Former U.S. Apostolic Nuncio: Our Lady is the ‘real frontline fighter against the devil’
ROME, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking to a gathering of distinguished pro-life leaders from around the world recently, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò stressed the importance of the role of Our Lady in the current battle against the culture of death.
“She is our strength,” and “she’s the Mother of the Church,” said Viganò. “So we trust in Our Lady, who is the real frontline fighter against the devil.”
The former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, who was present for the entire Rome Life Forum (RLF), joined Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and Msgr. Livio Melina for a panel discussion at the conclusion of the international assembly.
“I have been one of you, during these two days, listening attentively,” said the archbishop. “And certainly I have been struck by the great quality of bold intervention and the witnesses” at the Forum.
“And certainly the thing that I realize [while] being with you,” said Viganò, “is the great desire to have a strong leadership in the Church that can unite all of us – from the different conferences of different continents of the world.”
“I can say that I found [in] those who come in particular from the Anglo-Saxon [world] – the United States, Australia, and Britain – a great desire to be witness of the truth that has been preached by the Church all along the centuries,” he added.
At the beginning of 2018, Archbishop Viganò joined three bishops of Kazakhstan in professing the “immutable truths about sacramental marriage,” taking issue with Pope Francis’ official interpretation of Amoris Laetitia to allow some “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion.
In the profession, the Kazakhstan Bishops, including auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana who also spoke at the RLF, said that the Pope’s official interpretation was causing “rampant confusion,” will spread a “plague of divorce,” and is “alien” to the entire Catholic Tradition and faith.
In view of the “increasing confusion” spreading among clergy and laity alike, the bishops reasserted the Church’s perennial teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. They argued that admitting some “remarried” divorcees (who do not have an annulment and are not living in sexual continence) to the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion amounts to a “kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.”
In 2016, when it was announced that Archbishop Viganò was being called back to Rome, George Weigel, respected Catholic author and senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, praised the retiring Apostolic Delegate to the U.S.
Weigel called Archbishop Viganò “a courageous Churchman who has served Catholicism, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in an exemplary way during his tenure in Washington.”
“He appreciated the many strengths of the Church in the United States, including the evangelically-centered reconstruction of the hierarchy by John Paul II and Benedict XVI,” said Weigel in his tribute to Viganò. “He understood where the vitality was in U.S. Catholicism, and he knew that this vitality had to do with the strength of faith in those living parts of the Church.”
Viganò “knew that ‘Catholic Lite’ wasn’t going to advance the New Evangelization,” continued Weigel, “and he quickly grasped that the great project of converting a wounded culture in America was being threatened by an unprecedented assault on the Church’s capacity to be itself. And he knew that the threat came, not from old-fashioned nativist bigots of Protestant persuasion, but from militant secularists allied with the federal government.”
“The archbishop understood that there was no honorable retreat from what some deplored as ‘culture wars,’” added Weigel. “He knew who had declared war on whom; that the Church had not been the aggressor in this struggle; and that the battle had to be engaged, with the tools of reason and persuasion, for the sake of all religious communities and, indeed, for the sake of American democracy.”
It was Archbishop Viganò who helped set up a meeting between Kim Davis – who was briefly jailed for refusing to affirm same-sex “marriage” – and Pope Francis during the pontiff's trip to America. The Vatican subsequently tried to downplay that meeting.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1973 and worked at the papal diplomatic missions in Iraq and Great Britain. He was named Special Envoy and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in 1989, and Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria by Pope John Paul II in 1992. At the close of his mission to Nigeria, Viganò was assigned as an official of the Secretariat of State. He was named Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State from 2009-2011, until his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. His brother, Lorenzo, is a Jesuit priest.