During a return flight from Dublin to Rome on Saturday, Pope Francis refused to comment on allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that he was aware of the long history of abuse by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and did nothing about it.
CNA/EWTN News is reporting on the comments made to members of the press who asked him if the allegations made by the Archbishop were true.
“I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment,” the pope replied. “I will not say a single word on this.”
He went on to say that he believes in the “journalistic capacity to draw your own conclusions,” calling it an “act of faith.”
“When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak. But I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you,” he said.
A reporter followed up with a question about when he first learned about the allegations against McCarrick and again, he refused to comment.
“This is part of the statement. Study it and then I will say.”
The pope’s response comes after the release of an 11-page statement by Archbishop Vigano, a former apostolic nuncio who served in Washington DC from 2011 to 2016.
In his statement, the Archbishop claims that in June of 2013, just several months after the election of Pope Francis, he was at the new papal residence of Domus Sanctae Marthae where he encountered Cardinal McCarrick. At the time, McCarrick was supposedly under restrictions imposed upon him by Pope Benedict in response to his history of homosexual predation. These restrictions included a prohibition from public ministry and travel. However, when he saw McCarrick that day, he had just had a meeting with the pope and told Vigano, “The Pope received me yesterday, tomorrow I am going to China.”
“At the time I knew nothing of his long friendship with Cardinal Bergoglio and of the important part he had played in his recent election,” Vigano writes.
The following day, while the Pope was greeting the nuncios one-by-one, he stopped when he came to Vigano and said, “The Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized! They must be shepherds!”
Vigano had no idea what he meant and requested a follow-up reception with the pope which occurred a few days later. During this meeting, he asked the Pope what he meant by the comment and was told, “Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia, (the Pope did not give me the name of the Archbishop) they must be shepherds; and they must not be left-wing — and he added, raising both arms — and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual.”
Immediately after this, the Pope asked me in what Vigano called a “deceitful” way: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?”
“I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naiveté: ‘Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.’
“The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject,” Vigano recounts.
He goes on to claim that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick. Not only did he repeal the sanctions imposed by Benedict, but made McCarrick a “trusted counselor” who recommended pro-gay prelates for bishops.
Vigano ends his statement, which he said his conscience dictated him to write in order to reveal how “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” called on Pope Francis and other Church officials accused of covering up abuse allegations to resign.
Thus far, the Vatican has issued no official statement about these allegations.
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