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In interview with Raymond Arroyo, Viganò denies accusations from McCarrick Report

The former nuncio said he was not interviewed or asked to share his perspective as the report was being compiled, but was mentioned more than 300 times in the final report, often in a negative light.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then-apostolic nuncio to the United States, is seen processing into St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, N.Y., in 2012. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

CNA Staff, Nov 12, 2020 / 09:15 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as apostolic nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, has denied claims in the Vatican’s McCarrick Report which said he failed to act on instructions to investigate Theodore McCarrick.

In a November 12 interview with Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s “The World Over,” the former nuncio said he was not interviewed or asked to share his perspective as the report was being compiled, but was mentioned more than 300 times in the final report, often in a negative light.

This week, the Vatican released a long-awaited report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was in 2018 acknowledged to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. McCarrick was subsequently accused of serially abusing and coercing minors, priests, and seminarians, and was laicized in 2019.

The Vatican in 2018 announced an investigation into McCarrick’s decades-long career in the Church, which included ministry as archbishop in two large U.S. archdioceses, and an appointment to the College of Cardinals.

The report, more than 400 pages long, catalogues various reports made about McCarrick to Church officials, some of which were ignored, as well as inaccurate information passed along to the Holy See by three bishops ahead of McCarrick’s appointment as Archbishop of Washington.

Viganò said it is clear that the report attempts to shift blame to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He said the former popes had likely been convinced by officials within the Curia not to believe the rumors surrounding McCarrick.

“Who had an interest in getting McCarrick promoted so that they could gain an advantage in terms of power and money?” he said.

“In the case of John Paul II, the main party interested in the promotion of McCarrick was definitely Cardinal [Angelo] Sodano. He was secretary of state until September 2006. All information came to him. In November 2000, he already had received information from Nuncio [Gabriel] Montalvo for this report of the accusation of grave abuse committed by McCarrick.”

In the case of Benedict XVI, Viganò said, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone “led Pope Benedict to decide that no canonical process should be undertaken, nor should any canonical sanctions be proscribed,” but rather than a mere appeal to McCarrick’s conscience should be made.

In August 2018, Viganò released an 11-page statement claiming that in the late 2000s, Benedict XVI had imposed sanctions on McCarrick. He said McCarrick had been “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.”

Viganò said that he had personally told Pope Francis about these sanctions in 2013, but said Francis not only repealed those sanctions, but made McCarrick his “trusted counselor,” advising him on several bishop appointments in the United States. Viganò called on Pope Francis to resign over the matter.

The McCarrick Report is at odds with several parts of Viganò’s statement. It disputes what he describes as sanctions placed on McCarrick by Benedict XVI, and points to numerous examples of McCarrick keeping Viganò apprised of his travels and public engagements while Viganò was nuncio. In some cases, Viganòresponded by writing to acknowledge and thank McCarrick for his work.

The McCarrick Report also says Viganò failed in 2012 to follow instructions to investigate allegations against McCarrick.

According to the report, Viganò wrote to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in 2012, informing him of a lawsuit against McCarrick by a cleric identified in the report as “Priest 3.” The report said that Ouellet instructed Viganò, who was then nuncio to the U.S., to investigate whether the claim was credible but Viganò “did not take these steps.”

Viganò rejected the assertion that he had failed to investigate the matter, calling it “absolutely false.” He said the report itself acknowledges written correspondence between him and Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen, the ordinary of Priest 3, which he forwarded to Cardinal Ouellet in June 2013.

In his interview with Arroyo, Viganò maintained that Pope Benedict XVI had ordered McCarrick to retire and lead a private life, without attending public events, but said corrupt members of the Curia did not enforce these measures.

Contrary to what is stated in the report, Viganò insisted that he did inform Pope Francis directly that McCarrick had corrupted a generation of seminarians and priests, and that Pope Benedict had ordered him to live a life of prayer and penance.

He said his comments had come in response to a direct question from Pope Francis asking what he thought about McCarrick. He said the pope did not act surprised or react at to his words, but changed the subject.

“The disturbing thing is that within the report itself, obviously put together by many hands, there are numerous contradictions – enough to make the argument the report has little credibility,” Viganò said.

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  1. It seems to me that this report is focused more on defending McCarrick and less on really addressing the accusations of sex abuse. How sad that the leadership in the Church these days resembles more the political corruption and progressive liberal agenda of the Left we see in the world than those responsible for being shepherds representing the Chief Shepherd.

