In a bombshell 11-page letter written by the former Vatican Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, it was alleged that high-level Vatican officials, Cardinals, Bishops, and even Pope Francis himself were complicit in covering up the scandal surrounding disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Archbishop Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio (essentially the Vatican Ambassador to the U.S.) in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, wrote that Pope Benedict XVI had acted against Cardinal McCarrick, putting strict sanctions upon McCarrick and that he personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.
Viganò claims he told Francis about the allegations, saying: “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.”
Despite this, Viganò wrote that Pope Francis lifted these sanction imposed by the Pope Emeritus, and made McCarrick a key adviser, in Viganò’s words, a “king-maker”, who influenced the selection of Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Tobin of Newark, and others.
Additionally, Viganò claims that earlier efforts by his predecessors as nuncio to alert Rome about the “open secret” of McCarrick’s behavior were obstructed and prevented from being given to Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict by Italian Cardinals Angelo Sodano and Tarcisio Bertone – the Secretaries of State, respectively, for those Popes.
[Editor’s Note: It is important to note that allegations made by Archbishop Viganò are, as of yet, unsubstantiated.]
Archbishop Viganò, wrote that his “conscience dictates” that he write this letter, saying: “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy”, and concludes by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover-up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.
On June 20, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, on the order of Pope Francis, sanctioned former Cardinal McCarrick from all public ministry after an investigation found an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor was “credible and substantiated.”
Subsequent allegations uncovered by the media reveal multiple accusers, including a teenaged boy, three young priests or seminarians, and a man now in his 60s who alleges McCarrick abused him from the age of 11. Pope Francis subsequently accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals.
Pope Francis nor the Vatican have responded to the allegations of Archbishop Viganò’s letter.
Despite the strong words and dynamite allegations of Viganò’s memo, Viganò himself has been previously accused of mishandling of sex abuse allegations. According to a memo made public in 2016, while serving as nuncio, Viganò prevented an investigation into then-Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis who was being investigated for sexual misconduct with seminarians. In 2015, Nienstedt stepped down as head of the archdiocese.
You can read the full letter here: