The Vatican journalist Aldo Maria Valli has received a new communique from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. I post an English translation below, via Google Translate:
Witnessing corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was a painful decision for me, and it still is. But I am an old man, one who knows that he will soon have to give an account to the judge of his actions and omissions, who fears the One who can throw body and soul into hell. Judge, who, even in his infinite mercy “will make each one according to merit the prize or eternal punishment” (Act of Faith). Anticipating the terrible question of that Judge: “How could you, you who were aware of the truth, remain silent in the midst of so much falsehood and depravity?” What answer could I give?
I spoke in full awareness that my testimony would have caused alarm and dismay in many eminent people: ecclesiastics, brother bishops, colleagues with whom I worked and prayed. I knew that many would feel hurt and betrayed. I predicted that some of them would have accused me and questioned my intentions. And, most painful of all, I knew that many innocent faithful would be confused and disconcerted by the spectacle of a bishop who accused confreres and superiors of misdeeds, sexual sins and gross negligence on their duty. Yet I believe that my continuous silence would have endangered many souls, and would certainly have condemned mine. Despite having repeatedly reported to my superiors, and even to the Pope, the aberrant actions of McCarrick, I could have publicly denounced the truths I knew of. If there is any of my responsibility for this delay, I regret it. It is due to the gravity of the decision I was about to take and the long struggle of my conscience.
I have been accused of creating confusion and division in the Church through my testimony. This statement can only be credible for those who believe that such confusion and division were irrelevant before August 2018. Any dispassionate observer, however, could already well see the prolonged and significant presence of both, which is inevitable when the successor of Peter he refuses to exercise his principal mission, which is to confirm his brothers in faith and in sound moral doctrine. Then, with contradictory messages or ambiguous declarations, the crisis is aggravated, the confusion worsens.
So I spoke. Because it is the conspiracy of silence that has caused and continues to cause enormous damage to the Church, to so many innocent souls, to young priestly vocations, to the faithful in general. With regard to my decision, which I have taken in conscience before God, I willingly accept every fraternal correction, advice, recommendation and invitation to progress in my life of faith and love for Christ, the Church and the Pope.
Let me remind you again of the main points of my testimony.
• In November 2000, the nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Montalvo informed the Holy See of the homosexual behavior of Cardinal McCarrick with seminarians and priests.
• In December 2006 the new nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, informed the Holy See of the homosexual behavior of Cardinal McCarrick with another priest.
• In December 2006, I also wrote an Appointment to Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State, who personally gave to the Substitute for General Affairs, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, asking the pope to take extraordinary disciplinary measures against McCarrick to prevent future crimes and scandals. This note was not answered.
• In April 2008, an open letter to Pope Benedict by Richard Sipe was transmitted by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Levada, to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, which contained further accusations to McCarrick to go to bed with seminarians and priests. It was delivered to me a month later, and in May 2008 I presented myself with a second note to the then Deputy for General Affairs, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, reporting the charges against McCarrick and demanding sanctions against him. Also this according to my note did not have an answer.
• In 2009 or 2010 I learned from Cardinal Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, that Pope Benedict had ordered McCarrick to cease public ministry and start a life of prayer and penance. The nuncio Sambi communicated the pope’s orders to McCarrick, raising his voice so that it was heard in the corridors of the nunciature.
• In November 2011, Cardinal Ouellet, the new prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, reconfirmed to me, the new nuncio in the United States, the restrictions placed by the pope in McCarrick, and I myself told McCarrick face to face.
• On 21 June 2013, towards the end of an official meeting of the nuncios in the Vatican, Pope Francis addressed to me words of reproach and difficult interpretation on the American episcopate.
• On June 23, 2013, I met Pope Francis in private person in his apartment for clarification, and the Pope asked me: “Cardinal McCarrick, how is it?”, Words that I can only interpret as a false curiosity to discover if I were ally or not by McCarrick. I told him that McCarrick had sexually corrupted generations of priests and seminarians, and that Pope Benedict had ordered him to devote himself solely to a life of prayer and penance.
• McCarrick, on the other hand, continued to enjoy a special consideration on the part of Pope Francis, who instead entrusted him with important new responsibilities and missions.
• McCarrick was part of a network of homosexual bishops who enjoyed the favor of Pope Francis promoted episcopal appointments to protect themselves from justice and strengthen homosexuality in the hierarchy and in the Church in general.
• Pope Francis himself seems either to be conniving with the spread of this corruption or, aware of what he is doing, is gravely responsible because he does not oppose it and does not try to eradicate it.
I invoked God as a witness to the truth of these statements of mine, and none of them was denied. Cardinal Ouellet wrote reproving me for my recklessness in having broken the silence and moved serious accusations against my brothers and superiors, but in truth his rebuke confirms me in my decision and, indeed, confirms my affirmations, one by one and in toto.
• Card. Ouellet admits that he told me about McCarrick’s situation before I left for Washington to start my nuncio job.
• Card. Ouellet admits to inform me in writing conditions and restrictions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict.
• Card. Ouellet admits that these restrictions prohibited McCarrick from traveling and appearing in public.
• Cardinal Ouellet admits that the Congregation for Bishops, in writing, first through the Nuncio Sambi and then again through me, ordered McCarrick to lead a life of prayer and penance.
What does Cardinal Ouellet deny?
• Card. Ouellet disputes the possibility that Pope Francis could have remembered important information about McCarrick in a day when he had met dozens of nuncios and had given each person only a few moments of conversation. But that’s not what I witnessed. I have witnessed that, in a second private meeting, I informed the Pope, answering a question about Theodore McCarrick, then Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, a prominent figure in the Church of the United States, telling the Pope that McCarrick had sexually corrupted his same seminarians and priests.
