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The Inspirational Archbishop Viganò

That image — a riff on the new Nike campaign — just came to me from a Catholic priest, who made it.

Earlier today I was speaking to a well-connected Catholic source about the overall situation. He mentioned that he believed Vigano completely, not because he knows anything about Vigano’s allegations, but because he respects Vigano for daring to try to clean up the corruption in the Vatican city-state. My source, who is in a position to know, told me that the Roman curia is run on a patronage system. When Pope Benedict XVI put him in charge of governing the Vatican city-state in 2009, Vigano clashed with cardinals who didn’t want their special arrangements messed with. That’s why he was sent away to the United States.

My source said that it’s hard to express to people who don’t know how things are done in the Vatican how courageous it was for Vigano to stand up as Vatican governor against that system. That’s why he believes Vigano today.

For what that’s worth…

UPDATE: It occurred to me that Vigano is going to win this one. That is, he’s going to compel Francis to answer his allegations. When you become a meme this powerful, you’re unstoppable.

UPDATE.2: A reader sent in this image he made tonight. I like it:

change_me
24 Comments (Open | Close)

24 Comments To "The Inspirational Archbishop Viganò"

#1 Comment By A Hopeful Trad On September 4, 2018 @ 8:13 pm

I too admire Archbishop Vigano’s courage, which I believe derives from holiness.

#2 Comment By Randy On September 4, 2018 @ 9:35 pm

If Nike really wants to be “brave,” it’ll stop using child slave labor/sweatshops to manufacture its goods.

#3 Comment By Uncle Ted Bergolio On September 4, 2018 @ 9:35 pm

Not a bumpersticker kind of guy, but I had a Vigano sticker made.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 4, 2018 @ 10:13 pm

Pope John Paul I, pray for Vigano…

#5 Comment By Caroline On September 4, 2018 @ 10:42 pm

That meme is simply awesome.

#6 Comment By Jefferson Smith On September 4, 2018 @ 10:43 pm

It occurred to me that Vigano is going to win this one. That is, he’s going to compel Francis to answer his allegations.

That’s not saying much, though. If you’ve ever seen people in management positions pressed to answer to obviously bad or wrong decisions, you know that there are a thousand ways they can bob and weave, deflect or dilute the blame, minimize what happened, take advantage of the ambiguities and complexities of the situation, and if all else fails, just lie. You don’t rise to the top without knowing these tricks pretty well.

In real life, what ultimately forces a reality check, and possibly an admission or judgment or wrongdoing, are legal processes — third parties with the power to investigate, prosecute, or hear and act on grievances and lawsuits. But this isn’t real life, this is the Vatican: There are no such mechanisms. Francis’ “answer” could be the equivalent of Trump’s “NO COLLUSION!”, except delivered more quietly and without the bombast, and what then? There’s no Robert Mueller on his case to force the issue any further beyond that.

#7 Comment By Jefferson Smith On September 4, 2018 @ 10:44 pm

*”…an admission or judgment OF wrongdoing….”

#8 Comment By jz On September 4, 2018 @ 10:56 pm

I think you’re underestimating Francis’ stubbornness, but I certainly hope you’re right. The problem is the longer this goes on in silence, the more of a step down it will be for Francis to respond.

#9 Comment By Jefferson Smith On September 4, 2018 @ 10:56 pm

And I should add that when I say that if all else fails the guy in charge can just lie, I’m saying he can lie without even realizing he’s doing so — can lie to himself, that is. I once saw an academic dean testify under oath that he had never believed X, even though the minutes of a governing committee he had served on showed him not only voting for X but seconding the motion for it. I’m sure, though, he was convinced that because X had since become inconvenient for him, he had reconstructed events in his mind, such that the vote and maybe that meeting had never happened. In a court or a hearing, you can produce the documentation and prove him wrong, and then maybe he’s forced to answer for real (though that further answer can still be a load of obfuscation). But which court in the Vatican (a) can compel testimony from the Pope and (b) is not under his control to begin with? Plus, (c) you’re dealing with a Pope in this case who’s already shown he’s no stranger to statements of studied vagueness. He answers to very few people, and he’ll have no trouble constructing an “answer” that satisfies them, which is all he needs.