  2. This sentence really gets to the heart of why the abuse not only went on so long but escalated during the 60s-80s:

    “In the case of Benedict XVI, Viganò said, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone “led Pope Benedict to decide that no canonical process should be undertaken, nor should any canonical sanctions be proscribed,” but rather than a mere appeal to McCarrick’s conscience should be made.”

    One of the curious aspects and the basis for the severest criticism is why abusive priests were not laicized or referred for criminal charges but rather just reassigned. It has always seemed to me that this grew out of true devotion to sacramental reconciliation and absolution. Both the Church and even the best churchmen taught and believed that people could recognize and repent of even their gravest sins, and follow Christ’s and their confessors admonition to “sin no more.” Who knew then that sexual deviants are completely refractory to rehabilitation? Of course, it didn’t help when the growth of libertinism among the clergy occasioned by the sexual revolution of the 60s would precipitate a critical mass that enabled adherents to form a cabal devoted to protecting each other as they advanced their opportunities for predation and power in the clergy.

  3. Insofar as faulting John Paul II for the elevation of Bergoglio and other members of the St Gallen Group I was studying in Rome at the time, during the 2001 Consistory at which they were elevated and twice met the Pope. He was in end stage Parkinson’s and extremely debilitated, barely able to speak. I didn’t believe he would live out the year. He was quite vulnerable it seemed to manipulation. The bottom line on the Report is the preeminent issue, the virtual takeover of the Church by homosexuals and their enablers, and the policy of this Pope to support this travesty with the aim of normalizing same sex adult relationships.

    • I concur with Fr. Morello’s observation. It is not protective, defensive speculation due to a conservative bias. In 2000, I met a liberal Rome-based journalist and a knowledgeable liberal theologian who both noted that Pope John Paul II was already very debilitated at that time and that curial officials were taking advantage of him.

    • And beyond the adult homosexual normalization effort is the Vatican’s undermining the principles that support all doctrinal permanence. Mitigation based on hardship, mitigation based on the heretical presumption that Justice can never be definitive because of unending exceptions, seen in Amoris Laetitia 303. Francis’ complete misrepresentation of Aquinas in ST 1a2ae 94, 4 that Justice can never be identified because of always finding exceptions. That would invalidate Justice itself and any absolute moral principle. Aquinas is actually proposing we deliberate the conditions of justice issues rather than rely entirely on preconceived universal principles. Obviously Aquinas believes the correct universal will be identified through deliberation, not casuistry. There are moral principles that are always and everywhere inviolable, such as adultery which the Pontiff repudiates. Pope Francis proposes that conscience thereby given viable cause for exception must be respected. A contradictory argument that proposes that intrinsic evil can never be certain, thereby arguing that intrinsic evil and absolute good are inherently indistinguishable. A deception that is destroying truth and the very essence of Christ and his Mystical Body.

  4. Things are not going Archbishop Vigano’s way. He claims Pope Francis was negligent in dealing with McCarrick’s sordid behavior, but the McCarrick Report said that Vigano dropped the ball, did not investigate accusations against McCarrick as directed and even socialized with McCarrick at the nunciature. Now Vigano believes there is a Vatican conspiracy against him and Pope Francis is a deep Church operative (whatever that means)???

    • Unfortunately, neither Pope Francis’s Vatican, nor Vigano, can be trusted. Vigano, who once seemed so heroic, has gone on to form a cult like following of SSPX advocates, who apparently view Vigano as their source of divine revelation. His followers, which includes Lifesite, report on his every word as if he is God himself delivering new commandments. The whole thing is rather pagan like and bizarre. Vigano does nothing to tamp this down, on the other hand, he loves it and seems to believe he is some sort of divine personality, entrusted with pope like powers. Very cultish. Not to mention the numerous conspiracy theories he now adheres to, or his endorsement of breakaway sects like the SSPX.

    • This Peter Kwasniewski has written that JP II was one of the worst popes in history. He is one of those SSPX or near SSPX people who tend to worship Vigano at the moment. The cult continues.

  5. I recall, very similarly, that the opening to female altar servers was engineered while Pope John Paul II was hospitalized and out of the way (with a broken hip on April 30, 1994).

