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Viganò criticizes Pope Francis’ handling of abuse allegations

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò takes aim at two situations described by the former nuncio as “allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then apostolic nuncio to the United States, speaks Nov. 16 during the opening of the 2015 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2019 / 02:47 pm (CNA).- Recently published remarks from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò take aim at two situations described by the former nuncio as “allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure.”

In fact, in both cases described by Viganò, the alleged sexual abuse and initial accusations to Church authorities occurred before Pope Francis became pope in March 2013.

Viganò’s remarks were published July 3 by the LifeSiteNews website, and were apparently previously unpublished excerpts from an email interview with Viganò published June 10 by the Washington Post. When that interview was published, an editor’s note indicated that selected passages were removed from the 40-question interview because Viganò’s claims contained “unverified allegations.”

Both cases mentioned by Viganò have been previously reported in the media.

In the first allegation, Kamil Jarzembowski, then a former student at the Vatican’s minor seminary, accused an older seminarian, Gabriele Martinelli, in 2012 of sexually molesting his roommate over a period of five years. That allegation was reported by the Associated Press in 2018, and by Italian journalists in 2017. The initial handling of the case by the Vatican was severely criticized – Jarzembowski was dismissed from the seminary while the alleged abuser was ordained a priest in 2017.

Viganò’s comments noted previous investigations into the matter.

“The case was immediately covered up by the then-bishop of Como, Diego Coletti, together with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis for Vatican City.  In addition, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who was consulted by Don Stabellini, strongly admonished him to stop the investigation,” Viganò wrote.

The former nuncio did not mention that the Church has since launched a new canonical investigation into the allegations. That investigation was triggered when the alleged victim came forward to make a complaint himself, according to a July 2018 AP report.

Viganò lamented that Jarzembowski’s allegation was not mentioned during a February summit on the clerical sexual abuse of minor. “The summit was therefore terribly disappointing, for it is hypocrisy to condemn abuses against minors and claim to sympathize with the victims while refusing to face up to the facts honestly.”

Following the Vatican’s Feb. 21-24 summit on the sexual abuse of minors, Pope Francis issued child protection laws for Vatican City State and the Roman Curia, including the obligation to report abuse.

On March 29, Jarzembowski, the former seminarian cited in Viganò’s interview responses, commented on the new child protection laws, telling AP that “I see this as something positive.”

The other allegation raised by Viganò concerns Vatican Substitute Secretary of State Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra.

Peña Parra, who as sustituto in the Secretariat of State is in charge of much of the day-to-day oversight of curial work, was among the bishops mentioned in Viganò’s Aug. 2018 “testimony” regarding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. In that document, Viganò claimed that, during his time overseeing personnel for Vatican diplomatic offices, he had received “worrisome information” about Parra, who at that time worked in the Vatican diplomatic corps.

Originally from Venezuela, Peña Parra served in the Vatican’s diplomatic service for 25 years in Kenya, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Honduras, Mexico, Pakistan, Mozambique, and the UN before he was elevated to the curial position of “substitute,” or deputy head of the Vatican Secretariat of State Oct. 15.

Before that appointment, Viganò charged, Pope Francis ignored “a terrifying dossier sent to him by a group of faithful from Maracaibo,” accusing the archbishop of malfeasance.

Viganò added that in 2000 Venezuelan journalist Gastón Guisandes López accused Peña Parra of abusing abusing two minor seminarians in Maracaibo on September 24, 1990, three years before he entered the Vatican’s diplomatic service.

“The case was reported to the police by the parents of the two young men and was dealt with by the then-rector of the major seminary, Rev. Enrique Pérez, and by the then spiritual director, Rev. Emilio Melchor. Rev. Pérez, when questioned by the Secretariat of State, confirmed in writing the episode of September 24, 1990.  I have seen these documents with my own eyes,” Viganò said.

Viganò accused Peña Parra of being “allegedly involved … in the death of two people,” who died in August 1992 because of an electric discharge. “It is not clear whether or not the deaths were accidental,” Viganò added.

“These two accusations were reported to the Secretariat of State in 2002 by the then apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, Archbishop André Dupuy,” he wrote.

Viganò charged that Parra’s elevation to a senior Vatican role is a reflection upon Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Pope Francis.

