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Editor’s note: The following is a modified version of the editorial of the October issue of the Vatican news magazine Faithful Insight. To subscribe, click here.
September 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The dam has broken. For years, LifeSiteNews has been cataloguing the calamity to the Church being caused by Pope Francis and his allies in the Vatican. But with the 11-page testimony of former U.S. nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a new chapter in the history of the Catholic Church has opened.
Heretofore, criticisms of Pope Francis by his brother bishops have been extremely timid and few and far between, despite grave abuses of the faith which have veritably destroyed orthodoxy in the Church. But the silence has been broken.
Thus far, 36 U.S. bishops have supported the credibility of the Viganò testimony by calling for an investigation of his claims. Most of those bishops publicly acknowledged the stellar character and deep faith of Archbishop Viganò.
I personally know Archbishop Viganò to be a good and holy servant of the Lord. His explanation of the reason for his willingness to speak out despite the risk to his priesthood and his safety was this:
To discharge my conscience before God of my responsibilities as bishop of the universal Church. I am an old man and I want to present myself to God with clean conscience.
Knowing the nuncio, that statement is not surprising, for he lives life as a preparation for heaven. And that way of living is precisely what led to so many U.S. bishops standing up for his character at this most crucial time.
But it wasn’t only bishops. As you’ll read on LifeSite, Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s order, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, called for an investigation of the Viganò testimony. The chair of the board of Christendom College did the same. As did famous canonist Ed Peters, Pope John Paul II biographer George Weigel, EWTN’s papal posse, and over 46,000 Catholic women and over 10,000 Catholic men. That doesn’t include the over 16,000 LifeSite readers who have pledged to pray for the Archbishop.
A key point, though, is that it wasn’t only conservatives speaking out. Australia’s Daily Telegraph said the pope must answer Viganò’s claims or “resign”; a prominent Swiss paper opined, “The silence of the two popes seems strange”; the Wall Street Journal called on the pope to end the silence and “explain the truth”; and a prominent German newspaper said of the papal silence, “What a mockery of the victims!”
Naturally, there have been attacks on Viganò. Unsurprisingly, pro-homosexual prelates such as Cardinals Blase Cupich and Joseph Tobin and Bishop Robert McElroy have attacked the former nuncio’s credibility. When Cardinal Cupich played the race card, to paint critics of the pope as being against him because he’s “a Latino,” it seemed he was losing his mind.
The reaction to the pope’s response of silence has been yet another public relations disaster for the Vatican. The pope has called for silence about the matter and prayer, and in his homilies he has associated those exposing the corruption with Satan, the “Great Accuser.” Even some of his die-hard fans are asking, “does he know he sounds like an abuser?”
The pope’s approval ratings have plummeted from 72 percent to 48 percent. The Catholic CEO group Legatus has chosen to withhold its annual tithe of nearly a million dollars to the Holy See until the situation improves.
Reflecting on all these events, I couldn’t help but think of Christ’s admonition to his disciples about the end of time recorded in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke. Speaking of the time of persecution, Christ said, “This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.”
Despite the best efforts of many, every attempt to contradict the Viganò testimony has backfired, demonstrating its veracity.
The McCarrick revelations followed quickly by the Pennsylvania AG report are what opened the way for the Viganò testimony. Interestingly, I received an email from a reader noting that the bishops of Pennsylvania consecrated the state to Our Lady last year. She wondered if the AG report, which brings a needed but painful purification, was not a miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.
With the opening of the investigations into sexual abuse by clergy in many more states besides Pennsylvania, and indeed around the world, Catholics may well find themselves in a time of serious persecution. It may well strip the Church of any prestige it once had and very likely, too, its wealth and earthly power.
With all that worldly pomp stripped away, the only impetus left to join the faith – and especially the clergy – will be a sincere and ardent love for Christ which will never die. It will thus result in a purification, an exodus of any who would seek high office in the Church for worldly gain.
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI predicted when he was still Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, the Church in the future “may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”