ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Whistleblower prelate Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò is correcting falsehoods about Pope Francis' knowledge of serial sexual predator Theodore McCarrick.
In a letter released Friday, the former papal nuncio to the United States refuted Cdl. Marc Ouellet's characterization that McCarrick's penalties were merely rumors and noted that Ouellet's response actually confirms that Francis knew of these penalties, but chose to ignore them and promote McCarrick.
Archbishop Viganò began his letter by reiterating his motivation for speaking out: fear of God, and fear for his own soul.
"To bear witness to corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was a painful decision for me, and remains so," he reflected. "But I am an old man, one who knows he must soon give an accounting to the Judge for his actions and omissions, one who fears Him who can cast body and soul into hell."
"Anticipating the dreadful question from that Judge — 'How could you, who had knowledge of the truth, keep silent in the midst of falsehood and depravity?' — what answer could I give?" he asked.
"I believe that my continued silence would put many souls at risk, and would certainly damn my own," Viganò added. "Therefore I spoke. For it is the conspiracy of silence that has wrought and continues to wreak great harm in the Church — harm to so many innocent souls, to young priestly vocations, to the faithful at large."
The archbishop — in hiding since the release of his bombshell testimony Aug. 25 — reiterated key points of his original account. He reaffirmed that the Vatican has known of McCarrick's homosexual predation of young seminarians and priests since November 2000, when the first reports were filed by Abp. Gabriel Montalvo, papal nuncio to the United States from 1998–2005.
He noted the Holy See was again informed of McCarrick's crimes in December 2006, when Abp. Pietro Sambi, the new papal nuncio to the United States, reported the former Washington, D.C. cardinal's "homosexual behavior with yet another priest."
That same month, Viganò said, he penned a memo to Cdl. Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, "calling for the pope to bring extraordinary disciplinary measures against McCarrick to forestall future crimes and scandal." Bertone did not respond.
Archbishop Viganò recalled that, in April 2008, Cdl. Bertone received a copy of clerical sex abuse expert Richard Sipe's open letter to Pope Benedict detailing "further accusations of McCarrick's sleeping with seminarians and priests." He added that after receiving a copy of Sipe's letter in May, he wrote a second memo reporting the claims against McCarrick and delivered it personally to Abp. Fernando Filoni, then-substitute for general affairs. Again, he received no response.
But "in 2009 or 2010," Viganò noted, he learned that Pope Benedict had imposed penalties on McCarrick, ordering him "to cease public ministry and begin a life of prayer and penance."
He relayed that in November 2011, shortly after being named papal nuncio to the United States, he met with Cdl. Ouellet, the new prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, to review Benedict's restrictions on McCarrick. Afterward, he said, "I myself communicated them to McCarrick face-to-face."
Viganò then retraced Pope Francis' political maneuvering to lift Benedict's penalties from McCarrick, noting that during a June 23, 2013 meeting with Francis, the Pontiff asked him, "Cardinal McCarrick — what do you make of him?"
"I could only interpret [the question] as a feigning of curiosity in order to discover whether or not I was an ally of McCarrick," Viganò said, adding, "I told him that McCarrick had sexually corrupted generations of priests and seminarians, and had been ordered by Pope Benedict to confine himself to a life of prayer and penance."
"Instead," he continued, "McCarrick continued to enjoy the special regard of Pope Francis and was given new responsibilities and missions by him."
"McCarrick was part of a network of bishops promoting homosexuality who, exploiting their favor with Pope Francis, manipulated episcopal appointments so as to protect themselves from justice and to strengthen the homosexual network in the hierarchy and in the Church at large," Viganò explained, adding that "Pope Francis himself has either colluded in this corruption, or, knowing what he does, is gravely negligent in failing to oppose it and uproot it."
Viganò then addressed Cdl. Ouellet's Oct. 7 letter slamming his testimony as a "blasphemous" attack on Francis.
Ouellet, he noted, inadvertently confirmed several key points in his account:
In sum, he concluded, Ouellet "concedes the important claims I did and do make, and disputes claims I don't make and never made."
Archbishop Viganò remains in hiding out of fear for his personal safety — a fugitive for speaking out against the homosexual current in the Church.