“Particularly egregious is the behavior of Cardinal Parolin who, as Secretary of State, did not oppose the recent appointment of Peña Parra as Substitute, making him his closest collaborator.”

“If Cardinal Parolin’s responsibilities are grave, even more so are those of Pope Francis for having chosen for an extremely important position in the Church a man accused of such serious crimes, without first insisting on an open and thorough investigation,” Viganò added.

The Italian newsweekly L’Espresso reported Oct. 12 that Peña Parra had been dismissed from a seminary where he studied because he was thought by seminary administrators to have a homosexual orientation.

On Oct. 18, L’Espresso added to its report, noting that Peña Parra had a longtime close relationship with Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, the coordinator of the pope’s C9 Council of Cardinals. Viganò had also noted their friendship.

The magazine also claimed that Peña Parra had developed a friendship with Bishop Juan Jose Pineda, former auxiliary bishop of Maradiaga’s Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, who was removed from office following allegations of sexual misconduct involving seminarians and other adult men.

In the same October report, L’Espresso reported that the Vatican has declined to respond to its questions about Peña Parra.

Viganò said that Pope Francis has done “close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse,” though he did not make mention of the May promulgation of Vos estis lux mundi, the pope’s new procedural norms regarding abuse or cover-up.


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13 Comments

  1. “Humanity in a crisis is generally insensitive to the gravity of the times in which they live.” – Saint (in my opinion) Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It is characteristic of any decaying civilization that the great masses of the people are unaware of the tragedy.” – Saint (in my opinion) Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world; the great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive process going on, because they have lost the vision of the heights from which they have fallen.” – Saint (in my opinion) Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

      • So information can come out! It SHOULD prompt reaction my the Roman Curia. THIS is why it was ans should be published! This is a different time, my friend. Silence is not an option when truth is compromised. Let’s think about that has been happening!

  2. It is interesting to see the different approaches to this story taken by this site and by LifeSite News. Is there no link to the text here because there is some doubt about its authenticity? Have you attempted to confirm the authenticity of the text with the Washington Post? The LifeSite News piece describes Pena Parra as Deputy Secretary of State and therefore in some sense the #3 man at the Vatican. Is this an exaggeration? On your site he is referred to simply as “‘sustituto’ in the Secretariat of State”, which sounds less important.

  3. Lifesite news is not a reliable source of information. You would do better to report on the state of migrants in your country and the call of the gospel to help those who are in need. Do unto others as you would have done to you.Jesus was a refugee and your country as a Christian country needs to lead the way in showing the world how to treat the poor and marginalized. God blessed America as a place of freedom and democracy. Where is your Catholic Church on the issues that matter; the environmental crisis, quality of life of the poor and marginalized, helping the refugee….
    Blessings on your day

    • “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” That works both ways. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods” is still valid. The vast majority of illegal aliens are not in life threatening situations, but are on some type of welfare in their host’s country. And aren’t the well off people in the countries from which illegal aliens emigrate also responsible to help their countrymen? Why aren’t they called to account?

      The citizens of the USA donate large percentages of their treasure to help others. We also innovate and oversee production of much of the wealth necessary to sustain our large global population. But we will not be able to continue to do so if our nation (i.e. culture, religion, language, traditions, ethnicities) is continuously subverted by parasitic behaviors.

      • It’s good to see a Christian man brave enough to speak out against parasitic humans, with parasitic behaviors. For too long we have been coddling these illegal humans with food and water!

    • Well, you have ticked off several “causes of the month,” haven’t you? Fortunately, there is not any one Catholic position on any of these issues. There is a Catholic position on homosexuality. It is evil.

    • “…issues that matter…”

      The primary function and reason for its existence is to spread the Good News.

      The Church is not a state social institution. Nor a state actor to solve the myriad problems of the nation. It does many good works…but that is not its primary function. The more the Church involves itself in what becomes weaponized politics, the further away it is from its God-given mission.

      The environment and immigration matter because they have a moral aspect relative to the Church but not as a primary objective.

