Pope: ‘I will not say a single word’ on Vigano’s allegations of cover-up

During an in-flight press conference as he returned from Ireland, Francis said people should make up their own minds about the ex-nuncio’s claims that the Pope new about allegations against McCarrick.

Pope Francis listens to a question from reporter Anna Matranga of CBS News aboard his flight from Dublin to Rome Aug. 26. Matranga asked the pope about a statement made by Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States, concerning Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis said Sunday that he will not comment on claims by a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. that the pope knew about allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and reinstated him in ministry. The pope said people should make up their own minds about the claims.

Asked whether it was true that Archbishop Carlo Viganò, the statement’s author, had informed him in 2013 about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct with priests and seminarians, and if it was true Benedict XVI had previously imposed sanctions on the former cardinal, the pope said he was distracted by the previous question and would have preferred to talk about the trip.

Speaking aboard the papal plane from Rome to Dublin Aug. 26, Francis said he believes in the “journalistic capacity to draw your own conclusions,” calling it an “act of faith.”

“When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak. But I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you,” he told members of the press.

Asked in a follow up question when he first learned about the abuse allegations against McCarrick, Pope Francis responded, “This is part of the statement. Study it and then I will say.”

The pope was being asked about an 11-page statement published late Saturday, written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016.

Viganò claimed that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick, and not only did he repeal the sanctions imposed by Benedict, but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.”

He claimed that McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, advised the pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego.

The former nuncio, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” called on Pope Francis and other Church officials accused of covering up abuse allegations to resign.

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56 Comments

  1. I made up my mind “Your Holiness.”

    Resign…and stop the “Catholic” theater.

    McCarrick establishment…all the way to the grave.

  2. Translation of Francis’ possible thinking: not responding worked with the dubia challenge…it will work here too.
    Games rather than truthful transparency works in our system for some reason…if I am silent, a certain percentage of Catholics will presume me innocent…that’s all I need in order to continue…time, silence and presumption of innocence by a certain percent…no one kicked out Alexander VI nor Julius III…time and silence.

    • PYes Bill B.the lines are drawn for battle for the soul of the Church with the odds seemingly stacked in favor of the ‘little hiss from hell.” But surely if this Pope manages to ride this crises out it will only be because the rest of failed to put up a fight to oust him by public condemnation and so taking away any little credibility he has left with the vast majority of practicing Catholics. Thankfully Bishop Olmsted of Arizona jumped quickly and bravely into the frey issuing his supportive thoughts on this highly respected Vigano. So far,only half a dozen others did the same. Where are the Chaput’s , my own K VAHN and Gomez? Why delay ?
      Surely there are enough bishops with clout to lead the flock out of this mess and rid of this immoral man as St. Agustine put it:
      “ If a person is without anger where there is just cause is an immoral person.” Well said to you Saint Agustine..
      How could you have known it would one day describe our Pope Francis.
      How is it that our bishops ( too many and for too many years now ) have seen their roles as champians of mediocrity when defence of the Faith was called for – on so so many moral issues. As a word of encouoragement to so many of our frightened leaders listen and take to heart Our Lady’s alleged advice to one chosen soul. “ My children need to know that there is too much talk of the evil one. Know that the heavens are more powerful than this pitiful band of evil ( I think she said Mc Carrick Tobin Cupich -:) ) ones who want only your misery.”
      Time to hear also from Muller / Sara /the African bishops the whole shebang in fact . Run these satanist out of our beloved Church.

  3. Do we see a pattern here? Deflect. Go mum. Rather like the response to the “dubia.” The moral high horse — no self-defense. Honestly…?
    It is irresponsible and contemptable.
    The “code of silence” has finally been broken by an insider. Viganò hit a bullseye and Bergoglio doesn’t know the response required when you are outed and in the crosshairs. Hide under behind your office and a wall of silence will have to do.
    But it won’t.