#10 Comment By Planet Albany On September 4, 2018 @ 11:20 pm

My two cents, referencing you, here:
[1]

#11 Comment By pbnelson On September 4, 2018 @ 11:42 pm

Vigano for pope!

#12 Comment By savvy On September 5, 2018 @ 12:11 am

Why was Vigano at a dinner honoring MCCarrick, and why did he concelebrate a Mass with him, after he was informed of the sanctions placed on MCCarrick.?

[2]

Why did Vigano give a speech honoring MCCarrick at the event?

[3]

Vigano is lying.

[NFR: ::::heavy sigh:::: Vigano. Was. A. Diplomat. And. This. Is. What. Diplomats. Do. All. The. Time. — RD]

#13 Comment By charles cosimano On September 5, 2018 @ 12:20 am

Jefferson Smith is right.

The Vatican can simply label Vigano as a follower of Goldstein, a doubleplus ungood duckspeaker and, taking refuge in doublethink, put all his words down the memory hole and forget him.

“Vigano? There never was a Vigano.”

And if it does, what is anyone going to be able to do about it?

#14 Comment By Elijah On September 5, 2018 @ 8:43 am

“…you’re dealing with a Pope [Francis] in this case who’s already shown he’s no stranger to statements of studied vagueness.”

I think this is right. Rod is right in suggesting that Vigano is going to compel Francis to say SOMETHING. Whether it is responsive, truthful, or even coherent remains to be seen.

The bottom-line shame of this is that while all these Vatican politicians wrangle over this or that their moral and spiritual authority continues its slide down the chute. All of the sexual abuse, predatory behavior (go ask your average Christian family if they give a s**t that their priest is a pedophile rather than a pederast), secret lives, contempt for Church teaching, etc. will leave few caring what the Church or such-and-such prelate has to say anymore.

We’ve commented at length on this blog about the language of the leaders: fussy, administrative, waffling, uncaring and point out open and honest priests as if they were something special. They’re supposed to be the norm!

One of your readers wrote in about churches that are on board with all the progressive notions of the day are emptying at the same rate as all the others.

LGBT “acceptance” – I’m not sure that’s the proper word – is a battle to be fought and won by progressive Catholics who will go on to the next fight (women priests?) because that’s what they do. The rest of the Catholics who aren’t gay, don’t care, and have some notion of where the Church’s authority comes from will simply leave.

That’s fine for all of the old farts who will retire on the Church’s assets but I suspect the future for Catholics is very grim unless Church leaders really start to step up.

Which doesn’t seem likely.

#15 Comment By EngineerScotty On September 5, 2018 @ 11:18 am

[NFR: ::::heavy sigh:::: Vigano. Was. A. Diplomat. And. This. Is. What. Diplomats. Do. All. The. Time. — RD]

And the Pope is the head of state for the Holy See. Any “diplomatic exceptions” to the suggestion that anyone who participated in covering up abuse, might apply up the chain, no?

At any rate–and fortunately for your argument (but not for Vigano), I’m not sure I entirely buy that theory. True, diplomats often have to tolerate making nice with horrible people–but must such people are outside their organization. The US ambassador in Saudi Arabia, for instance, regularly smooches the backside of the Crown Prince and the rest of the Saudi royal family, and his Saudi counterpart in Washington likewise does so to Trump, and if either are decent men, they wash their faces and hands thoroughly afterwards. But yes, part of the gig of being a diplomat is being polite and even solicitous to terrible people.

But the various appearances with McCarrick–don’t appear to be diplomatic functions, and more importantly, McCarrick isn’t a member of a foreign government that it’s part of a diplomat’s job to be nice to.

How to deal with someone publicly, when you privately know them to be a dirtbag, is a longstanding interesting question in ethics. And once again, “avoiding scandal” comes to the forefront–the defense of Vigano here is that he was trying to avoid causing a stir (and Just Doing His Job); were he to refuse to fete McCarrick or to give a speech that was less than effusive in its praise, it likely would have raised eyeballs if not cause an outright incident.

But this justification seems to be only being applied to Vigano in this instance.

