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Archbishop Paul Coakley

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley has issued a statement saying he has the “deepest respect” for Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó and his “integrity.”

Some on the left have attempted to cast doubt on Viganó and his bombshell testimony that links Pope Francis and several other top prelates to the cover-up of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of abusing seminarians and priests. A number of Catholic bishops, however, have defended the former apostolic nuncio to the United States and called for his charges to be investigated.

“I have the deepest respect for Archbishop Viganó and his personal integrity,” Coakley said, this, aside from his having had  no “personal knowledge or experience of the details contained in his ‘testimony.’”

The allegations made by the pope’s former representative to the U.S. warrant an in-depth inquiry into how McCarrick was able to rise to high prominence in the Church, the Oklahoma City archbishop said in an August 28 statement, particularly in view of McCarrick’s alleged serial sexual abuse.

“His claims,” Coakley stated of Vigano, “yet to be investigated or substantiated, confirm the urgency of a thorough investigation of Archbishop McCarrick’s advancement through the ecclesiastical ranks given his history of alleged abuse, involving seminarians and young people.” 

“This document merits, indeed it demands deeper examination and verification of each of its claims,” he said. “Like so many, I am deeply troubled by the assertions contained in this unprecedented document.”

Now is a dark time in the history of the Church, said Coakley; purification, transparency and accountability are needed. Bishops and priests must be models of these traits, he said.

“We are called to prayer and penance for the purification of the Church and our bishops and priests must set the example,” said Coakley. “It calls for a renewed commitment to vigilance, transparency and accountability from our shepherds and indeed for the whole Church. Only prayer, penance and deeper conversion will guide us through this dark period.”

Coakley joins several others in expressing support for Vigano, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Tyler Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland, Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki.  

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