The Pope is in Ireland, trying to heal a church that has been profoundly damaged by the pedophilia scandal, the abuse of young women in the Magdalen laundries, and the 800 infant and toddler deaths discovered in a common grave at a mother and baby home in Tuam. At one point Mass attendance in Ireland was 90%. Now they say it’s 30%, and that may be a generous estimate. When I visited Ireland some years ago, the village churches seemed as empty as tombs. You could have rolled a bowling ball down the center aisle of any one of them without disturbing a soul at prayer.
Smack dab in the middle of the Pope’s visit comes the accusation by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that Pope Francis knew of the sex abuse charges surrounding then Cardinal McCarrick, and squashed them.
“In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.
Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement, simultaneously released to the Register and other media, (see full text below) that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.” Viganò said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.”
The Vatican has powerful factions, not all of them fans of the current Pope. Some are actively working to bring Pope Francis down, so they can return the papacy to an arch- conservative. I have no idea what faction Vigano might belong to, and how sincerely motivated his accusations are. But if they are true, they are very, very bad news for this Pope.