    Shortly thereafter, JP II reaffirmed Tradition/Revelation by blocking the obvious end-game of a bogus female priesthood, with Ordinatio-Sacerdotalis (May 22, 1994, below); while in the same action distancing from the first and very recent Anglican ordination of women (March 12, 1994). Today, the amateurish and old-hat (!) “binding synodal path” in Germania needs to wake up and smell the coffee by taking note of the final paragraph in the attached:

  6. No one seems to realize the most important part of this – They should have done a report on the homosexual cabal that reigned in the American episcopate. This is the network that acted together to push McCarrick forward. This is the group that did all the mischief in the church. Instead, all they did was look and see what was in the Vatican archives. Big deal. This is effectively letting the homosexual roots of the crisis be ignored. All of the damage was done by the Bernardin – McCarrick group of homosexual bishops, which has virtually wrecked Catholicism in this country. Remember, this group of bishops, when the child abuse crisis was found out, encouraged the media to blame Rome, since Rome was at the tip of the hierarchy, and if they spent their time looking at Rome, then they would be able to stay under cover. We had massive homosexual child abuse crisis, and what happened. Nothing. No revelation of the homosexual nature of many bishops and priests. 20 years and no significant changes at all. McCarrick happens, and they successfully divert attention to Rome again. Nothing will ever get done until they figure out how this Bernardin McCarrick network functioned.

  7. And the beat goes on. Who can believe the Bishops with this convoluted mess? Just because a Pope is elevated to the vicar of Christ does not necessarily mean he/she doesn’t lie. It boggles the mind to be told that any Pope was unaware of McCarrick’s sexual atrocities and then be able to promote him to Cardinal.

    Our church hierarchy is forever stained by the obvious misdirection of power.
    “Viganò said the former popes had likely been convinced by officials within the Curia not to believe the rumors surrounding McCarrick. The McCarrick Report also says Viganò failed in 2012 to follow instructions to investigate allegations against McCarrick.”

  8. The McCarrick Report of 449 pages reminds me of the famous line (only 9 words!) in the chain-gang movie, “Cool Hand Luke.” The resistant Paul Newman is repeatedly beaten by the abusive prison warden for not cooperating. Whines the warden to the other prison clientele: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    About real “communication”, an instructive event was brought to my attention while a parish council member in the mid-1970s. I had been asked by the pastor to untangle an escalating administrative situation within the parish K-8 school. In the course of my inquiries, the principal–a sturdy nun in habit–mentioned an unrelated matter…

    A mother brought her son to the front office with the story that he had been kicked out of two other Catholic schools, and asked if there might be any chance that he could be admitted here and somehow gotten in line, please?

    At this, the unruly 12-year old took a swing at the principal, and in that same split second she instinctively landed an upper cut that lifted the brat off the ground and totally decked him. Unpremeditated, instinctive, uncharacteristic, and defensive. What next? ….

    Well, the lad got up from the floor, wiped the blood on his sleeve and said calmly: “Thank you, sister, no one else would show me where ‘the line’ is.”

    Not saying here that Sister “V” should have been a seminarian in McCarrick’s beach house, only that the McCarrick Report might not even exist today if McCarrick had unwittingly invited a few impulsive roosters into his harem, who then and there would have shown him “the line,” in a robustly Christlike way—as with any other crooked money-changer on the Temple steps.

    Instead, a tired pattern of too many layers of intimidation, too many incomplete protocols, hoops, dead ends, letters and round-filed complaints, distracting do-gooder globetrotting, and then business-as-usual fellow travels on high with dismissive remarks about long-ago “gossip.” A many decades-long “failure to communicate.”

