****See update at the end.****
So, when I wrote my last post, I already knew about the attacks on Archbishop Vigano. I didn’t address them at that time, though, because I get really annoyed when I draw attention to National catholic Reporter and their ridiculous propagandizing under the guise of “reporting.” Now, however, it’s crossed over to Crux, although it’s wrapped in John Allen’s usual school of nice. He just tries too hard to see both sides as if there’s no agenda there, either. He can’t call a spade a spade when this Pope has fulfilled all his hopes and dreams on the economy, war, poverty, and the death penalty.
Here’s the part where I’m going to launch into my Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano apologist persona and point out how weird it is that the Pope who touts honesty and transparency in giving interviews on planes told the reporters to basically go suck lemons.
Making sense of McCarrick cover-up charges against Pope Francis
John L. Allen Jr.Aug 27, 2018 EDITOR
Yes, let’s use a little common sense, not hopes and dreams. Let’s just look at the reality of the situation.
DUBLIN – As Pope Francis wrapped up a 32-hour visit to Ireland on Sunday, the cold, windy and rainy weather undoubtedly put a damper on turnout. Officials had expected around a half-million people to flock to Dublin’s Phoenix Park for the concluding Mass, for instance, but in the end the Vatican said 300,000 people turned out.
Ireland has been hit hard by clergy abuse, but yeah, it’s the weather. Do I know why people didn’t show? Of course not, but neither does John Allen, and that’s pretty much how this whole article goes. Let’s show an event and provide some correlation and causation that may or may not exist. The problem here is that it becomes a character assassination piece on Archbishop Vigano – but done in a nice way. Sigh.
Let me state this at the outset, and I just ran across a piece from Rod Dreher that pretty much says the same thing – Archbishop Vigano’s motives for doing what he did DON’T MATTER ONE BIT. He made claims that the Pope can either confirm or deny, so how about we see that happen??? Honestly, I like Vigano and I always have. He was crucial in some amazing episcopal appointments and did his best to try to save this nation. He’s a staunch supporter of traditional marriage and he’s against admitting homosexuals into seminary. Is he bitter about being appointed to this miserable country (Catholic wise, that is)? Does he have an axe to grind or is he thinking of the countless victims of McCarrick and club? Don’t know, don’t care. I only care about the facts laid out while using a little common sense on the allegations against him.
Yet as it turns out, the meteorological storms Francis faced paled in comparison to the metaphorical ones breaking on Sunday, in part related to his overall handling of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, but more specifically to an astonishing claim by a former papal ambassador in the U.S. that Francis had lifted restrictions imposed on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, despite being informed of misconduct concerns against McCarrick in June 2013.
Yes, the bad does pale in comparison to thousands of lives altered by this abuse scandal. The claim by Vigano wasn’t astonishing. That’s what’s so terribly sad about it. The only thing that was astonishing is that someone broke through the cone of silence.
Aboard the papal plane on Sunday, Francis basically challenged reporters to judge those accusations for themselves – the clear suggestion being that if they did so, the charges would crumble under their own weight.
Oh, yeah, he sure challenged them. He didn’t take the 5th at all. Sigh. What happened to his reasoning for never formulating answers ahead of time? What happened to the transparency and authenticity which supposedly come from his interviews on a plane?
Assuming journalists take the pontiff up on his offer, so far we have only the word of that former ambassador, Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, that he personally informed Francis on June 23, 2013, of the sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Benedict.
Over and over again on Sunday, I was pressed by colleagues and ordinary folk alike for an answer to one burning question: “How seriously should we take this?”
Here’s my bottom line response: Take it seriously, but with a large grain of salt.
But, pray-tell, why, John? This was a very public accusation with dates and names included, and the only response has been “No comment.” Who is more suspect at this point? Sure, Archbishop Vigano could be flipping insane, but he’d have to be to put out something like this simply because of sour grapes. This isn’t a simple “The Pope knew” statement. This one puts it all on the line. Also, who has a lengthier track record of abuses being brought to light and ignored. ***cough***Honduras***cough***
One certainly can’t dismiss the charge out of hand, if for no other reason than never before has a former papal ambassador accused a sitting pope of complicity in what would amount, if true, to a criminal cover-up.
