Nuclear war in Rome: Vatican's former U.S. ambassador claims Francis protected 'Uncle Ted'

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said -- right out in public -- that he worked behind the scenes as part of the network that elected Pope Francis.

Now, according to the former Vatican ambassador to the United States from 2011-2016, McCarrick had every reason to do this. That would be Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a major Vatican player on the doctrinal right, who claims that Pope Francis and his network of supporters in red hats protected McCarrick from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Thus, Vigano has called for Francis to resign.

Yes, Vigano is a Francis critic -- as noted (with good cause) by Elizabeth Dias of the New York Times. However, journalists will also note that Vigano was in a position to see the letters and emails from people on both sides of the long, long battle over whether "Uncle Ted" McCarrick could be driven out of the College of Cardinals. He is claiming the ability to name names and quote chapter and verse.

This will be a nuclear war between the Catholic left and right and people on both sides will have what journalists should -- read SHOULD -- find hard to ignore: documents and first-hand knowledge of key moments in this secret drama. Will the mainstream press quote the voices and documents on both sides, in the battle between bishops and cardinals?

Here is the key information at the top of the Edward Pentin report in The National Catholic Register:

In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò ... said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.
Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement, simultaneously released to the Register and other media, (see full text below) that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick 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.”  Viganò said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark. 

The Register report claims that it has direct confirmation of the Benedict sanctions against McCarrick. The source? Staff close to Pope Benedict XVI.

The full Vigano memo is available at the Register, through Whispers in the Loggia and via Rod Dreher. Take your pick. We are now waiting for the first media reports on this side of the Atlantic.

Once again, the big story here is the existence of competing secret networks in Catholic life, clashing on a number of issues linked to sexual abuse, celibacy, seminaries and homosexuality. The warfare appears to go all the way to the top. As Dreher noted, concerning Vatican efforts to protect McCarrick: 

Vigano’s testimony gives weight to the theory that Benedict XVI resigned because he knew the lavender mafia in the Curia held all the cards, and that he couldn’t do anything. When the leader of the SSPX urged him to reform the Church, Benedict supposedly pointed to the entrance to his office, and said, “My authority ends at that door.”

The whole Vigano memo is must reading. Here is a key passage:

At the Angelus on Sunday, August 12, 2018 Pope Francis said these words: “Everyone is guilty for the good he could have done and did not do … If we do not oppose evil, we tacitly feed it. We need to intervene where evil is spreading; for evil spreads where daring Christians who oppose evil with good are lacking.”
If this is rightly to be considered a serious moral responsibility for every believer, how much graver is it for the Church’s supreme pastor, who in the case of McCarrick not only did not oppose evil but associated himself in doing evil with someone he knew to be deeply corrupt. He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert, thus multiplying exponentially with his supreme authority the evil done by McCarrick. And how many other evil pastors is Francis still continuing to prop up in their active destruction of the Church!
Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren. Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock.
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.

For now, I will end with this -- from Ross Douthat at The New York Times. This is the key reality for journalists:

 

 

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