  9. Truth be told, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, appointed Nuncio to the United States by Benedict in 2011 was sent packing and mothballed in 2016 by Pope Francis because of mischief.
    Viganò ambushed Francis at the end of his 2015 trip to the United States by arranging a meeting at the Washington nunciature with Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who had famously refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Francis had no idea who Davis was, but when word of their meeting became public it created a firestorm that overshadowed the pontiff’s otherwise successful visit. Viganò, whose resentment at being sidelined by Francis and bypassed for a cardinal’s hat seems to grow more intense every year, used the recent McCarrick revelations for a new ambush in August 2018. On the final night of Francis’s trip to Ireland, Viganò released an eleven-page letter whose most explosive claim was that he had told Francis all about McCarrick’s abuses and that Francis brushed aside his warnings and rehabilitated McCarrick, elevating him to a position of unparalleled influence. Viganò concluded his letter by calling on the pope to resign.
    Viganò is still depicted by his allies as a courageous whistleblower, but the McCarrick report shows he was just blowing smoke. Viganò had already embarrassed himself when it emerged that he had tried to block investigations of Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who was eventually forced to resign in 2015 after accusations that he did not take action against priests accused of abusing children and was himself guilty of sexual misconduct with men. Nienstedt was an anti-gay culture warrior allied with Viganò, and that was enough for the homophobic nuncio. “We cannot give in to the enemies of the Church, the media, the attorneys, and others who oppose the Church,” Viganò told John Carr, a former USCCB official now at Georgetown University, when Carr complained about the lack of action against Nienstedt.
    Yet at the same time as he was protecting Nienstedt, Viganò was also covering for McCarrick—the very thing he would later accuse Pope Francis of doing. The report shows that in 2012 the Vatican told Viganò to investigate a priest’s claim that McCarrick had abused him, but Viganò did not follow through. Contrary to Viganò’s claims in his 2018 manifesto, no “sanctions” were ever imposed on McCarrick by Benedict, which means there were no sanctions for Francis to lift. Viganò himself frequently appeared with McCarrick at public events while in Washington, offering fulsome praise for the cardinal and maintaining a regular communication with McCarrick on the former cardinal’s comings and goings. There was no rehabilitation of McCarrick by Francis, no evidence that McCarrick had any influence on major episcopal appointments, and no stern warning from Viganò to the pope in 2013 to do something about McCarrick. The disinformation in Viganò’s letter was aimed at deflecting suspicion from himself and at bringing down his foes. In this hierarchical house of mirrors, Viganò was a reflection of McCarrick.

  10. The Church seminaries are nightmare-homosexual-cesspools, including those in so-called “orthodox-conservative” dioceses. That’s why McCarrick “sleeping” with seminarians and young priests “5 times per month” was viewed as “normal” in NJ.

    Read this by an honest witness:

    • “Cesspool” is too nice a word to describe the hierarchical culture of the Catholic Church. Every bishop (including the Vjcar of Christ himself) ought to be consigned to a life of prayer and penance. Then refill the ranks with men who know the difference between the truth and a lie.

  11. Bergoglio vs. Vigano: Which man seems more credible, more authentic, more Catholic? Hmmm… Such a tough question! Which one suppressed the FFI? Which one sold out the Chinese Catholics? Which one promoted idolatry in Rome? Which one fawns over a pro-abortion politician who also presided over a homosexual “marriage?” Which one has turned the College of Cardinals into a gay brothel?nThough he is not perfect (as he will admit) only one of these men has any credibility whatsoever.

  12. Well, Pope Francis seems to give a green light to same-sex unions, and their right to have families, while giving a red light to the idea that priests should have a right to marry a woman and raise a family (because of property ownership questions). This appears to be an imbalanced policy equation that is not based on Divine revelation — rather, it appears to shield gay priests from questions regarding why they don’t want to marry.

    This gives the appearance that Archbishop Vigano is the credible witness, and not Pope Francis. And, why doesn’t Francis preach more Gospel, instead of dictating social policies, such as open borders? The Book of Exodus begins with a demographic dilemma that presents a template that applies to modern times: The children of Israel were multiplying, and the pharaoh was concerned, and prescribed oppressive social policies. Pope Francis ought to be able to see and understand that picture. It concerns demographics, and not just helping the poor. Preaching the Gospel to the poor — to seek to know God and the Spirit’s Providence, is what we need to hear from Francis.

  13. Pope John Paul II knew about McCarrick and did nothing. Whether this was due to being incapacitated by his illness or whether he genuinely refused to believe in McCarrick’s guilt, as with Maciel, we will never know.
    Pope Benedict XVI knew about McCarrick and imposed sanctions, albeit weak ones which McCarrick flouted, as per the documents released by McCarrick’s former secretary.
    Pope Francis knew about McCarrick, and rehabilitated him, using him as a freelance diplomat in China, Cuba and the Palestinian territories, as reported by many news outlets such as the NCR/Fishwrap. And he elevated many of McCarrick’s cronies, like Farrell and Cupich, who still hold office even today.

    All three Popes bear responsibility for failing to reign in the monster that is McCarrick, but it is pretty obvious whose conduct was the most despicable.

    • If you read the report you will see on pg 90 ff. that two Bishops, namely Bishop Smith and Bishop McHugh, observed McCarrick molest a young cleric in early 1990 and said nothing. It is the club of American Bishop that are entirely to blame.

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