I’m not sure it could actually be considered criminal since it was the over-18 crowd and no charges have been brought yet. If it was true, it really would be far more than a cover-up. It would be allowing a dirty old man to wander free in the Church after sanctions had been placed on him by prior Pope.
To be clear, this isn’t some anonymous figure claiming to have sent the pope a letter. Viganò was the pope’s man in America for five years, and over that time he certainly had the means and opportunity to inform the pope of things if he wanted to.
Further, there’s a symbolic dimension to the situation. Francis has been charged with mishandling an abuse allegation, and if there isn’t a credible and transparent effort to get to the bottom of things, then the pontiff’s rhetoric in Ireland about being “firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice” might ring hollow.
Right, again, especially after his fumbling of other large-scale abuse issues.
On the other hand, there are at least four reasons why a large grain of salt is warranted.
And here comes all of the stuff that doesn’t change the fact a list of charges have been laid out to confirm or deny.
To begin with, the 11-page statement Viganò released to reporters probably undercut his own credibility in key respects. The letter contains charges of some form of wrongdoing or questionable behavior against no fewer than 32 senior churchmen, and in most cases Viagnò himself acknowledges that his comments are based on no more than supposition and/or connecting the dots.
Uh, OK. That’s a sweeping generalization. If you had gone for “some of his comments”, you might have been close, John. Let’s go down the list, shall we?
Bertone is known for putting homosexuals in positions of authority. Not supposition.
McCarrick admitted he had shared his bed with seminarians. Not supposition.
Sodano was given all the McCarrick info. Not supposition.
Sodano tried to cover up the Maciel case. Not supposition.
Sodano responsible for putting McCarrick into power. Finally, a supposition and a good one at that. Makes total sense, though.
Cardinal Re wanted nothing to do with McCarrick. Not supposition.
Sambi gave Bertone the file. Not supposition.
Montalvo sent a report to Bertone. Not supposition.
Sodano sent out a press release saying Maciel case was closed. Pope Benedict smacked that idea down. Not supposition.
Bertone didn’t quibble over Vincenzo de Mauro (another one everyone knew was an active homosexual). I guess you could say supposition, but do we hear any quibbling?
Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia subvert Catholic teaching on homosexuality. I guess you’d throw that under supposition. But, really?!
Cardinals Edwin Frederick O’Brien and Renato Raffaele Martino? Don’t know them, so I’ll give John one point for supposition.
Cardinal Wuerl? Not sure how anyone could think John is this ignorant at this point. Supposition based on a mound of evidence that he knew a whole lot more than he’s saying.
When anyone hurls around accusations quite so lightly, it’s difficult to know how seriously any one ought to be taken.
Bishop Paul Bootkoski and Archbishop John Myers? They made payouts, for heaven’s sake.
Farrell? Supposition, but a very logical supposition. That said, he’s kind of one of the lackeys, so who knows.
Cardinal O’Malley? Dude! This was his job. He either was completely incompetent or he knew big time.
Second, Viganò has a history.
Now onto John’s suppositions.
He was a key player in the “Vatileaks” scandal under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, which pivoted on confidential documents being stolen and leaked to the press by a papal butler. Among them were two letters by Viganò to Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s then-Secretary of State, protesting his impending appointment as ambassador in the U.S. on the grounds that he wanted to remain in the Government of the Vatican City State and continue battling financial corruption.
I love how you’re a key player in “Vatileaks” when your stuff was found and leaked.
Then as now, the letters contained a mix of factual detail with innuendo and conspiracy theories, and it proved arduous – in some cases, basically impossible – to separate the wheat from the chaff.
As conspiratorial as the current testimony, John? Says you.
Third, Viganò arguably undercut his credibility by not dealing with his own record on the abuse issue.
And here’s the only place they might have game, although I think witch hunt.
According to a 2014 memo, first made public in 2016, Viganò as nuncio quashed an investigation – going as far as demanding that evidence be destroyed – into then-Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who was being investigated for misconduct with seminarians as well as cover-up of sexual abuse. In 2015, Nienstedt stepped down as head of the archdiocese.
