OCTOBER 7, 2018
VATICAN CITY – Nearly six weeks after Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò issued a 7,000-word claim of misconduct coverup by Pope Francis, the Vatican came to the defense Sunday.
A top Vatican cardinal called the claims of Viganò, who is a conservative and dislikes the Pope’s liberal attitudes, “blasphemous,” according to an AP News report.
The letter, published in August, claimed the Pope previously knew about the sexual misconduct of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and was “complicit” in its coverup, according to the New York Times.
McCarrick, now 88, was faced with allegations of sexually abused an altar boy nearly 50 years ago. He issued a statement defending his innocence in June.
“While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people,” McCarrick said.
Shortly after, Francis said he would “not say a single word about this.”
“I believe the statement speaks for itself,” he said at a news conference. “And you have the sufficient journalistic ability to make your conclusions. It’s an act of trust.”
Despite not accepting or denying the claims, the Vatican defended Francis and said Viganò’s statement had no “real foundation.”
“In response to your unjust and unjustified attack, dear Vigano, I conclude that your accusation is a political setup without any real foundation that could incriminate the pope, and I repeat that it has profoundly wounded the communion of the church,” the Cardinal Marc Ouellet wrote.
Ouellet’s letter did acknowledge that McCarrick was subject to disciplinary measures; however, the call to a life of prayer was cut short due to the lack of evidence of the rumors.
This is the first response from the Vatican following Viganò’s 11-page letter, calling out “two dozen Vatican and U.S. church officials of covering up for McCarrick since 2000, and demanded Francis resign for his role in the scandal,” according to AP News.
Ouellet ended his letter was a call of repentance from Viganò.
“Come out of your hiding place, repent for your rebellion and return to better feelings toward the Holy Father rather than fostering hostility against him.”