Before the World Meeting of Families, faithful Catholics all over Ireland
were praying and even fasting that the visit to Ireland of Pope Francis
would give the church in Ireland a real lift. But while we were imploring God's blessing on the visit of Pope Francis, others were plotting to use the occasion to try to overthrow him. It now emerges that the timing of Archbishop Vigano's attack on Pope Francis
on the morning of Sunday 25th of August was carefully planned.

Aldo Maria Valli, who is one of those involved in publishing Vigano's
document, testifies, "We agreed on the day and the hour of publication. He
(Vigano) says that on the same day at the same hour the others will publish
it as well. He has decided on Sunday, August 26 because the pope, returning
from Dublin, will have a chance to reply to it by answering questions from
journalists on the plane."

So they deliberately chose the morning of Sunday August 26th. Archbishop
Vigano is an archbishop. The others involved in the plot, the National
Catholic Register, the LifeSiteNews, the La Verita paper,  and InfoVaticana,
all claim to be Catholic publications.


 Had there been even one person with a properly formed conscience amongst them, he would have warned of the collateral damage to the faith in Ireland.


In fact each of them sinned against the Irish Church, and against all who
were praying and fasting for the success of the visit of Pope Francis.

In other words they sinned against me and they sinned against you.
 
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

The only logical explanation for releasing it on the morning of Sunday
August 26th was that they wanted to place Pope Francis in the situation of
having to reply to questions from secular journalists on the plane, without
any chance whatsoever to analyse the accusations that were being made
against him or any chance to spend time in prayer about his response.

Think also of the impact on Pope Francis as a person.  He will be 82 in
December, yet he agreed to a most exhausting schedule during his visit to
Ireland, a schedule that would tax the energies of a much younger person.


Then on the Sunday, these allegations were thrown at him when he had no chance to analyse them or to digest them.


He then had to lead the ceremonies in Knock and to celebrate the Mass in the
Phoenix Park with this hanging over him. I know myself how something like
that will keep intruding on one's mind in the middle of a ceremony, and how
it will greatly affect one's celebration.

Then, at a time when he must have been exhausted out of his mind, he had to
face the media on the plane.
 
The declared aim of Archbishop Vigano's document was to get Pope Francis to
resign. The timing of its release, when Pope Francis would have to face the
media at a time when he was exhausted out of his mind and without him having
had a chance to analyse the allegations against him or to check facts, was
part of the plot to force his resignation.


He is Pope but he is also a human being, a very elderly human being. The timing of the attack upon him was nothing short of ELDER ABUSE.


"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."


But regardless of the outrageous timing of the attack, we have to look at the allegations that Archbishop Vigano makes and to test their validity.


Archbishop Vigano claims, ³Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick
sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the cardinal
was to leave the seminary in which he lived, he was forbidden to celebrate
in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel,
with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.²

But while he did leave the seminary (thank God!), there is ample evidence
that the then Cardinal McCarrick was far from dedicating himself to a life
of prayer and penance..

He concelebrated priestly ordinations alongside cardinals of the Roman
Curia. He gave lectures. On 16 January 2012, he joined the other US bishops
in an audience with Benedict XVI. On 16 April 2012, he met Benedict again
and celebrated the Pontiff¹s birthday together with all those present. He
returned to Rome in February 2013 to bid farewell to Pope Benedict.


But there is far worse.  Cardinal McCarrick was honoured at a Gala dinner in New York on May 12th 2012.  And Archbishop Vigano publicly congratulated him. In his speech, Archbishop Vigano spoke of Cardinal McCarrick as being "very much loved by us all" and of what an "ambassador" he was.


This despite the fact that Archbishop Vigano now claims that already in
2006, he had warned the Vatican that Cardinal McCarrick was  guilty of
"seducing, requesting depraved acts of seminarians and priests, ....
derision of a young seminarian who tried to resist the Archbishop¹s
seductions ..., absolution of the accomplices in these depraved acts,
sacrilegious celebration of the Eucharist, etc. etc."

Further, he claims that in November 2011,  he was briefed on the sanctions
that had been placed on Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict.


Yet, six months later, as the Pope's representative, he publicly
congratulated Cardinal McCarrick. Despite knowing that he was a sexual predator. Based on his own evidence, Archbishop Vigano should be ordered to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance.


Of course he cannot now be given such a sanction as it would be seen as
punishment for being a "whistlebower".

