and facts. If that is not a sufficient standard of proof, what would be? The presumption of innocence outlives the bloody glove in the presence of prejudice alone.

  2. Chris Altieri’s fine defense attorney analysis raises legitimate questions that I noticed in scanning thru the material. It included hearsay and “reading between the lines”. It reminds me of Dems seizing any possible shred of evidence however vague to impeach the President. He’s not going to be in good stead with those who adamantly want Pope Francis gone. What the former Apostolic Nuncio’s documents have going in favor is corroboration of chronology eminent witness and motive. Not the former Nuncio’s motive the Pontiff’s if the reader believes as many of us do that he has an agenda called the New Paradigm.

    • It is hard to fault Vigano for telling us what he thinks about things, what happened between the Pope and iim in private meetings, and giving his honest assessment of the existence of a hoomo mafia in the Vatican. He was simply telling us what he knew. He is telling us what he thinks. This is right and proper, and in the end, this is all anyone can do. He can witness to things as he knows them He knows full well that his document is just the beginning of a very broad expose of rot in the Vatican. Vigano’s take on things will be either supported or rejected by other testimony as it comes out. So I think he did us all a great service. Due to the secretive nature of the homosexual network, people are going to have to let us know their suspicions, their conclusions etc. His document is not the end. it is the start of a process of uncovering the truth.

      • Samton Diane Montagna’s explosive article on Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s allegations is already being questioned as unsubstantiated hearsay and politically motivated by a dissenter. Cardinal Burke well familiar with canon law and the high bar for evidence of a crime recently urged we must nonetheless take Vigano’s allegations to heart. When in flight and confronted by a reporter’s questions the Pontiff reversed the question placing moral responsibility on the enquirer regarding the quality of the evidence. A kind of reverse discernment in which the enquirer is indebted to give the benefit of the doubt. Ingenious? Yes. It would be a rare find to identify evidence of the Pontiff having made a definitive committal to any of the allegations. It’s simply not his m.o. Nonetheless as said elsewhere in criminal proceedings circumstantial evidence can convict when direct evidence is unavailable. Here we have a preponderance of circumstantial evidence. No one can reasonably deny the damaging effect of this Pontificate to practice of the faith.

    • It also appears that the former nuncio has a very good reputation and absolutely no worldly motive to have released this statement.

  3. A true and judicious assessment.

    In 2002, the layman William Buckley broke the log jam on the Cardinal Law case – with an indictment titled: “Lawless in Boston.”

    It is clear that this was a modest indictment.

    What appears to be the case is, and has been for decades, that our Church is “Lawless in Rome.”

  4. So now the attacks on Archbishop Viganó have begun, even here. Cries of “tu quoque” fill the writings of commentators. “His motive, his motive,” casting suspicion even though he has plainly stated his motive: to “discharge my conscience in front of God of my responsibilities as bishop for the universal Church,” adding that he is “old man” who wanted to present himself to God “with a clean conscience.” (https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/08/25/ex-nuncio-says-pope-francis-knew-of-mccarricks-abuse-reports-failed-to-act/ ). But of course, Viganó must be the evil one, while the media-blessed Bergoglio is treated as an angelic being. Those who have followed Bergoglio’s dismay career in the papal office know how totally misguided that slanted view is.

    Clearly, Viganó is acting on the dictates of conscience, while most likely Bergoglio’s defenders are acting out a cover-up. If it’s not a cover-up, then simply release all the documents Viganó refers to and show he’s wrong about them. But, bet on it, you won’t see any documents released.

    The plan is to deflect attention from the truth of what Archbishop Viganó says to his “character.” Then the accusations themselves get short shrift, while personal attacks take center stage. “He slandered me!,” etc.

    So expect Bergoglio to say nothing. It worked for him with the Dubia (Sept 2016), with the filial correction letter about Amoris Laetitia (Sept 2017), with the recent letter from “First Things” magazine about the death penalty changes in the Catechism (August 2018), and a host of other scandals that have plagued his papacy.

    Maybe that’s because he believes in nada. Like Hemingway’s old waiter in “A Clean Well-lighted Place,” he has only nada inside.

