Vatican Planning “Clarification” of Alleged Abuse Cover-Up

The Holy See’s Press Office released a statement yesterday saying that the Council of Cardinals who are currently in session at the Vatican are aware that the Holy See is “about to make the eventual and necessary clarifications” concerning allegations that Pope Francis was part of a cover-up of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s history of sexual abuse.

According to Vatican News, this revelation came during a meeting of the Council of Cardinals, known as the C9, which consists of nine members appointed by Pope Francis to advise him the area of Church governance and reform of the Curia.

In the statement, the Council “expressed its full solidarity with Pope Francis with regard to the events of recent weeks, aware that in the current debate the Holy See is about to make the eventual and necessary clarifications.”

Thus far, the pope has refused to comment on an 11-page document written by retired ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, and released to the press on August 26.

In this document, Vigano named more than two dozen current and former high-level Vatican officials, including Pope Francis, who he said were aware of accusations made against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick that he sexually harassed minors as well as adult seminarians and young priests.

A response to the allegations of a Vatican cover-up became even more urgent last week when the Catholic News Service (CNS) reported on a letter in the possession of a New York City priest named Father Boniface Ramsey which appears to confirm Vigano’s accusations.

Father Ramsey, who served on the faculty of Immaculate Conception Seminary during the time when McCarrick is accused of having committed some of his crimes, received complaints from seminarians. He sent a letter about these concerns to the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States at the time, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo informing him of these complaints.

In 2006, then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, who was serving as the Vatican substitute for general affairs, sent Ramsey a letter requesting information regarding a priest who had studied at the seminary during his tenure and was being vetted for a post at a Vatican office.

In the letter, Archbishop Sandri specifically refers to Ramsey’s previous correspondence: “I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo.”

As Father Ramsey confirms, the “serious matters” Sandri referenced his letter concerned McCarrick’s misdeeds committed at the seminary.

As CNS surmises: “The 2006 letter not only confirms past remarks made by Father Ramsey, but also elements of a document written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016.”

Pressure appears to be mounting on the Vatican to respond to the accusations made by Vigano.

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors told Vatican News this week that

“recent events in the Church have us all focused on the urgent need for a clear response on the part of the Church for the sexual abuse of minors.”

In a statement released August 27, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said: “The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.”

The Vatican has given no indication of when the clarification will be released to the public.

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