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Vigano Speaks Out For First Time Since Accusing Pope, Says Francis Is Guilty Of Slander

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
  • Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador who accused Pope Francis of covering up sexual abuse allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, published a second letter with further allegations against the pontiff.
  • Vigano asserted that the silence of Francis and the accused cardinals, and their refusal to deny his allegations, are further evidence of their guilt.
  • The archbishops also called for the release of certain documents that he said will prove the truth of his allegations against Francis.

The archbishop who accused Pope Francis of covering up allegations against Theodore McCarrick published another letter Thursday, accusing the pontiff of engineering “subtle slander.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., doubled down Thursday on his claim that Francis and several other high-ranking church officials were complicit in covering for and enabling the abusive actions and rise in rank of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Vigano’s most recent letter marked the first time the archbishop has spoken out since he initially accused Francis in an 11-page letter in August and refuted allegations against himself of an abuse cover-up. (RELATED: Pope Francis Makes Thinly Veiled Attack On Accusations In Bid For Christian Populism)

He now accuses Francis of engineering a “campaign of subtle slander” and asserts that Francis’ lack of denial of his claims is evidence of the pontiff’s guilt.

“Neither the pope, nor any of the cardinals in Rome have denied the facts I asserted in my testimony. ‘Qui tacet consentit’ surely applies here,” Vigano wrote, referencing a Latin phrase meaning “He who is silent, agrees.”

“For if they deny my testimony, they have only to say so, and provide documentation to support that denial. How can one avoid concluding that the reason they do not provide the documentation is that they know it confirms my testimony?” he added.

The former Vatican ambassador initially accused Francis and at least 32 other high-ranking church officials of refusing to discipline McCarrick and remove him from ministry despite knowing of the multiple allegations against him of sexual abuse against young seminarians and teenage boys, years before the media publicized those allegations. Francis has thus far declined to address the letter at all and has largely ignored it save to say that he “will not say a word” about it, preferring instead to address issues like plastic garbage in the ocean.

Vigano lambasted the pope for refusing to say a word about the allegations and for urging journalists to “draw their own conclusions” by considering the facts carefully while offering no facts or clarifications of his own. The archbishop asserted that if Francis had at least denied his claims, he would have sparked a call for greater investigation and documentation.

“Instead, he put in place a subtle slander against me slander being an offense he has often compared to the gravity of murder. Indeed, he did it repeatedly, in the context of the celebration of the most Holy Sacrament, the Eucharist, where he runs no risk of being challenged by journalists,” he wrote.

“The pope’s unwillingness to respond to my charges and his deafness to the appeals by the faithful for accountability are hardly consistent with his calls for transparency and bridge building,” he added.

Vigano urged Cardinal Marc Ouellet to release documents that the archbishop claimed will prove Francis’ involvement in the McCarrick cover-up.

“Your Eminence, before I left for Washington, you were the one who told me of Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick. You have at your complete disposal key documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups,” Vigano wrote. “Your Eminence, I urge you to bear witness to the truth.”

He also called on Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to disclose the details of the recent meeting between a four-man delegation the he led and Francis and thereby shed light of Francis current approach to the McCarrick scandal.

Cardinal DiNardo and the other prelates should tell the Church in America and in the world: did the pope refuse to carry out a Vatican investigation into McCarrick’s crimes and of those responsible for covering them up?” Vigano asserted. “The faithful deserve to know.”

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