#16 Comment By EngineerScotty On September 5, 2018 @ 11:22 am

It occurred to me that Vigano is going to win this one. That is, he’s going to compel Francis to answer his allegations. When you become a meme this powerful, you’re unstoppable.

Except it takes about five seconds to produce and share an Internet meme–sites like imgflip make it almost trivial.

And I’d wager you far more people know who Colin Kaepernick is than know who Archbishop Vigano is…. you could plaster the same caption on a photo of Kim Davis and it would be equally “powerful” to some people.

#17 Comment By savvy On September 5, 2018 @ 12:33 pm

Rod,

Sorry Rod, I am not buying the diplomatic excuse. This was an event put on by a Catholic organization that involved Mass.

He could have taken a stance with the information he knew, and he didn’t.

I do think his lies are going to be unfolding in the days to come.

#18 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On September 5, 2018 @ 1:32 pm

I’m glad to hear that savvy and Engineer Scotty would gladly torch their careers to snub a colleague in a fruitless gesture. I’m not sure it’s prudent. But it’s pretty ballsy. Kudos.

#19 Comment By Elijah On September 5, 2018 @ 2:55 pm

“But it’s pretty ballsy. Kudos.”

Impulsivity + stupidity = “ballsy”.

Great stuff: he’s an idiot, but has big brass ones.

Reminds me of the saying “We’re lost, but we’re making great time.”

#20 Comment By JohnInCA On September 5, 2018 @ 3:25 pm

A fired employee that gives testimony against their former boss may be “brave”, but they’re not “inspirational”.

Inspirational would be refusing to be complicit in such cover-ups and crimes in the first place, not staying silent for years and years until the house is already burning down.

#21 Comment By yenwoda On September 5, 2018 @ 7:32 pm

“[NFR: ::::heavy sigh:::: Vigano. Was. A. Diplomat. And. This. Is. What. Diplomats. Do. All. The. Time. — RD]”

It’s not exactly inspirational though, is it?

[NFR: Well, no. But look, I have a friend who allowed a family friend who sexually molested him as a boy stand in his wedding. He hadn’t told his parents (or anybody else) about the abuse, and his folks expected him to invite the friend, so he did. His wedding pictures now have that creep in them. That’s an extreme case, but things like this happen all the time: people making nice in public when internally they feel very differently. Again, diplomats do this professionally. So do criminal defense lawyers. — RD]

#22 Comment By EngineerScotty On September 5, 2018 @ 9:29 pm

I’m glad to hear that savvy and Engineer Scotty would gladly torch their careers to snub a colleague in a fruitless gesture. I’m not sure it’s prudent. But it’s pretty ballsy. Kudos.

The issue isn’t necessarily that Vigano said nice things about McCarrick at some function or other.

The issue is that while an active archbishop, with likely knowledge that a cardinal was abusing seminarians (I’m not sure if his abuse of children was known or not at this point), he went and notified the Vatican–and not receiving satisfaction for his warnings, did nothing.

Until, many years later, he retires and then goes and spills the beans, once nothing more could be done to him.

Even if he felt that “going public” would be a fruitless gesture that would only hurt his career but not result in McCarrick’s ouster, there are many other options:

1) An anonymous source. I’ll ask Rod a question here–you knew about McCarrick for a while, but all your sources were off the record, and journalistic ethics prevented you from saying anything. What if you had an anonymous source whom you considered credible–would you have reported on McCarrick if a “highly placed official within the Roman Catholic church”, albeit one not willing to be named, had accused him?

2) If he knows of criminal behavior, he can go to the police.

#23 Comment By JohnInCA On September 6, 2018 @ 12:33 pm

“But look, I have a friend who allowed a family friend who sexually molested him as a boy stand in his wedding.”
Yes, that’s exactly the sort of thing that “playing nice” allows. Which is exactly why people shouldn’t “play nice” when something is so very *wrong*.

This sort of “playing nice” is exactly why the Catholic Church has it’s current problem: because so many people, including both the church and the laity, valued playing nice and appearances over truth and justice.

#24 Comment By Sandor I Lengyel On September 7, 2018 @ 1:03 am

savvy
Your quotes does not proves or disproves whether Vigano is lying. It only proves that you hope that Vigano is lying. Only a thorough investigation will prove it, which Vigano hopes will happen.