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Canon lawyer: Pope Francis ‘should resign’ if Viganò’s testimony is true

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

DETROIT, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A respected American canon lawyer and blogger has stated that if the testimony of Archbishop Viganò is true, Pope Francis should resign. 

Responding to the assertion of a Canadian priest-journalist, Father Raymond J. DeSouza, that the Vatican whistleblower was wrong to call for the pontiff’s resignation, canonist Ed Peters wrote yesterday that anyone who would protect and favor a sexual miscreant was unworthy of the Chair of Peter.

Having described how Canon Law allows clerics to step down from ecclesiastical offices for reasons either mild or grave, Peters stated: 

“Of what was said above concerning resignation from Church office in general, what would not apply to a pope, of all office holders, if he, as alleged by Viganò, from the first months of his papacy knowingly protected and favored a cardinal who was [pick a disgusting verb]-ing seminarians?” the canon lawyer asked.  

“By what possible stretch of the imagination would such an occupant be suited for the Chair of Peter?” he continued. “Does the historical fact that some pretty bad popes held on to office despite committing various offenses justify other popes acting badly in shirking even the minimal gesture of resigning?

Peters said that Viganò was within his canonical rights to ask a prelate, even the Pope, to step down. 

“Viganò is unquestionably in a position to know, and claims to know, whether his central allegation that Francis was covering for McCarrick, big time, for years, is correct,” he wrote. 

“Believing, as he does, that his claims are correct, Viganò, in calling for Francis’ resignation, has done nothing more or less than exercise his right under Canon Law 'to manifest to the sacred pastors [his] opinion on matter which pertain to the good of the Church and to make [his] opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful…'”

Peters stated that he himself had not called for Francis’ resignation as he does not know with sufficient “certitude” that the Vatican whistleblower’s “key allegations” against the pontiff are substantially true. 

“…[H]owever,” he added, “ if I reach the conclusion that they are true, I would say, without hesitation, that Francis should resign.”

Peters believes that if the former Nuncio’s allegations are proven, then a papal refusal to resign “would be a catastrophe for Catholic credibility and unity.” 

So far Pope Francis has neither denied nor affirmed Viganò’s allegations that he protected McCarrick and was influenced by the then-cardinal in the promotion of a number of American bishops. The closest the pontiff has come to responding, such Vatican-watchers as Rod Dreher believe, is in a homily about the importance of silence. 

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