According to CBS News, former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano released a statement on Sunday, claiming that Pope Francis was aware of numerous abuse allegations as far back as 2013 and specifically chose not to seek any further action. In addition, Vigano is subsequently calling for the Pope’s immediate resignation.
In his statement, Vigano wrote, “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 to Cardinals and Bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.”
Vigano told CBS that he is finally speaking up now “to combat the grave situation in the church, to protect the church and also to stop future abuse,” referring to the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report, which accuses over 300 priests in the state of child sexual abuse. Vigano also added that he has no hidden or ulterior agenda, insisting that he is simply telling the truth in light of recent events.
Vigano claims he wrote to Pope Francis sometime in June 2013 to inform the Holy Father of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, referencing his history and pattern of abuse. McCarrick resigned just last month over several allegations of sexual abuse. In his 2013 letter to Pope Francis, Vigano wrote, “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” According to Vigano, the Pope never wrote back and McCarrick continued to serve as a leader in the church.
In Vigano’s current statement, he alleges that Pope Francis was instrumental in helping to cover up McCarrick’s crimes, noting that if he really wants the Catholic church to be transparent, he must confess to his prior knowledge of sexual abuse carried out by the former Cardinal.
Earlier this month, New York priest Father Boniface Ramsey revealed that he had filed complaints against McCarrick on numerous occasions — going all the way back to 1986 — but that McCarrick was never placed under investigation, or forced to resign, until quite recently.
“To restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ,” Vigano continued, “so tremendously disfigured by so many abominable crimes, if we truly want to free the Church from the fetid swamp into which she has fallen, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truths that we have kept hidden.”