    • On top of good bishops leading the charge what we need is an unparalled
      media coverage resulting from a sustained outcry from catholic laity in parishes , social media, catholic radio and tv stations. Don’t we at least owe this now to the author of love himself, seeet Jesus ?

  4. Is the Latin belief that no one is above the pope true? Who can compel the bishop of Rome to a canonical inquiry into his conduct?

    • No one can compel him; no one can judge him. There is and cannot be any canonical procedure against him. On this side of the eschaton, he is free to do as he pleases.

  5. That is the oddest response I can imagine. This man who speaks his mind all the time, is challenging the press to figure it out for themselves. And he does so in a way that seems manipulative, almost holding their integrity and faith over their heads. “…he believes in the “journalistic capacity to draw your own conclusions,” calling it an “act of faith.” “When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak. But I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you.”

    What a politician. He’s not saying he won’t ever answer, but holds out the carrot that after they’ve done their duty as a professional and used their faith, then maybe he’ll have something too say. I

    • And his adversaries of note are all older men…Cardinals. By using silence in the dubia situation, he saw two out of four adversaries depart this earth and seemingly the other two fall into less energy. 98% of Catholics are not going to read the allegations. It needs a host of Cardinals or Bishops in revolt or the NY Times etc. which likes him on the death penalty and appointing Tobin to nearby Newark where an lgbtq Mass was held at the cathedral which the nytimes reported on…noting that known couples were allowed to receive Communion. So it has to be Cardinals…their red hats stand for blood and courage…we’ll see. They make about 70-80 k a year til death for a single old man…not easy to let go of if they have no known alternative after a fracas with a Pope. Hopefully some are from wealthy families like Sodano.

    • What smugness. What arrogance.

      You’re right. He does not speak with the voice of a pastor or a shepherd, but rather a politician.

      He cares about nothing and no one but himself.

  6. His not too subtle appeal was for the media to cover for him. He let them know what he expects of them. He expects them to discredit the Vigano letter. He knows they love him. He knows they want to keep him in power. He is just like Obama “All of you voted for me” etc. HE DID NOT DENY ANYTHING. We can assume that it is true.

  7. Pope refuses to say anything on Viganó’s evidence.He angrily told the media that won’t even discuss the facts presented in the former Nuncio’s letter until MAYBE …

    Yet he writes in his tergiversating letter to you and me that “I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means … [implementing] ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable. We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.”

    But when the cover-up lands on his door-step he refuses to give any account of his deeds. He refuses to be accountable.

    If we need any more evidence of the moral turpitude of this man, I simply can’t say what that might be.

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

  8. Stonewalling long term is not a viable option for either the dubia or this situation. In this situation, however, stonewalling will increase the pressure on Pope Francis to resign. As some had recognized before the Vigano’ bombshell, only the Pope is in the position to root out the corruption that permitted ex-Cardinal McCarrick to rise in the American Church’s hierarchy notwithstanding the widespread knowledge within the American hierarchy of the ex-Cardinal’s wrongdoing. Now that Pope Francis is implicated the papacy is now disabled from rooting the corruption out. Thus, so long as Pope Francis is Pope, the McCarrick scandal cannot be effectively addressed. Support for Pope Francis at this point is support for not addressing the problem of bishops who look the other way when it comes to sexual abuse. Given this, it seems to me that Pope Francis is in an untenable position and will have to resign.

  9. So much for transparency. How condescending: ‘it will be good for you!’

    We may hope and pray that the reaction to this papacy will be that the Cardinals feel cornered into electing a holy, orthodox Pope who will restore the Church who has both the energy and will to root out the rot, and that any candidate promoted by or acceptable to Cupich, Farrell and Tobin will be unpalatable and unelectable. May Benedict XVI live to see this fulfilled.

  10. Thomas More at his trial, partly for remaining silent about Henry VIII’s agenda—from A Man for All Seasons:

    “…the maxim is “qui taced consentire…the maxim of the law is ‘Silence gives consent.’ If, therefore, you wish to construe what my silence ‘betokened’, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied.”

