ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Whistleblower Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò is hitting back against claims he defrauded his brother.
On Oct. 9, the Court of Milan ruled that the archbishop must pay 1.8 million euros in inheritance money to his brother.
The case stems from a joint project — a Carmelite monastery in the central African nation of Burundi — built with funds from an "undivided inheritance" bequeathed to the two brothers by their wealthy industrialist parents.
The brothers dedicated the monastery, "Fiat Pax," to their parents. But after a falling out with Viganò, Fr. Lorenzo petitioned the Italian court for repayment.
European media pounced on the story, and in tabloid fashion, they twisted the account to paint Abp. Viganò as deceitful, implying his testimony about the homosexual current in the Church cannot be trusted.
As LifeSiteNews recounted, headlines included:
In Monday's statement, the archbishop's attorneys laid out the facts of the case:
For over 10 years, Fr. Lorenzo Viganò has subjected Archbishop Viganò to a judicial siege and a veritable defamation campaign in the press. ... Nevertheless, Archbishop Viganò has always suffered such attacks in silence in order to avoid further exploitation of the family's legal affairs, which have nothing to do with the other well-known "institutional" affairs that he has become involved in.
The statement went on to lay out the facts of the case, noting that the Court of Milan "ordered Archbishop Viganò to pay, in response to a judicial request for the division of assets and adjustment of their mutual debits and credit with his brother Fr. Lorenzo Viganò, the principal of approximately € 1.8 million."
The court ruling, it explained, was handed down after "an initial request from Fr. Lorenzo Viganò of almost €40 million," which it described as "a grossly unrealistic figure in respect to the actual value of the entire joint ownership of property of the two brothers."
Archbishop Viganò, it noted, did not appeal the decision, and "the Court of Milan rejected all the other requests made by Fr. Lorenzo Viganò, who started the case against his brother, refusing any mediation from the family."
It emphasized the archbishop has "already willingly paid entirely the amounts established by the judgment," and that Fr. Lorenzo "received essentially what he would have received had he accepted the settlement proposals made by his brother, pro bono pacis, in the course of the proceedings."
The statement added that "the accusations of Fr. Lorenzo Viganò have been abandoned or dismissed in the 10 civil, criminal, and administrative cases attempted to date."
Through his attorneys, the archbishop disclosed that he has allocated the bulk of his inheritance "to works of charity and religion, including the construction of a Seminary in Nigeria and a Carmel in Burundi, and will continue to do so."
Viganò's backers have slammed the accusations of theft and dishonesty as a smear campaign. They maintain the allegations are an attempt to discredit the whistleblower for exposing Pope Francis' role in promoting homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick, as well as the wider homosexual current in the Church.