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August 27, 2018

Pope Francis: No Comment About Whether I Reinstated a Cardinal Had I Been Warned Was Guilty of Serious Sexual Improprieties; Let's Talk About The Trip I'm Taking

Rose Garden strategy for the Pope, I guess.

Pope Francis said Sunday that he will not comment on claims by a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. that the Pope knew about allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and reinstated him in ministry. The Pope said people should make up their own minds about the claims.

Asked whether it was true that Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the statement's author, had informed him in 2013 about Archbishop McCarrick's alleged sexual misconduct with priests and seminarians, and if it was true Benedict XVI had previously imposed sanctions on the former cardinal, the Pope said he was distracted by the previous question and would have preferred to talk about the trip.

"I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment," he answered. "I will not say a single word on this."

Speaking aboard the papal plane from Rome to Dublin Aug. 26, Francis said he believes in the "journalistic capacity to draw your own conclusions," calling it an "act of faith."

"When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak. But I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you," he told members of the press.

Asked in a follow-up question when he first learned about the abuse allegations against Archbishop McCarrick, Pope Francis responded, "This is part of the statement. Study it and then I will say."

TFP.

More Background: At the WSJ (archived page).



More: "Thousands" in Ireland protest Francis' mass over his protective stance towards those judged guilty of sexual misconduct.

More: Via a commenter, Powerline has a long and interesting overview, including this bit:

Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganÚ of Ulpiana (a diocese in the Balkans) has released his full testimony about the matter here, in which he declares that "the [sex abuse cover up] corruption has reached the very top of the Churchís hierarchy"--meaning Pope Francis himself. In 2006 Bishop Vigano and several other senior clerics warned Pope Benedict about Cardinal McCarrick (who ought to rot in a cell somewhere for the rest of his life if even a quarter of the stories about him are true):
I ended my memo by repeating to my superiors that I thought it was necessary to intervene as soon as possible by removing the cardinal's hat from Cardinal McCarrick and that he should be subjected to the sanctions established by the Code of Canon Law, which also provide for reduction to the lay state. . .

Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.

But none of this happened. Instead, McCarrick was transferred to Washington DC and kept his Cardinalís mitre. Bishop Vigano believes Pope Francis was directly involved in this transfer.

This paragraph of Viganoís testimony is especially interesting:

Immediately after, the Pope [Francis] asked me in a deceitful way: "What is Cardinal McCarrick like?" I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naivete: "Holy Father, I donít 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." The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject. But then, what was the Pope's purpose in asking me that question: "What is Cardinal McCarrick like?" He clearly wanted to find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not.

This is where things get interesting and speculative. Why did Pope Benedict resign the papacy? There have been rumors circulating for years that some kind of scandal was used to force him out. Bishop Vigano doesn't talk about this, but mentions the curious detail that Cardinal McCarrick was prominent among the boosters of Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis's name before becoming Pope) for the papacy. The clear subtext of Bishop Viganoís missive is that what drives Pope Francis in these matters is wanting to make the American Catholic hierarchy more liberal. He reports that Pope Francis said to him: "Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia." He means here Archbishop Charles Chaput, one of the most notable conservative bishops today. Cardinal McCarrick said the exact same thing to Bishop Vigano, as though McCarrick and Pope Francis share talking points with one another.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 12:36 PM

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