    Fiant dies eius pauci, et ministerium eius accipiat alter. (Psalm 109:8)

  5. Archbishop Viganò’s testimony is a confirmation of what we all essentially understood. No one has observed the Danneels, Maradiaga, Pineda, Ricca, Barros, Ticona, et al, debacles over the past five years and did not know the depth of nepotism and corruption in the Bergoglian pontificate from its conception to now. Danneels, Murphy-O’Connor and McCarrick brazenly flaunted the genesis of the Bergoglian pontificate. God willing them and all the vast supporting cast of will now be the means to bring it to its termination.
    God reward Archbishop Viganò.
    Finally double-talk is cast aside

  6. What Vigano says fits into the known facts as put forth by Boniface Ramsey and Richard Sipe. One issue that could be easily settled, if Benedict would address it, is whether he restricted McCarrick.

    I have heard of McCarrick’s behavior for over twenty years, from Boniface, Sipe, and others. Sipe even published it on the internet. I do not believe the denials of Wuerl et al. The odd tilt of the Vatican toward normalizing homosexual behavior also could be explained by Vigano’s testimony.

    As to Francis – his actions have been erratic, at best. Benedict had a better record, and John Paul II’s was worse – does anyone remember Maciel, the “infallible guide of youth”?

  7. One also needs to keep in mind, when examining the crafting and tone of Archbishop Viganò’s testimony, just what it cost him to write it: he has essentially fallen on his sword. Retribution will be swift, beginning with a thoroughgoing assassination of his character.

    He has kept quiet for decades about what he knew in the hopes that the hierarchy, of which he was such an integral part, would rectify the abuses itself. Now, in deference to a higher good (and certainly for no personal gain) he has turned against everything he was part of for all his life.

  8. He doesn’t provide any documentation, but it you notice there is a footnote in Vigano’s testimony in which he states that “all the memos, letters and other documentation mentioned here are available at the Secretariat of State of the Holy See or at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.” It should be possible to check and see if he is lying, presuming he has kept copies of those documents he refers to.

  9. Wasn’t it a supreme court judge who, in an attempt to define pornography, said that he knows it when he sees it (or something to that effect)? The reality is that most of us with some modicum of decency and a half ounce of brains see what’s been going on in the Church with the homomafia starting from the Pope on down. We don’t need an STD to figure out who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. My bet is with Vigano and I’d guess that he has a lot more information to spill if what he’s stated doesn’t get the resignations rolling in. My guess is, too, that he’s been smart enough to keep copies of documents. After all, he knows how the Catholic Church operates.

  10. Considering Vigano’s experience and status, and considering the well-documented homosexualist sympathies of the men he mentioned, I find no reason to be skeptical.

  11. “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here” Captain Renault’s famous quote from the film “Casablanca”
    is what comes to mind when reading Vigano’s “testimony”, as he’s portrayed himself as a victim/martyr here. McCormick was elevated to the See of Washington DC by Saint John Paul II & also elevated to the College of Cardinals by him. Isn’t it ever so slightly disingenuous of Vigano to throw Francis under the bus for this sordid mess?

    • Except that, if Vigano’s allegations are accurate Francis, with full knowledge of McCarrick’s behavior, reinstated him as an adviser and kingmaker. Of JPII, it could at least be said that he was in seriously declining health by the time he elevated McCarrick – although I also would agree that his track record of episcopal appointments was largely dismal. Francis, however, has no such fallback, and has now chosen to stonewall Vigano’s testimony. No wonder he’s been thrown under the bus.

    Dennis Prager
    Aug 9, 2016

    Pope Francis made comments last week that reveal the most important single thing you need to know about the modern world: The most dynamic religion of the last hundred years has been leftism. Not Christianity, and not Islam, but leftism.

    Leftism has taken over the world’s leading educational institutions, the world’s news media and the world’s popular entertainment, and it has influenced Christianity (and Judaism) far more than Christianity (or Judaism) has influenced anything.

    On July 26, two Muslims slit the throat of a French Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, while he was saying Mass in his church.

    Five days later, during his flight returning to Rome from World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, Pope Francis gave a press conference. He was asked about the French priest and Islam by Antoine-Marie Izoard, a journalist with I.Media, a French Catholic news agency. Izoard said:

    “Catholics are in a state of shock — and not only in France — following the barbaric assassination of Father Jacques Hamel in his church while he was celebrating Holy Mass. Four days ago … you told us once again that all religions want peace. But this holy priest, eighty-six years old, was clearly killed in the name of Islam. So I have two brief questions, Holy Father. When you speak of these violent acts, why do you always speak of terrorists but not of Islam? … And then, … what concrete initiative can you launch or perhaps suggest in order to combat Islamic violence?”

