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US cardinals defend themselves over cover-up storm

28 August, 2018, 15:02 | Author: Ted Wilson
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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the retired Vatican ambassador to the USA, also alleges that McCarrick had been sanctioned by Pope Benedict XVI over sexual misconduct, that Pope Francis himself knew, and that those sanctions were later repealed by Pope Francis anyway.

Vigano writes that he told Francis about the allegations: "HolyFather, 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".

Francis so far refuses to directly address Viganó's letter, which also calls for the pope to resign.

The Vatican's ambassador to the USA from 2011 to 2016, Vigano said his two immediate predecessors "did not fail" to inform the Holy See about accusations against McCarrick, starting in 2000.

Vigano, who was posted to the US from 2011 to 2016, said his two predecessors had told the Holy See about the claims against McCarrick and that Vigano himself sent at least two memos.

Archbishop Vigano claimed that then-Pope Benedict imposed unannounced sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick.

According to Mr Vigano, McCarrick's misconduct was known in the Catholic hierarchy for years, and former Pope Benedict XVI ordered him to seclusion for prayer and penance almost a decade ago.

But rather than punish McCarrick, who was forced to resign last month, Vigano said Francis had lifted sanctions imposed on him by his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.

He said Francis asked him about McCarrick when they met on June 23, 2013, at the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel where the pope lives, three months after Francis was elected pope.

In 2016, the National Catholic Reporter said Vigano allegedly ordered the investigation wrapped up and a piece of evidence destroyed.

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Contacted by Catholic News Service, Edward McFadden, secretary for communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, said: "In spite of what Archbishop Vigano's memo indicates, Cardinal Wuerl did not receive any documentation or information during his time in Washington, regarding any actions taken against Archbishop McCarrick".

He was one of the highest-ranking church officials accused of sex abuse in a scandal that has rocked the 1.2 billion-member faith since reports of priests abusing children and bishops covering up for them were reported by the Boston Globe in 2002.

88-year-old McCarrick resigned last month in disgrace and was stripped of his title after allegations that he had abused a minor almost 50 years ago and also forced adult male seminarians to share his bed.

McCarrick, now 88, resigned in disgrace in July.

McCarrick has also been linked to at least two financial settlements, including one in 2005 and another in 2007, after priests accused him of sexual abuse.

Vigano himself has previously been accused of trying to quash a church investigation into a former archbishop's alleged sexual misconduct with adult seminarians - something that Vigano has denied.

Wuerl served as bishop in the Pittsburgh diocese for 18 years.

He said on Saturday that the corruption and cover-up of abuse amounted to human excrement, according to victims.

Pope Francis concluded his 32-hour visit to Ireland with a Sunday Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin, with hundreds of thousands of people braving wet and windy weather to attend.


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