  11. New slogans for Pope Francis:
    Lies are greater than truth.
    Corruption is greater than purity.
    Vindictiveness is greater than forgiveness.

  12. Francis is playing a game of buying time coupled with cat and mouse. Instead of presenting a vigorous defense, he’s trying to buy time in the hopes that the media – someone – will punch holes in Vigano’s letter.

  13. If these allegations by Vigano are true (and while they are still allegations at this point, they come from reliable Catholic news sources like the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency, who are loyal to the Magisterium of the Church) then Pope Francis must step down.

  14. When confronted with the evidence by reporter Anna Matranga the Pontiff reverses 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. He’s managed to reverse interpretation of the Gospels exactly by sound bites, suggestive wording, acts, appointments. Nonetheless in criminal proceedings circumstantial evidence can convict when direct evidence is unavailable. Here we have a preponderance of circumstantial evidence. If he doesn’t resign which I’m confidant he won’t he must now be openly resisted.

  15. The Pontiff is simply calling on his enablers in the DLEMM – Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media – to attack Archbishop Vigano and do everything they can to discredit his testimony.

  16. He is setting the example for his bishops to follow: I say nothing, therefore you will say nothing. You will gain nothing and your lives will become miserable if you cross me.
    Church, flock, vows, Holy Orders….be damned.

  17. Pope Bergoglio has nothing to said because there is nothing that needs to be said. As even he himself has cryptically noted, the Vigano letter speaks for itself. For him to deny its accusations would compound his many lies and his hypocrisy, especially when they will all be proven true since, as facts, they can only be true or false.

    If he does not do the just and moral thing and resign while an investigation proceeds, then he needs to be a heretic by whatever the council of cardinals or bishops is required so that his office as pope can be declared vacant.

    What is clear from Vigano’s letter is that the Secretariat of State as well as the entire Curia is a cesspool of corruption. It is also clear that every cardinal and bishop installed by Bergoglio needs to be removed. All of them, Franciscardinals and Francisbishops alike, should also be degraded liturgically from their offices and canonically laicized to the extent they conspired with Bergoglio in covering up McCarrick’s sex crimes or are themselves perverts like McCarrick.

  18. The Pope’s remarks to the journalist are merely code words for: “You know your job. Now DO it.” Their job is to protect the homosexual and liberal culture in the Church, and by so doing, to protect him. And they will indeed “figure it out” and go on the offensive against anyone who attacks their environmentalist, population control, anti-death penalty, pro-Muslim, anti-doctrinal Pope.

  19. I have no doubt Archbishop Vigano is telling the truth. He gives many details that can be confirmed, plus he seems to be speaking for himself, no hidden agenda. His record of a faithful prelate and Bergoglio’s own MO seems to validate Vigano’s letter. But I doubt pope Bergoglio will resign, he is, by his own words a political animal.Where all this leaves us?

  20. Bergoglio’s plane comments are so revealing

    They are the parsings of a politician, not the concerns of a pastor.

    Shame on our Church if we give in to inertia and go back to business as usual with this pit of vipers still in place.

    They must be rooted out.

  21. Bergoglio is using the tactics of the progressive politicos in the U.S., trusting a sympathetic and compliant press to spike the story of his complicity.

    I’m hoping his cynical stratagy won’t succeed because the base of Catholic believers is more engaged than the typical American voter.

    God help us if that’s a miscalculation.

  22. Viganò’s statement — so detailed and so comprehensive — rings true.

    We have monsters in our midst.

    Bergoglio and his crew of McCarrick-inspired bishops and cardinals must ALL step down.

    The next few weeks and months will tell us whether they have gained total ascendency.

    As horrific as this episode is in Church history, it may yet prove to be a great blessing, as the moneylenders are driven from the temple.