    Pope Francis responded:

    “I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence because every day when I open the newspapers I see acts of violence, here in Italy: someone kills his girlfriend, someone else his mother-in-law…and these violent people are baptized Catholics! They are violent Catholics…If I spoke about Islamic violence, I would also have to speak about Catholic violence.”

    The pope of the Roman Catholic Church, when asked about Islamic terror and the slitting of the throat of a Roman Catholic priest by Islamic terrorists, responds that there is also Catholic terror — that a man who was baptized Catholic who “kills his girlfriend” is the moral and religious equivalent of Muslims who engage in mass murder in the name of Islam.

    How can anyone compare:

    –A person who happens to have been baptized Catholic as a child — and may have no Catholic identity as an adult — with an adult who affirms a religious identity?

    –The murder of a girlfriend (most likely a crime of passion) with the ritual murder of a Catholic priest because he was a priest?

    –Individual murders that have nothing to do with any ideology with mass murders committed in the name of an ideology?

    Pope Francis then added:

    “Terrorism is everywhere! … Terrorism … increases whenever there is no other option, when the global economy is centred on the god of money and not the human person, men and women. This is already a first form of terrorism. You’ve driven out the marvel of creation, man and woman, and put money in their place. This is a basic act of terrorism against all humanity. We should think about it.”

    Terrorism grows “when there is no other option”?

    The implication that Islamic terrorism is a desperate act arising from poverty is widely held on the left. But it is false. Most Islamic terrorists come from the middle class or above. In the recent case of the Bangladeshi terrorists, for example, nearly every one of them came from some of the wealthiest families in Bangladesh. And, as is well-known, most of the 9/11 hijackers came from middle- and upper middle-class families.

    Islamic terrorism doesn’t come from economics; it comes from its theology.

    Terrorism grows “when the global economy is centred on the god of money”?

    The pursuit of money and terror have nothing to do with each other. Terrorism grows only when some ideology preaches it. All this statement does is provide an excuse for Islamist terror by blaming the “global economy” and the “god of money” instead of the terrorists and their god of death.

    A “first form of terrorism” is when “the global economy is centred on the god of money”?

    It is a bad thing when money becomes a god, but there is no comparison between the “god of money” and the horrors of Islamic terror. Yazidi women weren’t gang raped and burned alive because of the “global economy” and its “god of money.”

    The only explanation for these statements is that Pope Francis has inherited his theology from Catholicism, but unlike his immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, he has inherited much of his moral outlook from leftism.

    The Western combination of Judeo-Christian morality and political liberalism — with its doctrine of moral accountability, moral absolutes, confronting evil, and political and social freedom — has produced the most moral societies in world history.

    The pope of the Roman Catholic Church should be its greatest advocate. But because of leftism, he isn’t.

  13. I agree that Francis cannot be put on a railroad out of town on the basis of the Vigano testimony alone. But we would be seriously in error if we did not put the Vigano letter into a pattern of the Pope repeatedly employing men of very high rank who have carried a cloud of scandal – abuse and/or corruption – around them. Let’s start with Belgian Cardinal Danneels who publicly called for some kind of Church approved homosexual union that would not be considered marriage but would allow for homosexual sex between partners. More to the point, Danneels was the center of a wide variety of abuse rumors for years. Most importantly, he was up to his neck in the very ugly abuse scandal surrounding Belgian Bishop Roger Vangheluwe. (The case was complex – I urge interested readers to research it – it reads like a movie script.) Danneels, thanks to some overly aggressive Belgian policemen, escaped Belgian prosecution. In 2013 he was a member “St Gallen Group” of cardinals that supported Bergoglio. Danneels was with the new Pope Francis at his first public appearance. He was also invited to attend the Synod on the Family in 2014 – obviously a friendly voice for the Kasper proposal that appeared in Amoris Laetitia. Next up is Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras, chair of the Pope’s “Council of Nine” and a top confidant. Maradiaga has been personally charged with gross financial mismanagement of Church funds. Maradiaga’s top protoge Bishop Pineda was investigated by the Vatican over charges of abuse and financial mismanagement. Francis accepted Pineda’s resignation recently, although refused to say why. Edward Pentin of Catholic Register reported a letter by 50 unnamed seminarians who claimed of a sexually corrupt environment in the largest Honduran seminary – and claimed that no justice was possible because of Maradiaga’s protection of those in charge – just as he had protected Pineda for years. And we have Chile, where there are two serious cases. The Bishop Barros affair has been the Pope’s lowest public moment. Although the Chilean Church warned the Vatican that Barros should not be promoted because of his cover-up of the serial abuser Father Karadima (among others). Francis didn’t listen and accused those warning of abuse scandal of lying. When Vatican investigation proved Francis to be wrong, the Pope ate humble pie in public and received the resignation of every bishop in Chile. All except for Cardinal Errázuriz another member of the Council of Nine. Errazuriz is emeritus and hence did not sign the mass resignation. However while he was an active Cardinal in Chile he refused to meet with abuse victims; refused to intervene in the Karadima affair and was recently found to have collaborated with Chilean Cardinal Ezzati to prevent Juan Carlos Cruz, a Karadima victim and leading Chilean spokesman for victims to sit on a Vatican committee of abuse victims in 2015 – in other words, before the Barros affair. In the past few weeks Ezzati has been accused of And it happens that Cardinal Ezzati is now under legal investigation over a cover up of several cases of abuse by his assistant Rev. Toledo. And, at present, the journal Crux is examining at length the close connection between Errazuriz and the Peruvian lay leader, accused of serious sexual and psychological abuse. Anyone see a pattern?