Meanwhile he claims that the day he first met Pope Francis in a general
audience,  that he  "just had time to say to him, 'I am the Nuncio to the
United States' (when) he immediately assailed me with a tone of reproach,
using these words: ³The Bishops in the United States must not be
ideologized! They must be shepherds!²"

A section of that meeting was videod, and, I understand that what is on
video, the friendly and loving greeting from Pope Francis to Archbishop
Vigano, is totally at odds with what Archbishop Vigano now claims.

Desiring to ask Pope Francis what he meant by ³The Bishops in the United
States must not be ideologized! They must be shepherds!², Archbishop Vigano
requested a meeting with Pope Francis. Pope Francis immediately granted him
a 40 minute meeting.
 
During it, Pope Francis again said to him, ³The Bishops in the United States
must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing .... they must be
shepherds; and they must not be left-wing ... and when I say left-wing I
mean homosexual.²

This is consistent with Pope Francis's oft repeated calls for bishops to be
shepherds first and foremost.

But Archbishop Vigano comes up with the bizarre allegation that Pope Francis
was quoting Cardinal McCarrick because a Monsignor Lantheaume said McCarrick
told him,  ³the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they
must not be right-wing, they must be shepherdsŠ.²

From day one, Pope Francis has stressed the need to be shepherds first, to
care for one's people, to be willing to get one's hands dirty. Given this,
any person in their right mind would conclude that McCarrick was quoting
Pope Francis and not Pope Francis quoting McCarrick.

Then Archbishop Vigano claims, "The Pope asked me in a deceitful way: ³What
is Cardinal McCarrick like?²  I answered him with complete frankness and, if
you want, with great naivete: ³Holy Father, I don¹t know if you know
Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a
dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and
priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and
penance.²

Vigano continues, "The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those
very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his
face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he
immediately changed the subject."

Might not Archbishop Vigano, ONCE AGAIN be jumping to conclusions that most
likely have no basis in reality?

One possible reason that Pope Francis changed the subject is that he was so
stunned that he didn't know what to say.  Nor would I trust Archbishop
Vigano's ability to read Pope Francis's face given that what he claims about
their initial meeting in the public audience is totally at variance with the
video evidence.

Next there is Vigano's claim of what he said to Pope Francis. ³Holy Father,
I don¹t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation
for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted
generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to
withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.²

Let us presume that this is an accurate account of what he told Pope
Francis.

Note that he did not specify how McCarrick corrupted generations of
seminarians and priests - it could have been bad teaching, or alcohol, or
corrupt or immoral living.
 
Put bluntly, he did not tell Pope Francis that Cardinal McCarrick was a
sexual predator. Or that he had been sexually imposing himself on
seminarians.

In fact when you read what he says closely, there is no explicit sexual
allegation in it at all.
 
The "dossier this thick" could have been about anything. IF Archbishop
Vigano's declarated that "Pope Benedict ordered (McCarrick) to withdraw to a
life of prayer and penance" it would not have been consistent with what Pope
Francis had seen with his own eyes of McCarrick in the Vatican.

McCarrick was an old man and retired. There were, at that stage, no fresh
allegations against him.  Pope Francis may have considered the matter dealt
with. With hindsight, if Archbishop Vigano said what he now claims to have
said, Pope Francis should have asked further questions and Archbishop Vigano
should have been more explicit - and he certainly should have followed up
with a written summary of the allegations against Cardinal McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano continues, "It was also clear that, from the time of Pope
Francis¹s election, McCarrick, now free from all constraints, had felt free
to travel continuously, to give lectures and interviews."

But as Archbishop Vigano well knew, McCarrick "had felt free" to do all that
and even more before Pope Francis's election.


But his claim that Cardinal McCarrick played a leading role in the ongoing appointment of bishops under Pope Francis does need to be investigated - and truthful answers given.

In fact it has since been roundly rejected by Cardinal Ouellet who was involved in the appointments, nor has Archbishop Vigano been able to contradict Cardinal Ouellet on this extremely important point.


Meanwhile the allegation made by Archbishop Vigano against Pope Francis
meets the standards now being operated by the Church for a "credible"
allegation. To be deemed a "credible" allegation, an allegation does not
have to be likely to be true.  If there is any possibility that it could be
true, it is deemed "credible" - even if there is strong evidence to show
that it is false.

Pope Francis has possibly joined the ranks of those clerics who have had
"credible" but yet false allegations made against them.
 


Meanwhile Archbishop Vigano asserts that 80% of the abuses were committed by homosexual priests.


In fact the study in question, the John Jay study released in 2011, while it
found that 81% of the victims were male, it claimed that there was no direct
connection with homosexuality.

I myself have questions about this conclusion and find myself in agreement with Archbishop Vigano on this point.

Various studies have put those who identify as gay or lesbian in the general
population as under 4%.