  4. The whole mystery , in the depth of human hearts as to how one approaches God and His mercy – would it be what God intends us to be more aware of in these
    times ! Those who focus again and again on the fallen – would it even be a signal , about areas that one has not forgiven others , has not truly taken in His mercy for oneself or other !
    Not hard to do either , since bitterness and spirits behind same can do such to any .
    On the Other hand , those who erred , if they had enough of the poverty of
    spirit ,to have truly repented , and thus accepted the mercy , seeing with God , no longer one’s evil thereafter , but only gratitude for His mercy – the good book
    here mentions same , how God , once we repent , no longer see things in the linear manner like we humans do but has applied His mercy to the moment of the fall –
    https://www.ignatius.com/Eternity-in-the-Midst-of-Time-P3159.aspx .
    Sin , having its roots in not trusting in God enough to know He would meet all our needs can make it difficult to trust enough , in that kind of mercy , instead easily falling for the accusing spirits and its effects .
    Would it just be that , God has raised some of these persons who made mistakes , bad ones too, yet , were allowed to even thrive , in one sense , were they meant to help many in these times of all kinds of sinful occasions in our culture , to not lose heart , that The Church , our Lord can help to deal with same, without seeing one only as a broken useless vessel for ever !
    And who would know as to how to gauge the effects of the good choices in their lives , even may be the trust that they had , in His mercy after every fall , that helped them to get up and persevere too !

    Would an excess focus on the fallen give to the world a message of fear and
    despair ,that The Church truly does not practice what it preaches !

    Those who have enough spiritual authority , maturity and its wisdom and compassion, in dealing with these matters, in the privacy and its sacredness of allowing The Spirit , to take charge of these lives and affairs – hoping for such would be the role of most of the laity , trusting and thanking our Lord that such is happening .
    Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us all !

  5. LifeSite focuses on the greatest holocaust of innocent human beings in the history of the world: the brutal murder of two billion babies worldwide in the last half-century of “legal” baby murder. It also focuses on the corruption in the Catholic Church.

    This is as it should be. These two issues are inextricably linked. A corrupt, worldly Church renders unto Caesar authority over innocent human life that belongs to God alone by its complacency, by its allowing politicians known by all to be flaming advocates of “legal” baby murder to receive the Eucharist, and by its utter failure to exhort the flock to respond to this greatest of holocausts in a manner commensurate with its urgency. This is idolatrous.

    The U.S. bishops haven’t even made clear that voting for the Democrat party presidential candidate is a mortal sin, even though the Democrat party now celebrates the “legal” murder of babies right up to birth. See

    Disgusting: New York not only legalized late-term abortions, but also celebrated like it won the Super Bowl

    The U.S. bishops have yet to make a statement like that of Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata, Argentina, Hector Aguer:

    Opting for a pro-abortion candidate or for a party that includes abortion in its platform is a mortal sin. … We become accomplices if we vote for people who are going to pass a law that facilitates abortion or that legalizes this abominable crime … We cannot vote for those parties or candidates who have declared themselves in favor of abortion. … It is a mortal sin to vote for a party or a candidate who supports abortion, and I will argue this with anyone, because if not, what will become of us? This is about the life of a defenseless human being, innocent, the poorest of the poor, in this we cannot compromise.

    Migrants, the poor, the homeless, and no other segment of the human family, is having their arms and legs ripped off and their heads crushed by the tens of thousands every day around the world. This only happens to the child in the womb. The U.S. bishops’ complacency regarding this, in effect, loudly proclaims that “The atheists are right! Humanity is just some meaningless stuff quite accidentally vomited forth by mindless, purposeless natural processes! Life is really all about the survival of the fittest and the battle to seize the reins of power!”

    So why should anybody worry about the plight of the migrant, the homeless and the poor?

    The failure to defend the inalienable rights of any segment of the human family renders the exhortation to care for its other members hollow, shallow and subject to the suspicion that one has ulterior motives.

    LifeSite needs to keep doing exactly what it has been doing. A corrupt, idolatrous Church enables the great holocaust. LifeSite addresses both.

  6. Basically, Vigano is washing the Papacy’s dirty laundry in public. And doing sterling work in weakening its moral authority. Exactly what bishops are supposed to do. Jack Chick would love this. It would confirm all that he said about the CC being a false Church, and satanic. If the CC or the Papacy ever recover, in the centuries ahead, from these vile disclosures, it will more than either of them deserves.

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