  14. Please CWR spread thisamong among other Catholic websites and the media. Dont ley this vanish as ussual.Make It news. The man is hidding, he knew allá this years What we all just knew. He need todo be hold acountable for his silence!

  15. Those who are expecting a rapid conclusion to this crisis or this pontificate are in for a lot of frustration. Bergoglio will answer nothing, ridicule those who tell the truth, disparage his adversaries as evil gossipers, and so on. A few dozen bishops, maybe a handful of cardinals, will demand an investigation. It will not come. The Vatican machine, the establishment Catholic press (especially Catholic News Agency) and the secular media will defend Pope Francis against the “homophobes scapegoating good gay priests.” (It has already started in fact.) Bergoglio will continue with his project to remake the Church into something utterly unrecognizable. The question is: what next? My prediction: Bergoglio will live out his days as Pope, having seemingly destroyed the Church, and leaving behind a corrupted College of Cardinals that will elect someone even worse. It is at that point that a small group of faithful Cardinals will finally have the courage to do what has to be done: elect a real pope, and we will be back to rival claimants, possibly for centuries. Destruction is easy and quick. But It takes centuries to build or rebuild a Church and a civilization

  16. In all honesty, can ANY educated, informed, practicing, faithful Catholic say they doubt the truth of what Viganò has written. Was his letter even necessary? With the Pope’s own statements, actions and appointments, was there ever any doubt about the faction to which he belongs?

  17. A Francis resignation could be the “briar patch” exit that Francis has been adverting to for a while that his papacy would be short-lived. He has served his (NWO) purpose and this could be the ticket that gets him off the merry go round with a minimum of fuss. We should watch that we are not being distracted from forcing him out by an *annulment* of his pontificate (because of conclave fraud) rather than allowing him to resign.

  18. The author, for having what appears to be an Italian last name, seems to have a weak grasp on how an impassioned old Italian man would write a letter at a single sitting, in order to clear his conscience. This letter was written Weds, and not a finely crafted legal brief written over the course of a month.

    For a Catholic writer to so sloppily apply the word slander is also a mystery. You confuse American legalism with Church teaching. No prophet, nor did Jesus, wait until they had a bevy of documents under arm in brief case before denouncing sin. Likewise, you seem to think he shoukd have spent an entire career while decrying corruption in stealing documents in self preservation insurance.

    It may come as a suprise, but honest people do not THINK that way. I realize you are trying to put yourself in the place of inquisitors in attacking the document, but, by doing so are olaying right into the hands of those who advise “wait for mature reflection, it will be good for you” doubt sowers.

    You should be defending truth, not acting as an impartial judge swayed only by legalisms.

  19. Today’s Gospel reading:
    Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
    You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
    You do not enter yourselves,
    nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
    You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
    and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
    twice as much as yourselves.

    “Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
    ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
    but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
    Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
    or the temple that made the gold sacred?
    And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
    but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
    You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
    or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
    One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
    one who swears by the temple swears by it
    and by him who dwells in it;
    one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
    and by him who is seated on it.”
    Wolves in sheep skins are scattering the flock and the big bad wolf (Satan) and his pack of demons will pick them off one by one. A towering Babel will muddy the message. Is anything sacred anymore?
    The prayers of the faithful are needed more than ever.