A 2011 report  by the Williams Institute stated that 3.8% of Americans
identified as gay/lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

In a survey by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013 of
34,557 adults aged 18 and over, 96.6% identified as straight, 1.6%
identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% as bisexual.

Here in Ireland, in an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI Family Values poll 4%
described themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

With less than 4% of the general population describing themselves as gay,
one might expect that the number of priests who would offend in the same sex
direction would be around 4% of all who abuse.

But in Pennsylvania,  a whopping 74% of those accused, are accused of
abusing boys or young males, 21% of abusing girls, 2% of abusing both boys
and girls (0.7% of the population identifies as bisexual), and 3% involved
child pornography.

Why did 74% of those priests who abused children, abuse boys and male
teenagers?

Think of the difference it would have made if that 74% was down to the 4%
that one might expect given that less than 4% of the population identify as
being same sex orientated.

The conclusion reached by the John Jay study however is that this extremely
high rate of same-sex abuse was not connected with homosexuality, but with
opportunity and other factors.

I have difficulty in accepting that finding,
1. I would tend to think a person will abuse in the direction in which he is sexually attracted.

2. Most abusers are experts at manipulation. Where an abusive priest is working in a parish, if it is girls he is attracted towards, he will  find the opportunity to abuse girls.


I do not have the answers, but as well as preventing abuse in the future, we
do need to understand how and why it happened in the past.
 
Meanwhile it is a time for keeping our eyes on Jesus, and trusting that if
we walk with Him, He will bless us.

The Bible promises, "God works all things for the good for those who love
Him." Romans 8:29

It is clear from Archbishop Vigano's testimony that he did submit several
letters to the Vatican warning of Cardinal McCarrick both in the latter
years of Pope John Paul's pontificate and during Pope Benedict's
pontificate. These letters were sadly not acted on for many years.

Hopefully as a result of Vigano's testimony, those in the Vatican who failed
to act will be held to account.

There is a widespread belief, whether correct or incorrect, that there are
some prominent clerics in the Vatican who are not walking in the way of the
Lord.

This too needs to be dealt with, and to be seen to be dealt with, if
confidence is to be restored in our Church.

Meanwhile for those of us who love God, it is a time for us to go even
deeper in our faith.

Let us pray for the grace to so love God, that in all things, in thought,
word and deed, and especially in the area of relationships and sexuality, we
will seek to do God's will.

Right now our countries need priests whose lives are totally centred on
Jesus, and who are clearly seen to be living chaste lives.
 
May God grant us the grace to ensure that this is so,

Yours, in Christ,

Thaddeus Doyle (Rev.)


Footnotes

 

The Sanctions


 Archbishop Vigano originally claimed that ³Pope Benedict had imposed on
Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope
Francis: the cardinal was to leave the seminary in which he lived, he was
forbidden to celebrate in public, to participate in public meetings, to give
lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of
prayer and penance.²

When it became public knowledge that, apart from leaving the seminary,
Cardinal McCarrick had continued with life as usual, Archbishop Vigano's
explanation was that neither himself nor Pope Benedict were able to do
anything about it as Pope Benedict's sanctions were confidential.

However it seems to me that as the Pope's envoy to the US,  he had an
obligation to have written to Cardinal McCarrick, and to have strongly
reminded him of the sanctions.


The Gala Dinner


The excuse being given for Archbishop Vigano congratulating Cardinal
McCarrick at the Gala Dinner in New York is that "Viganò is a diplomat, and
the job of a diplomat is to be diplomatic."

There is indeed a time to be diplomatic, but not when one knows that the
person is a sexual predator. Then it is time for action.

Archbishop Vigano had an obligation to have alerted Cardinal Dolan that a
sexual predator was about to be honoured at an event in his diocese. This
would have given Cardinal Dolan the opportunity to have alerted the
organisers.

Even if the event went ahead, he could easily have been "too busy" to
attend. If for some reason he absolutely had to attend, as a diplomat, he
should have been well able to have given a talk without a single word of
praise for the then Cardinal McCarrick.  (I know that I would have!) If he
was caught for a photo, it was a time for a little stiffness.

Instead by his words and actions, he sent the message to Archbishop
McCarrick that even if Pope Benedict had imposed sanctions on him, that he
could ignore them. 

 

The Curate's Diary


See also pages 1, 3, 8, 10, 11, 17, and 18 of the October Curate's Diary for  related items. See the November Diary for a follow-up. The Curate's Diary is available by post for just 15 euro for 12 months to addresses in Ireland; 14 stg to the UK, and 23 euro to the rest of the world. 2018 prices

 

Meanwhile


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