• Card. Ouellet disputes the existence in his archives of letters signed by Pope Benedict XVI or by Pope Francis regarding sanctions on McCarrick. But that’s not what I witnessed. I testified that he had in his archives key documents – regardless of provenance – that incriminate McCarrick and related to the measures taken against him, and other evidence of the cover-up regarding his situation. And I confirm it again.
• Card. Ouellet disputes the existence in the archives of his predecessor, Cardinal Re, of “notes of hearings” that imposed to McCarrick the restrictions mentioned. But that’s not what I witnessed. I have testified that there are other documents: for example, a note by Card. Re not ex-Audientia SS.mi, or signed by the Secretary of State or Substitute.
• Card. Ouellet denies that it is false to present the measures taken against McCarrick as “sanctions” decreed by Pope Benedict and canceled by Pope Francis. True. They were not technically “sanctions”, they were provisions, “conditions and restrictions”. To investigate whether they were sanctions or provisions or what else is pure legalism. From a pastoral point of view it is exactly the same thing.
In short, Cardinal Ouellet admits the important statements that I have made and do, and challenges the claims I do not and have never done.
There is a point on which I must absolutely deny what Cardinal Ouellet writes. The cardinal states that the Holy See was aware only of simple “rumors”, not enough to be able to take disciplinary measures against McCarrick. I affirm instead that the Holy See was aware of a multiplicity of concrete facts and in possession of proving documents, and that nevertheless the responsible persons preferred not to intervene or were prevented from doing so. Compensation for the victims of the sexual abuse of McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen, the letters of P. Ramsey, of the nuncios Montalvo in 2000 and Sambi in 2006, of Dr. Sipe in 2008, my two notes in this regard to the superiors of the Secretariat of State who described in detail the concrete allegations against McCarrick, are they just rumors? They are official correspondence, not gossip from the sacristy. The crimes reported were very serious, there were also those of the acquittal of accomplices in turpi acts, with subsequent sacrilegious celebration of the Mass. These documents specify the identity of the perpetrators, that of their protectors and the chronological sequence of the facts. They are kept in the appropriate archives; no extraordinary investigation is needed to recover them.
In the accusations made against me publicly I noticed two omissions, two dramatic silences. The first silence is on the victims. The second is on the root cause of so many victims, namely the role of homosexuality in the corruption of the priesthood and the hierarchy. Regarding the first silence, it is shocking that, in the midst of so many scandals and outrage, there is so little consideration for those who have been victims of sexual predators by those who had been ordained minister of the Gospel. It is not a question of settling accounts or matters of ecclesiastical careers. It is not a question of politics. It is not a question of how church historians can evaluate this or that papacy. It’s about souls! Many souls have been put and are still in danger for their eternal salvation.
Regarding the second silence, this serious crisis can not be properly addressed and resolved as long as we do not call things by their real name. This is a crisis due to the plague of homosexuality, in those who practice it, in its motions, in its resistance to being correct. It is not an exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy and that it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons. It is an enormous hypocrisy to deprecate the abuse, to say to cry for the victims, and to refuse to denounce the main cause of so many sexual abuses: homosexuality. It is hypocrisy to refuse to admit that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and not to resort to the means to remedy it.
There are no doubt in the clergy sexual violations even with women, and these too create serious damage to the souls of those who practice them, to the Church and to the souls of those who corrupt. But these infidelities to priestly celibacy are usually limited to the individuals immediately involved; they do not tend by themselves to promote, to spread similar behavior, to cover such misdeeds; while overwhelming evidence of how the plague of homosexuality is endemic is spread by contagion, with deep roots difficult to eradicate.
It is established that homosexual predators exploit their clerical privileges to their advantage. But to claim the crisis itself as clericalism is pure sophistry. It is pretending that a medium, an instrument, is actually the root cause.
The denunciation of homosexual corruption, and of the moral cowardice that allows it to grow, does not encounter consensus and solidarity in our day, unfortunately not even in the highest spheres of the Church. It is not surprising that in calling attention to these wounds, I am accused of disloyalty to the Holy Father and of fomenting an open and scandalous rebellion. But rebellion would imply pushing others to overthrow the papacy. I am not exhorting anything of the kind. I pray every day for Pope Francis more than I have ever done for the other popes. I ask, indeed I implore, that the Holy Father will face the commitments he has made. By accepting to be the successor of Peter, he took upon himself the mission of confirming his brothers and the responsibility of guiding all souls in following Christ, in spiritual combat, by the way of the cross. He admits his mistakes, he repents, proves that he wants to follow Peter’s mandate and, once he has repented, confirms his brothers (Luke 22.32).
In conclusion, I would like to repeat my appeal to my brother bishops and priests who know that my statements are true and that they are in a position to be able to testify, or have access to documents that can resolve this situation beyond any doubt. You are also faced with a choice. You can choose to withdraw from the battle, continue in the conspiracy of silence and take your eyes off the advance of corruption. You can invent excuses, compromises and justifications that delay the day of reckoning. You can console yourself with duplicity and illusion that it will be easier to tell the truth tomorrow and then again the next day.
Or you can choose to talk. Trust in Him who told us “the truth will set you free”. I do not say that it will be easy to decide between silence and speaking. I urge you to consider which choice on your deathbed and in front of the just Judge you will not regret having taken.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
19 October 2018
Memory of the Martyrs of North America