  20. Every day another shoe drops. We ignorant, unwashed laity who fund everything, learn secrets about priests and the hierarchy, “which everyone knew, for decades”. Yet no one in a position to know the facts came forward and told us, the laity, the truth. If you knew that children were being raped and you, with the power to stop it, looked the other way, said noting, that is a mortal sin and a crime. Damn you!

    I do not care what collar you wear, what color hat you wear. You are a liar, a gutless traitor to my nation, my church and my God. Obviously we have many lousy bosses, and sycophants, on both sides of the Atlantic.

    God help us.

  21. The powers-that-be, especially the pope, have certainly given passing thought to the possibility that one of their own might “flip”, might spill his guts to the Post or Times, etc, about all he knows from the last twenty five years, or so.
    One of the pope’s lieutenants may, in the middle of a dark night, “get religion” and melt down…confess everything for the sake of his soul.
    The brave Vigano is retired and an outsider to this Vatican. But if one of the Francis inner-circle breaks, well then, grab the popcorn ‘cause it will be worth the price of admission and then some.

  22. “Those claims — without respect to their merit or basis in fact — in the absence of explicit and detailed discussion of their specific pertinence to the narrative, approach slander.”

    This makes no sense. By definition, slander must be false. If the allegations are true, there is no slander.

  23. Pope Benedict has to speak. He will either confirm or deny this and also this doesn’t make him look good either. Why didn’t he sack McCarrick or punish him publically then no furture Pope would dare bring him back?

    If Pope Francis is guilty then it is even more imperitive for Benedict to speak otherwise some might spin this as a phony coup by “conservatives”. So he must speak.

    • Go online to find National Catholic Register’s August 25th article titled “Ex-Nuncio Accuses Pope Francis of Failing to Act on McCarrick’s Abuse”. There you will find this damning paragraph:

      The Register has independently confirmed that the allegations against McCarrick were certainly known to Benedict, and the Pope Emeritus remembers instructing Cardinal Bertone to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.

      • I read that. My wife showed it to me earlier today in the NCReg. My one problem with that citation is thus “Pope Emeritus remembers instructing Cardinal Bertone to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.”

        That is not helpful or clear. He doesn’t remember? Not good. Also the Pope Emeritus should go on record, directly & in public. Don’t we have anything better then this?

        Maybe something better will come tomorrow? it is kind of a start…kind of…..

  24. Re: “a candid reader must nevertheless admit that, unless Archbishop Viganò is weaving the story up out of whole cloth, it is impossible for Pope Francis to claim he had no knowledge of McCarrick’s behavior prior to this past June, when the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York deemed an accusation McCarrick committed numerous acts of sexual assault on an altar boy over a period of years…“credible and substantiated”.”

    I don’t think the conversation actually establishes much. Viganò claims to have told the Pope that McCarrick, “corrupted generations of seminarians and priests.” How? By teaching them to worship Satan instead of God? Or, more plausibly, by teaching them that homosexuality is not a sin? There are lots of ways to read this, but reading it as an accusation of child abuse is a major stretch. The implication, as I read it, is that McCarrick is an unfit leader, not that he’s a criminal.

    The Catholic Church has been covering up sexual abuse for so many years that it would hardly be surprising if church leaders, like organized crime bosses, developed euphemisms to talk about criminal activity. So “corrupted” could be a euphemism for “had sex with them when they were children,” but that’s just a possibility. Viganò, who reports the conversation, doesn’t say.

    Normally, if a high ranking church official tells the Pope something, we can safely assume that the Pope knows the thing that he has been told, but not in this case. I suspect that the Pope heard some accusations against McCarrick and concluded they were malicious slanders made up by McCarrick’s enemies. When he asks Viganò about McCarrick, he is not actually seeking information about McCarrick; he’s trying to learn whether Viganò is one of the people spreading lies about McCarrick. Once he hears Viganò’s answer, he knows (or thinks he knows) where Viganò fits in Vatican politics and goes onto another topic.

    I have no guess about what the accusations against McCarrick were, other than that they would be something that could be referred to as “corrupted generations of seminarians and priests,” and would likely be false. So it was something other than child abuse, which fails on both counts unless we assume that Viganò was talking in Mafia-like euphemisms.

    My interpretation is similar to Viganò’s interpretation of the conversation, except that Viganò assumes that the Pope concluded that the allegations against McCarrick were true rather than false. That’s possible, but I don’t think it’s particularly likely. The Pope would be unnecessarily putting himself in an awkward spot if he solicited true information about McCarrick that he had no intention of acting on.

