Thu | Jan 24, 2019

Letter: Vatican knew about disgraced archbishop's behaviour

Published:Monday | August 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Pope Francis waves as he leaves Dublin Airport to go back to the Vatican, putting an end to his visit to Ireland yesterday.


The Vatican's retired ambassador to the United States accused senior Vatican officials of knowing as early as 2000 that the disgraced former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, regularly invited seminarians into his bed but was made a cardinal regardless.

The letter, an extraordinary allegation from a one-time Holy See diplomat, also accuses Pope Francis of knowing about McCarrick's behaviour in 2013 but rehabilitating him - a claim of cover-up against the pontiff himself.

The National Catholic Register and another conservative site, LifeSiteNews, published the letter, attributed to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, yesterday as the pope wrapped up a two-day visit to Ireland dominated by the clerical sex-abuse scandal.

Vigano, 77, a conservative whose hard-line anti-gay views are well known, urged the reformist pope to resign over the issue and what he called the "conspiracy of silence" about McCarrick. He and the pope have long been on opposite ideological sides, with the pope more a pastor and Vigano more a cultural warrior.

The Vatican did not immediately comment. The document's authenticity was confirmed to The Associated Press by an Italian journalist, Marco Tosatti, who said he was with Vigano when the archbishop wrote it.

"He was very emotional and upset at the end the effort," Tosatti told AP, adding that Vigano left Tosatti's home afterwards without saying where he was going.

In the letter, Vigano accused the former Vatican secretaries of state under the previous two popes of ignoring detailed denunciations against McCarrick for years. He said Pope Benedict XVI eventually sanctioned McCarrick in 2009 or 2010 to a lifetime of penance and prayer.