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US bishop calls on Pope Francis to address Viganò allegations ‘directly’

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CHARLESTON, South Carolina, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — An American bishop has written to the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States to demand an investigation into the advancement of an abusive cleric and into allegations made by Archbishop Viganò.

On August 31, Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, published a letter he addressed to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the diplomat Pope Francis chose to replace Viganò as Nuncio to the USA. (The full letter is published below.)

In his letter, Guglielmone told Pierre that the Church “is in crisis” and that “something must be done now.”

“It is imperative that the Holy See take a leadership role in investigating the rise of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, despite the reported knowledge of his prior sexual misconduct and monetary settlements during his earlier diocesan assignments,” the bishop wrote.  “It is absolutely necessary for all of us to know how and why this happened. Action must occur immediately and publicly.”

Citing the statement of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Guglielmone said he too supported an investigation by the Vatican “along with a national lay commission with its own authority” to ascertain the truth of allegations made by Archbishop Viganò in his recent testimony about corruption in the hierarchy.  

The bishop also pleaded with the nuncio for Pope Francis to respond to Viganò’s statement.

“... It is necessary that the Holy Father respond to the allegations made by the Archbishop. Please encourage the Holy Father to address these allegations directly,” he wrote.

Guglielmone also endorsed an independent, laity-led, national review board to review allegations made against bishops, so as to better protect victims of clerical sexual abuse.  However, he stressed the need for bishops also to take responsible action.

“This time of scandal requires especially strong and courageous leadership. I pray that all bishops commit to a new era of transparency and action,” he wrote. “We must dedicate ourselves to the healing of all whose faith has been undermined and work to do all we can to prevent such crimes from happening in the future.”

The bishop said that both he and the people under his care felt “betrayed, angry and misled.”

 

Letter of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States

August 31, 2018

His Excellency Christophe Pierre, Nuncio, Apostolic Nunciature

Dear Archbishop Pierre,

Our Church is in crisis and as the leader of the Catholic faithful in the State of South Carolina, I write with urgency to express my sentiments and echo those of the people in my care. We feel betrayed, angry and misled.

Something must be done now. I have several recommendations that support the statement from Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is imperative that the Holy See take a leadership role in investigating the rise of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, despite the reported knowledge of his prior sexual misconduct and monetary settlements during his earlier diocesan assignments. It is absolutely necessary for all of us to know how and why this happened. Action must occur immediately and publicly.

I, too, strongly support an investigation by the Holy See along with a national lay commission with its own authority to seek the truth about the statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. These recent reports have triggered many different versions of what has actually happened and it is necessary that the Holy Father respond to the allegations made by the Archbishop. Please encourage the Holy Father to address these allegations directly. This is in everyone’s best interest; lack of knowledge and uncertainty contribute to the confusion so much a part of our people’s lives today. Our Church is called to be a beacon of light in the darkness. I ask that you be an ambassador of truth and assist in the securing of actionable change.

Also, I wholeheartedly endorse every effort to reform and renew our initiatives to protect survivors in allowing the national review board to serve as an independent entity that will review allegations made against bishops. This work must be entrusted to the laity.

This time of scandal requires especially strong and courageous leadership. I pray that all bishops commit to a new era of transparency and action. We must dedicate ourselves to the healing of all whose faith has been undermined and work to do all we can to prevent such crimes from happening in the future.

Please know that I support all of your efforts to assist our Church here in the United States.

In the Lord’s Peace,

Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone

Bishop of Charleston

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