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By now I suspect you have heard about the 11-page letter issued Saturday night by former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Viganò served as the Papal Nuncio from 2011 - 2016.
His testimony alleges that Pope Benedict XVI sanctioned Archbishop McCarrick as far back as 2009, yet Pope Francis revoked these sanctions and allowed McCarrick to serve publicly in the Church, live with seminarians, and collaborate on the appointment of several high-ranking members of the Church in the United States.
Our recent survey made clear: Catholics want the truth. No matter who is involved. And they want those responsible to be held accountable.
Late yesterday, reporters asked the Holy Father about these allegations. Pope Francis replied:
“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. I will not say a single word on this.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is taking these allegations very seriously. Moments ago, he released the following statement:
"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.”
Cardinal DiNardo makes the very good point that without conclusive answers based on evidence, we run the risk of tainting innocent men or allowing guilty men to continue in positions of power. These allegations must be investigated and substantiated.
However, we also cannot allow ideologues to demonize Viganò, as some are already doing, as if this were some kind of election campaign to protect a political party. The investigation now required cannot devolve into a flashpoint over different “factions” in the Church. If these are lies, let the evidence prove them false.
But if leaders in our Church truly covered up criminal activity, predators, rape and abuse of children, seminarians, and young priests, then justice must prevail. No person is immune. Lay people, priests, bishops, cardinals, and even popes must be held accountable.
Open the files.
Be transparent. Hide nothing.
Who knew what? And when did they know it?
If and when evidence substantiates wrongdoing, for the sake of the Church (and the good of their own souls) -- those responsible must resign or be removed.