Vigano accuses Cardinal Sarah of causing him ‘harm’ in row over coronavirus letter

CNA Staff, May 8, 2020 / 10:25 am (CNA).- Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has accused a Vatican cardinal of causing him “serious harm” in a bitter war of words over a controversial open letter regarding the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement published May 8, the archbishop criticized Cardinal Robert Sarah’s decision to distance himself from the letter, titled “Appeal for the Church and the World,” which argues that the coronavirus pandemic has been exploited in order to create a one-world government.

The statement details Vigano’s account of his interactions with Sarah beginning May 4. Viganò claims that on the evening of May 7, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments asked him to remove him from the list of signatories to the letter, which had by that time already been published.

“With surprise and deep regret,” he wrote, “I then learned that His Eminence had used his Twitter account, without giving me any notice, to make statements that cause serious harm to the truth and to my person.”

Viganò was referring to a series of three May 7 tweets from Sarah, which said: “A Cardinal Prefect, member of the Roman Curia has to observe a certain restriction  on political matters. He shouldn’t sign petitions in such aereas [sic].”

“Therefore this morning I explicitely [sic] asked the authors of the petition titled ‘For the Church and for the world’ not to mention my name.”

“From a personal point of view, I may share some questions or preoccupations raised regarding restrictions on fundamental freedom but I didn’t sign that petition,” Sarah added.

Viganò’s statement continued: “I am very sorry that this matter, which is due to human weakness, and for which I bear no resentment towards the person who caused it, has distracted our attention from what must seriously concern us at this dramatic moment.”

After Viganò issued his rebuke, Sarah tweeted May 8: “I will not speak to this petition, which today seems to occupy a lot of people. I leave to their conscience those who want to exploit it in one way or another. I decided not to sign this text. I fully accept my choice.”

In his statement, Viganò said he had chosen to publicize his private conversations with Sarah because he had a duty to tell the truth, and “also for the sake of fraternal correction.”

Vigano said Sarah had initially told him: “Yes, I agree to put my name to it, because this is a fight we must engage in together, not only for the Catholic Church but for all mankind.”

He confirmed that Sarah’s signature has now been removed from the open letter.

Vigano, a former papal nuncio made headlines in August 2018, for a letter that alleged Vatican officials had ignored warnings about the sexual abuse of disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Since that time, Vigano has released numerous letters expressing his viewpoints on matters in the Church, which include criticisms of Pope Francis and other curial officials.

The appeal argued that as a result of the pandemic centuries of Christian civilization could be “erased under the pretext of a virus” and an “odious technological tyranny” established in its place.

It said: “We have reason to believe, on the basis of official data on the incidence of the epidemic as related to the number of deaths, that there are powers interested in creating panic among the world’s population with the sole aim of permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements. The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a World Government beyond all control.”

Several bishops and cardinals are alleged to have signed the letter. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas told CNA May 7 that he had signed it.

A press release on the appeal’s website May 8 claimed that Robert Kennedy Jr, son of the slain US. Presidential candidate Sen. Robert Kennedy, had signed the letter.

To date, nearly 4 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 272,000 have died.

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  1. I think Cardinal Sarah was coerced into withdrawing his signature, as sadly is very common in this Pontiff’s heavy handed treatment of his critics.

  2. Who initiated the letter?

    Withdrawing his name was an appropriate action, though he shouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place.

    Such an open letter is rather meaningless except to those who already agree or are inclined to take the signatories as moral authorities. Another manifestation of the use of mass media engendered by a bureaucratic mindset, instead of developing real relations or cell-building. Those concerned with the loss of liberty need to find more effective means for organizing a response.

  3. Whether deliberately exploited, or not, the crucial QUESTION is still whether the world is at this moment lurching if only disconnectedly and cumulatively in the direction of one world government.

    Such must daily be resisted or else, like gravity, it happens of its own weight—what Nikita Khrushchev and like-minded disciples of historical determinism referred to only a few years back as the mindless “the correlation of forces.” ENTROPY needs no deliberation or exploitation. Civilization is a vulnerable commodity [!], not the product of relentless evolution.

    Ought all of the Church to be fighting daily any such descent into disintegrated collectivism, WHETHER manipulated or not?

    A fallen world. . . Forget about who did or did not sign a MERE LETTER. Instead, already written in the Milky Way across the entire night sky for all to see, and in words spoken father to son—-Whittaker Chambers got it right:

    “I want him to remember that God Who is a God of Love is also the God of a world that includes the atom bomb and virus [VIRUS!], the minds that contrived and use or those that suffer them [!!], and that the problem of good and evil is not more simple than the immensity of worlds.

    “I want him to understand that evil is not something that can be condescended to, waved aside or smiled away, for it is not merely an uninvited guest, but lies coiled in foro interno [that is] at home with good within ourselves. Evil can only be FOUGHT [!]. . . .I want him to know that it is his soul, and his soul alone, that makes it possible for him to bear, without dying of his own mortality, the faint light of Hercules’ fifty thousand suns” (Epilogue, Witness, 1952, caps added).

    Instead, another dispute over letterhead.

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