By not at least trying to explain his actions in the Nienstedt case, Viganò left open some serious question marks
So if you’ve got some serious question marks for him, what punctuation are you tallying for the Holy Father at this point?
Let’s go over a bit of a timeline here. Nienstedt was accused of inappropriately touching a teen during a post-confirmation photo shoot in December of 2014. It was investigated by police, and in March of 2014 they said, after an intensive investigation, that no charges were warranted. Archbishop Vigano then met with Nienstedt in April. All other allegations against Nienstedt were decades earlier and seemingly he said/he said statements. Oddly enough, they all magically appeared after the battle over “gay referendums” started in Minnesota. So, in quite good conscience, Vigano likely concluded that the police found nothing in the case of the confirmand and that this was likely an attack launched by proponents of “gay marriage.” Right or wrong, Vigano looking the other way was hardly as habitual as, say, the Holy Father.
As far as Nienstedt goes, I think he did indeed blow it not removing some priests and he resigned.
Fourth, it may be difficult for many observers to escape the impression that all this was orchestrated with a political agenda in mind.
In the statement on McCarrick, Viganò clearly betrays a generally conservative political bias, among other things in his frequently derisive commentary on prelates and clerics he finds to be excessively “pro-gay” – such as an offhand claim that Italian Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (both former or current Vatican officials) “belong to the homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.”
Wait, John! I thought suppositions were verboten?! And really, fighting for traditional marriage and following the rule of keeping homosexuals out of seminary are political things? You can keep your head in the sand about Coccopalmerio and Paglia, but that’s really how we got into this mess, isn’t it, John? Sorry, but when you’ve already spoken highly of homosexual relationships AND your buddy you’re recommending for bishop gets arrested for hosting a homosexual orgy…
There’s also the question of why Viganò’s statement appeared today, on the very day Francis was struggling to address the abuse scandals in Ireland. Adding all that up, the release of the statement can’t help but strike some as an orchestrated maneuver.
Oh, what mystifying conspiracy does that allude to? And really, why suggest it when you’re just going to turn around and say:
(As a footnote, if this was indeed orchestrated, it had to be a pretty off-key orchestra. Had Viganò restricted himself to releasing a crisp, one-page statement focusing solely on the charge against Francis, a former nuncio’s standing would have guaranteed a wide echo. As things stand, it’s understandably difficult for many people to know quite what to make of it.)
Is it some grand design or isn’t it? Could Archbishop Vigano simply given up hope that anything was ever going to be done after the decade or so of reports?
“I believe the statement speaks for itself, and you have enough journalistic capacity to reach the conclusions,” Pope Francis told reporters on Sunday.
Time will tell what conclusions are indeed reached, but a sober point of departure right now probably would blend genuine curiosity with healthy skepticism.
My skepticism lies with the hierarchy of the Church. The Pope’s lack of a response is troubling, particularly when, as you, John, so eloquently put it, he is fond of “taking questions on every topic under the sun with no filters and no limits, speaking without notes and delivering straight answers.”. Where are those straight answers? Why don’t you spend a little less time trying to downplay Archbishop Vigano and more time trying to get those answers for all of the victims? Writing things off as “political” doesn’t do a darn thing for them.
While Allen wants to suggest the whole testimony of Archbishop Vigano is supposition, again, please read the whole sad thing for yourself. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4784141/TESTIMONYXCMVX-XENGLISH-CORRECTED-FINAL-VERSION.pdf
Not five seconds after publication this came in:
LifeSite also has an article with the supporting documents. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vigano-issues-new-statement-documents-to-clear-his-name-of-false-charges
Whatcha think John Allen?
This firm belongs to the group “Lawyers for All Families,” who fought against Archbishop Nienstedt over the approval of same-sex marriage in the State of Minnesota.
Who was the braniac who chose the law firm that wants to take down the Church in the “gay marriage” issue to investigate and how did anyone in authority agree to that? Where should the skepticism lie again? Can’t imagine why anyone would think that Archbishop Nienstedt wasn’t going to get a fair shake there.