  23. It would do “all” well to read the article on http://www.catholicnews.com concerning this … one of the interesting statements about the accuser ..”Archbishop Vigano himself has been accused of suppressing an investigation into alleged homosexual activity committed by retired Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis.” Read the “whole” article before formulating an opinion.
    http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2018/former-us-nuncio-alleges-broad-cover-up-of-mccarricks-misdeeds.cfm Perhaps Pope Francis is letting the free press do their job and check into Vigano’s background and the possible reasons he might have for making less than honest allegations against not only two popes and many others . There is a vast difference between allegations, rumors, and opinions and proven facts. Where is Vigano’s “documented” proof ?

    • Barbara,
      That and others are a skimpy report. You cannot tell what this evidence was and whether or not Vignano saw it as evidence at all or non evidence; and it was about not the offending priest but about how well his Bishop went after him. Then the fact that Vigano criticized AL is irrelevant…tens of thousands of Catholics did.

      The present issue is simple and unaffected by such things. Did Francis hear Vigano when he said to Francis that there was a thick volume of complaints about McCarrick when Vigano said that conversation occurred datewise. Francis could simply answer…”no…that conversation never took place that year”….or “no I didn’t hear him say that”. It’s an untapped conversation…he said/he said. There is no documentation possible unless one man had a personal secretary taking shorthand. You don’t ordinarily tape private conversations in the Church. Francis could simply deny the conversation ever took place that year…or did but he didn’t hear the thick volume part of it. But he did not deny it. He started an unusual game of elusiveness probably to avoid technically lying…which means to me that Vigano is telling the truth. Francis had just finished extolling dialogue at the World Meeting of Families and on the plane, he did the opposite of dialogue when asked a simple question. He could have just said that the thick volume on McCarrick was never mentioned but instead he started this elaborate example of non dialogue. It tells me personally that Francis was trying to avoid a real lie…and that he did hear Vigano say there was a thick volume against McCarrick. I don’t think Francis wanted McCarrick to pick pro gay Bishops….he wanted him to pick very liberal Bishops generally and avoid conservative Bishops…but he ended up with Tobin in Newark by farming out decision making to McCarrick. Francis is missing a chance to be a real saint rather than a cliché saint…by stepping down…something he has no trouble asking others to do. Vigano comes from a wealthy family according to today’s ny times so he is doing something a more dependent Cardinal might not risk. He can take the job or lose it and still be comfortable in old age…so he is not facing the temptation of losing everything by speaking out.

      • First, he needs to admit or deny the very specific allegations. If the Holy Father denies an allegation, then the veracity of the accuser becomes relevant.

    • He says that all, or most of what he refers to is documented & on file at the nunciature and in Rome! Additional elements could also be found in various places, e.g., the file on mccarrick at the congr. for bishops would be able to confirm. Two other sources have now confirmed most of part of the contents. You are basically engaging in character assassination and a double standard- you want us to immediately believe the assertions re: nienstad- but question Vigano’s statements; it also does nothing to refute the substance of Vigano’s claims.

  24. It has reached the point that I can no longer comment regarding this situation for fear of committing a sin. I can only say that I am praying for a good and holy Pope who will consecrate Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart as she requested so long ago. Only she can crush this serpent’s head. Virgo Potens, ora pro nobis!

  25. That anyone would question the veracity of Archbishop Viganò stretches the boundaries of reason. If he were a covert atheist hell-bent on destroying the papacy would he jeopardize his temporal security? Most assuredly no. Why would he when the Bergoglians have advanced that cause further than Hegel, Marx, Lenin and Nietzsche would believe?
    On the other hand if the Archbishop is indeed a believer in Jesus Christ and faithful to His Church would he deliberately squander eternal salvation for a gripe over Church polity? To even a score? What would motivate such testimony as he has provided but to bring the raking light of truth upon a cancer being enabled by complicity or gross incompetence?
    Archbishop Viganò has undoubtedly spoken the truth and done so conscientiously and with fortitude. Pope Francis has employed a perfectly transparent mendacious comportment and has been reduced to silence. One need only provide a list of his cast of characters to provide a clear lens on to his cognitive take on clerical immorality.
    Going mum isn’t going to get this monkey off this pope’s back. We know who he is. When it dawns on him perhaps we will be free of him and some of his ilk will follow him away.

