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VATICAN CITY, December 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – When Pope Francis gave his annual Christmas address to the Vatican’s Curia today, he returned to a theme many associate with his response to revelations by Archbishop Carlo Viganò: that of the “Great Accuser.”
In his speech, Pope Francis focused on two “afflictions” he said the Church had experienced this year because of “some sons and ministers of the Church.” The first affliction was “abuse,” both sexual abuse and abuse of power, that “clerics and consecrated persons” had inflicted on others. Pope Francis condemned this abuse, using King David, who lusted after Bathsheba and put her husband in harm’s way, as a symbol for such priests and religious.
The second affliction the pontiff addressed was “the infidelity of those who betray their vocation, their sworn promise, their mission and their consecration to God and the Church.”
Reference to a sworn promise might or might not have been an allusion to Archbishop Viganò’s “oath of pontifical secret” which the whistleblower took when he joined the Vatican’s diplomatic corp. However, Pope Francis swiftly moved to themes very much on his mind after the Vatican whistleblower’s stunning August testimony that the pontiff had known about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s predatory behavior but promoted him anyway.
According to Francis, these disloyal, promise-breaking clerics “hide behind good intentions in order to stab their brothers and sisters in the back and to sow weeds, division and bewilderment. They always find excuses, including intellectual and spiritual excuses, to progress unperturbed on the path to perdition.”
On September 3, after the world waited for the Holy Father to address Viganò’s allegations, Pope Francis preached a homily in which he said silence was the only response to “people lacking good will, with people who seek only scandal, with those who look only for division, who want only destruction.”
In his Christmas speech to the Curia, Francis cited Saint Augustine to underscore that these disloyal, promise-breaking clerics were bishops.
“This [behavior] is nothing new in the Church’s history,” Francis said. “Saint Augustine, in speaking of the good seed and the weeds, says: ‘Do you perhaps believe, brethren, that weeds cannot spring up even on the thrones of bishops? Do you perhaps think that this is found only lower down and not higher up? Heaven forbid that we be weeds!… Even on the thrones of bishops good grain and weeds can be found; even in the different communities of the faithful good grain and weeds can be found.’”
Archbishop Viganò is only one of a number of bishops, including cardinals, who have questioned the decisions of Pope Francis’ pontificate. However, it was after Viganò’s testimony concerning the pontiff and McCarrick that Francis gave a series of homilies referencing “the Great Accuser.” Today the Holy Father stated, without explanation, that Augustine’s words helped us to realize that the “Great Accuser” is the one who brings division and doubt.
“They help us realize that the Tempter, the Great Accuser, is the one who brings division, sows discord, insinuates enmity, persuades God’s children and causes them to doubt,” Francis said.
He then levelled a charge similar to one left-wing media began circulating after Viganò’s testimonies: that there is money behind the disturbance. The New York Times erroneously reported that American Catholic philanthropist and Napa Institute founder Tim Busch had a hand in Viganò’s initial declaration, and the false story was widely reported. In his Christmas speech, Francis mentioned a cash payment:
“Behind these sowers of weeds, we always find the thirty pieces of silver. The figure of David thus brings us to that of Judas Iscariot, another man chosen by the Lord who sells out his Master and hands him over to death.”
Was Pope Francis comparing himself here, as he seemed to do in this autumn’s “Great Accuser” homilies, to the Savior and his subordinate, Viganò, to Judas? The pontiff refers to Judas as “another man” who “sells out his Master.” To which man, then, is he comparing Judas?
Astonishingly, Francis compares his Biblical symbol for clerical sexual abusers with his Biblical symbol for clerical oathbreakers and concludes that the latter group is worse. David, symbol of clerical rapists, repented but Judas, symbol of clerical promise-breakers, came to a horrible end.
“David the sinner and Judas Iscariot will always be present in the Church, since they represent the weakness that is part of our human condition,” Francis said.
“They are icons of the sins and crimes committed by those who are chosen and consecrated. United in the gravity of their sin, they nonetheless differ when it comes to conversion,” he continued.
“David repented, trusting in God’s mercy; Judas hanged himself.”
If Judas is Francis’ symbol for Viganò, this juxtaposition can only be described as a stunning denouncement, suggesting that Francis believes the Vatican whistleblower is worse than a child rapist.
The pontiff then concluded that the “spiritual corruption” he had described as the second affliction was “worse than the fall of the sinner.” Quoting his own Gaudete in Exsultate, he states that it was worse than this descent into sin because “it is a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, ‘for even Satan appears as an angel of light’…”
Francis then referred to King Solomon’s sad rift with almighty God while reflecting that David, whom the pontiff had made his symbol for clerical sexual abusers, “was able to make up for his disgrace.”
The vagueness of this attack on the second of the “afflictions” is in contrast to the clear attack on the perpetrators of clerical abuse but quite similar to the obscurantism of the Holy Father’s homilies following the virtual bombshell of Archbishop Viganò’s testimony.