Abp Viganò: Has Pope Francis now ‘disavowed’ being Vicar of Christ?
April 4, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has called the dropping of Pope Francis’ essential title “Vicar of Christ” from the 2020 Pontifical Yearbook an act that appears to “officially alter the Papacy,” such that the Pope “no longer recognizes himself as guardian.”
“This change in the layout and content of an official text of the Catholic Church cannot be ignored, nor is it possible to attribute it to a gesture of humility on the part of Francis, which is not in keeping with his name being so prominently featured,” wrote Viganò in a statement he sent to LifeSiteNews (read full statement below).
“Instead, it seems possible to see in it the admission — passed over in silence — of a sort of usurpation, whereby it is not the “Servus servorum Dei” [The Servant of the Servants of God] who reigns, but the person of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has officially disavowed being the Vicar of Christ, the Successor of the Prince of the Apostles and the Supreme Pontiff, as if they were annoying trappings of the past: only mere ‘historical titles,’” he added.
LifeSite reported April 2 that Pope Francis, in a surprise move, dropped the historic and essential title “Vicar of Christ” from the 2020 Pontifical Yearbook, the Holy See’s annual directory, relegating the title to a footnote, calling it a “historical title.”
While previous yearbooks listed the title “Vicar of Christ” and the name of the reigning Pope under that title, this year’s annual directory simply lists the name “Jorge Mario Bergoglio,” the name of the man who became Pope Francis in 2013. The title “Vicar of Jesus Christ” stems from Holy Scripture where Jesus granted St. Peter the power of the keys in the Church.
Archbishop Viganò said it’s as if Pope Francis now views himself as becoming “master of the Church, free to demolish it from within without having to answer to anyone.”
“In short, a tyrant,” he said.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also raised concern about the Pope’s move, calling the change “theological barbarism.”
“No Pope or Ecumenical Council,” the German prelate continued, “could, with reference to their highest authority over the Church, do away with the primacy, the episcopacy, or the Sacraments, or to re-interpret them in their essence.”
Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, told Catholic News Service that “there has been no suppression” of a title.
“The definition of 'historic' in relation to the titles attributed to the pope on one of the pages dedicated to him in the Annuario Pontificio of 2020 seems to me to indicate the bond with the history of the papacy," said Bruni, adding that all the other titles “are understood to be tied historically to the title of bishop of Rome because at the moment he is designated by the conclave to guide the church of Rome, the one elected acquires the titles tied to this nomination.”
Archbishop Viganò gained prominence worldwide when he made it public in August 2018 that Pope Francis was part of the cover-up for then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who abused seminarians and priests.
Full statement by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò:
“You Have Said So”
“Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.” Mt 26, 20-25
On March 25, the 2020 Pontifical Yearbook was published with a real novelty. It may seem like a typographical trifle, in the part dedicated to the reigning pontiff, but this is not the case. Until last year, in fact, Francis’s titles were listed at the top of the page, beginning with “Vicar of Christ”, “Successor of the Prince of the Apostles” etc., and ending with his birth name and a very brief biography.
In the new edition, on the other hand, the secular name JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO stands out in large letters, followed by the biography, the date of election and the beginning of his “ministry as universal Pastor of the Church.” Separated by a dash and the words, “Historical titles,” all the titles of the Roman Pontiff are then listed, as if they were no longer an integral part of the Munus Petrinum that legitimizes the authority which the Church recognizes in the Pope.
This change in the layout and content of an official text of the Catholic Church cannot be ignored, nor is it possible to attribute it to a gesture of humility on the part of Francis, which is not in keeping with his name being so prominently featured. Instead, it seems possible to see in it the admission — passed over in silence — of a sort of usurpation, whereby it is not the “Servus servorum Dei” who reigns, but the person of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has officially disavowed being the Vicar of Christ, the Successor of the Prince of the Apostles and the Supreme Pontiff, as if they were annoying trappings of the past: only mere “historical titles.”
An almost defiant gesture — one might say — in which Francis transcends every title. Or worse: an act to officially alter the Papacy, by which he no longer recognizes himself as guardian, but becomes master of the Church, free to demolish it from within without having to answer to anyone. In short, a tyrant.
May the significance of this most serious act not escape pastors and the faithful, for by it the sweet Christ on earth — as St. Catherine called the Pope — releases himself from his role as Vicar to proclaim himself, in a delirium of pride, absolute monarch even with respect to Christ.
We are approaching the sacred days of the Savior’s Passion, which commences in the Upper Room with the betrayal of one of the Twelve. It is not illegitimate to wonder whether the understanding words with which Bergoglio tried to rehabilitate Judas on June 16, 2016 were not a clumsy attempt to exonerate himself.
This chilling thought is further confirmed by the terrible decision to allow an almost universal ban of the public celebration of Easter, for the first time since the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
“The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!” (Mt 26:24) + Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
Friday in Passion Week 2020