  26. That’s a wise teacher for you! “Research your subject!” Good. Now let’s do it. What are the verifiable facts in Archbishop Vigano’s statement?

  27. He is one of them and now we all know it.

    Resign.?This guy has no intention of resigning and his cabal of sodomites won’t stop until the Vatican is painted like the rainbow and adultery no longer a sin.

    The guessing game for slow learners is well and truly over.

  28. Pope Francis responds, “Read the statement yourself and make your own judgement… I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you,” sounds like, “You’re the expert here — I can’t add anything to what you already know.”

    The latter response is a classic technique used to shut down the conversation.

  29. “But I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you.”

    Even as a professor, if I spoke this way to students they would think I was being a condescending ass. And they would be right.

    • Also, very few have noted how Francis seems to play the victim card here, albeit in rather subtle fashion. It was a strange exchange, and not befitting an adult, never mind the Vicar of Christ.

      • He can’t help it. His favored modes of engagement — if you can call them that — is patronize and pandering. It is always quite “off-putting,” to be kind. Its his act. It is fraudulent and many in the clergy class try to get away with it. Doubtlessly the future will not allow of it. But by then he will be gone.

  30. *If* Vigano’s allegations about the Pope prove true, are there any provisions in the law of the Vatican City State, or in Italian law, to handle cover-ups of abuse — by a Pope or high-ranking Vatician officials? On first one might think: of course not. So why even ask? On the other hand, the Wikipedia article about the law of Vatican City suggests that the issue might be much more complex than it might seem at first.
    The question is merely academic at this point, pending a good deal more journalistic investigation.
    It appears that no one has addressed this issue about the scope of civil law (in Vatican City or Italy). At least I have not seen any attempt to do so. Maybe everyone assumes that a Pope is immune. Maybe that’s correct.
    If so, strengthening the relevant city and state law in these entities with respect to meting out punishments for such things can play some role in deterring future cover-ups, in any papacy or the highest levels of the hierarchy. Plus it could motivate a guilty Pope to resign in such cases. Not to mention applying preemptive pressures on high ranking persons in the Vatican not to engage in cover-ups.
    This may be the only way to challenge the assumption of immunity that probably pervades the highest levels of the hierarchy.
    *The highest levels of the hierarchy have to be held to the same civil procedures as the rank and file priest.*
    Again, though, the journalists must continue to do their work to establish the truth of Vigano’s allegations. Regardless the outcomes of investigations, a revision of law (if necessary) as suggested above could be salutary.

  31. Now I think we are looking at this the wrong way. We have one impression about the report of the bishop but lets do as the holy pope suggests- read! Read! Read! Read!!!- each and every word for hidden meaning. Let it all nuance while sipping cognac or an exquisitely made espresso. Dig! Dig! Dig! Merely reading it is-well…inadmisable. Let it all effervesse. Look for a deeper continuity; the fellas at CU theology dept. are good at this. And for heaven’s sake don’t neglect the Thomistic integration of it all. Dig Dig Dig. And after enough saltatory imbueing by the Holy Spirit you may reach the upper level of understanding like we did. And it will then turn out that the poor bishop was saying something completely different but truly developed from what you first thought was being reported. I mean it works for theology why not accusations??? More cognac anyone?

  32. A Pope resigning in disgrace would excite lefty journalists more then “protecting” a secret homosexual network. It would hurt the Church more in their eyes because they don’t really want to subvert the Church. They want to wipe out religious belief in general.

  33. No one is talking about the possible motivations behind the Pope’s decisions, if they are proven, if he is surrounded by wolves in sheep’s skin, how does it looks like, if he is trying to uncover something even worst and this was the only way, if there is an insidious plan behind, that has been in the making for more than we know, if we can believe beyond our eyes, and if we can let the Holy Spirit enlighten our minds and souls, through fasting and prayer, as a family, as the children of God, as a faithful Church. Then we can know the true and what God is asking of us in this situation. The Peace of Christ to you all.

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