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Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganòDiane Montagna / LifeSiteNews

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August 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – News exploded on the weekend of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s detailed testimony that Pope Francis was involved in covering-up for ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite knowing of his abuse of seminarians and priests. 

Viganò, the former U.S. nuncio, released a bombshell 11-page, 7000 word, statement saying that he personally spoke to Pope Francis about McCarrick’s abusive behavior. 

According to Viganò, Pope Francis “continued to cover him” and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor” who helped him to appoint a number of controversial bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.

Here are ten of the top takeaways from Viganò’s testimony.

1. Archbishop Viganò accused Pope Francis of covering up for McCarrick

In his testimony, Viganò calls on Pope Francis to “honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests.” Whether or not the Pope learned of the McCarrick allegations earlier, Viganò states, “the Pope learned about it from me on June 23, 2013 and continued to cover for him. He did not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him and made him his trusted counselor …”

Francis had asked Viganò during the June 2013 apostolic visit, “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” but neither reacted nor seemed surprised when Viganò told him of the substantial dossier on McCarrick’s abuse allegations, Viganò said, and the pope seemed focused instead on the Bishops in the United States not being “ideologized.”

Viganò said as well that Francis’ behavior regarding the McCarrick matter was “no different” than in the Chilean Church’s sex abuse scandal. Francis had appointed Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros to the See of Osorno against the advice of the Chilean bishops, first insulted the abuse victims, then later apologized, but continued to protect the two Chilean Cardinals Errazuriz and Ezzati.

“Even in the tragic affair of McCarrick, Pope Francis’s behavior was no different,” Viganò said. “He knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator. Although he knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end.”

2. Viganò called on Pope Francis to resign

Since the McCarrick revelations surfaced in June and with the August 14 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing 70 years of abuse of at least 1,000 victims perpetrated by around 300 priests in six dioceses, there have been escalating calls for those in the U.S. Church’s hierarchy with any role in the abuse cover-up to resign. 

In his testimony, Archbishop Viganò extended that call to Francis for his part in enabling sexual abuse.

“In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.”

3. Viganò named McCarrick as a ‘kingmaker’ for appointments in the Curia and U.S. 

While at the Vatican guesthouse for a meeting of apostolic nuncios on June 20, 2013, McCarrick had indicated to Viganò that Francis had green-lighted his being free of any canonical restrictions, according to Viganò’s testimony. 

“It was also clear that, from the time of Pope Francis’s election, McCarrick, now free from all constraints, had felt free to travel continuously, to give lectures and interviews,” Viganò states. “In a team effort with [Honduran] Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga [a top Francis advisor, also implicated in covering for widespread homosexual activity at the major seminary in his archdiocese and mismanagement of Church funds], he had become the kingmaker for appointments in the Curia and the United States, and the most listened to advisor in the Vatican for relations with the Obama administration.”

4. Viganò explained why Cardinal Raymond Burke was demoted

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading voice of orthodoxy in the Church, roundly criticized by liberals for holding the line on preserving Church doctrine and liturgy, has been unceremoniously demoted by Pope Francis more than once since Francis’s election – both from the Congregation of Bishops, which advises the Pope on choosing bishops, and from the Apostolic Signature, the Church’s highest court.

Viganò follows his naming of McCarrick as Francis’ “kingmaker” by stating that this led to Burke’s ouster from the Congregation of Bishops, and that Francis also then began bypassing the nuncio’s office in naming bishops

“This is how one explains that, as members of the Congregation for Bishops, the Pope replaced Cardinal Burke with Wuerl and immediately appointed Cupich, who was promptly made a cardinal,” he says. “With these appointments the Nunciature in Washington was now out of the picture in the appointment of bishops.”

5. Viganò explained how Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich and other liberal prelates were elevated

McCarrick as “kingmaker” not only facilitated pushing the nuncio out of naming bishops for the U.S., Viganò says, it opened the door to some of the most liberal appointments in the U.S. Church.

“The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl, united by a wicked pact of abuses by the first, and at least of cover-up of abuses by the other two,” Viganò writes. “Their names were not among those presented by the Nunciature for Chicago and Newark.”

“The appointment of (Bishop Robert) McElroy in San Diego was also orchestrated from above,” says Viganò, “with an encrypted peremptory order to me as Nuncio, by Cardinal Parolin: “Reserve the See of San Diego for McElroy.” 

“McElroy was also well aware of McCarrick’s abuses,” the former nuncio states as well, “as can be seen from a letter sent to him by Richard Sipe on July 28, 2016.”

6. Viganò confirmed homosexual network operatives in US church at highest levels 

Viganò cites several examples of high-level prelates who would have acted to promote homosexuals into positions of responsibility in the Church and/or in are favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality. 

These include, in addition to Maradiaga, former Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, former head of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and president of the Pontifical Academy for Life Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.  

Viganò criticized Cupich for denying the role homosexual behavior plays in the abuse crisis, and cites Professor Janet Smith in saying there is a need to eradicate the homosexual networks in the Church

“These homosexual networks,” Viganò states, “which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.”

7. Viganò called Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl a liar

“I myself brought up the subject with Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions, and I certainly didn’t need to go into detail because it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it,” he writes. “The Cardinal’s “recent statements that he knew nothing about it … are absolutely laughable. He lies shamelessly.”

8. Viganò implicated Cardinal Parolin, who is considered papabile, in the McCarrick scandal 

“Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the current Secretary of State, was also complicit in covering up the misdeeds of McCarrick,” he wrote.

“As Nuncio to Washington, I wrote to Cardinal Parolin asking him if the sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict were still valid. Ça va sans dire that my letter never received any reply!”

9. Viganò revealed Pope's dislike of 'right-wing,' i.e. faithful,  bishops

“I began the conversation, asking the Pope what he intended to say to me with the words he had addressed to me when I greeted him the previous Friday. And the Pope, in a very different, friendly, almost affectionate tone, said to me: 'Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia,' (the Pope did not give me the name of the Archbishop)”

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is well- known for his faithfulness to perennial Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality. 

10. Viganò identified Jesuit Fr. James Martin as someone who promotes 'LGBT agenda'

After protest from Catholic laity over the appointment of Father James Martin to bring his pro-LGBT message to the World Meeting of Families in Ireland last week, Viganò uniquely names the scandal in his testimony.

Viganò writes, “Father James Martin, S.J., acclaimed by the people mentioned above, in particular Cupich, Tobin, Farrell and McElroy, appointed Consultor of the Secretariat for Communications, well-known activist who promotes the LGBT agenda, chosen to corrupt the young people who will soon gather in Dublin for the World Meeting of Families, is nothing but a sad recent example of that deviated wing of the Society of Jesus.”

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