    • “I don’t think the conversation actually establishes much. Viganò claims to have told the Pope that McCarrick, “corrupted generations of seminarians and priests.” How? By teaching them to worship Satan instead of God? Or, more plausibly, by teaching them that homosexuality is not a sin? There are lots of ways to read this, but reading it as an accusation of child abuse is a major stretch. The implication, as I read it, is that McCarrick is an unfit leader, not that he’s a criminal.”

      In the conversation, the archbishop references the dossier kept by the Congregation of Bishops. The information he alludes to is surely found in that dossier. So, a particular conversation may not go into specific details, but if the conversation refers to a document that does indeed contain specific details, then that document, and the details contained therein, becomes part of the conversation. If I were to say, “Look at X, and you will see what I mean,” that particular statement seems rather innocuous. But if X contains damning evidence, then that particular statement is not innocuous at all.

  25. I know another old man who might want to clear his conscience before facing his judgement and who could clear up everything. He needs to speak. Now. He still retains a certain title which obligates him to help guard the flock.

  26. In the sixteenth century, the laity were sold indulgences for a few coins, maybe dimes, and this early ripple triggered a bit of push-back and then somewhat of a problem. The eventual Reformation thingy split the Church on both sides of the Alps. And today a gang of infiltrators and enablers, this time, would sell the entire Church for, what? A paradigm [pair o’ dimes!] shift?

    Where are the loyal and un-intimidated Luther-types when we need them? Listen to what the Protestant historian J. H. Merle d’Aubigne reveals about an early moment in dejas-vu history in his encyclopedic History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century (1850).

    “Luther was one day seated in the confessional of Wittenberg. Many of the townspeople came successively, and confessed themselves guilty of great excesses. Adultery, licentiousness, usury, ill-gotten gains [….] He reprimands, corrects, instructs. But what is his astonishment when these individuals reply that they will not abandon their sins?…….Greatly shocked, the pious monk declares that since they will not promise to change their lives, he cannot absolve them. The unhappy creatures then appeal to their letters of indulgence; they show them, and maintain their virtue. But Luther replies that he has nothing to do with those papers, and adds: ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish’ [….] Such is the fact that was, not the cause, but the first occasion of the Reformation” (vol. 1, column 1, p. 94).

    When Pope Francis was elected he humbly volunteered that he was “naïve,” and he asked for prayers for this sinner. When he soon pardoned McCarrick from Pope Benedict XVI’s censure, was he fully complicit with the embedded lavender mafia, or can this act be chalked up as a catastrophically naïve blunder and cheap sale of “mercy”—not a simple or simplistic thing?

    Today the equivalent to “letters of indulgence” is the approval of our co-opted civil society with its ratification of active homosexuality—through the voter-approved oxymoron of gay “marriage” and big-tent gender theory.

    Whatever the final outcome for Pope Francis, following the Cardinal Vigano testimony, his head in a basket is not the needed healing for the current Reign of Error. By itself, this would serve as a deflection for the tribe of well-established barbarians still inside the gate.

    Along the way the Pope has said that he wanted “to make a mess of things”—but with the hope that the Holy Spirit then would sort things out….

    • “In the sixteenth century, the laity were sold indulgences for a few coins, maybe dimes, and this early ripple triggered a bit of push-back and then somewhat of a problem.”

      You might want to look up what an indulgence actually is. It can’t be applied if you have an unabsolved mortal sin on your conscience.

      And the last thing we need are hereiarchs.

      • Leslie,

        Tetzel was the rogue salesman. You are technically correct about indulgences, but that is not the history of indulgence salesmanship in early sixteenth-century Germany.

        • So Luther, instead of explaining and correcting whatever errors Tetzel was teaching and reporting him to his superiors for correction and discipline, made a statement that didn’t explain or teach anything and decided that all indulgences, and the entire Church, were wrong and he would create his own religion in which he would tell God what He was and was not allowed to do.

          We do not need any more Luthers or any other heresiarchs (and I apologize for my previous typo).

  27. My wallet is locked down until Miters roll. We bought the “clean up” in 2002 but as the old song by The Who says, “We won’t get fooled again”.

  28. A sad commentary for the godly. Yet, thank God for men like Vigano.

    Little by little we come to see the show down between the faithful and the present See of Rome. Our hope is in God.

    Psalm 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

    Still, we are enjoined by the Lord to pray for Papa.

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