Published: Tue, August 28, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Former Vatican official accuses Pope of covering up abuse by ex-Cardinal

Former Vatican official accuses Pope of covering up abuse by ex-Cardinal

A former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. has demanded that the Pope resign for what he says is his complicity in covering up the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to the United States, said he had told Francis of the claims against prominent USA cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013.

Pope Francis said Sunday that he had read the letter from a former Vatican official that calls for the Roman Catholic Church leader's resignation.

Pope Francis allegedly removed those sanctions and made McCarrick "his trusted counsellor" despite knowing him to be a "serial predator".

Archbishop Vigano claimed that then-Pope Benedict imposed unannounced sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick.

When asked about Archbishop Vigano's reputation, Figueiredo replied, "I know him personally".

The cardinal said that he is eagerly awaiting an audience with Pope Francis to "earn his support" for the US bishops' plans to "seek out these answers, make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier, and improve procedures for resolving complaints against bishops".

"I will not say a word about this", Pope Francis told reporters.

Vigano is a former papal nuncio for the United States.

"I repeated them to Cardinal McCarrick at my first meeting with him at the nunciature".

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"It was only when he was forced by the report of the abuse of a minor, again on the basis of media attention, that he took action [regarding McCarrick] to save his image in the media", Vigano continued.

"Regarding Cardinal Sean O'Malley, I would simply say that his latest statements on the McCarrick case are disconcerting, and have totally obscured his transparency and credibility", Vigano wrote.

Francis accepted McCarrick's resignation as cardinal last month after a US church investigation determined that an accusation he had sexually abused a minor was credible.

Francis' tenure as pontiff has ushered in a new era of liberalism in the Church - including preaching tolerance of members of the LGBTQ community - though his papacy has also been dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct levied against numerous prominent clergy members, such as ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, as well as Church-backed cover-ups.

Vigano also mentioned in his letter "two documents from the same Littleton, in which he recounted his tragic story of sexual abuse by (McCarrick)".

This is not the first time that Archbishop Vigano has been openly critical of Pope Francis.

The Irish Catholic Church has been rocked by revelations of paedophile priests, sexual abuse in Catholic-run orphanages, and the exploitation of women in mother-and-baby homes. Wuerl, however, has also been accused of helping to protect abusive priests when he served as Pittsburgh's bishop between 1988 and 2006.

Vigano himself has previously been accused of trying to quash a church investigation into a former archbishop's alleged sexual misconduct with adult seminarians - something that Vigano has denied.

The timing of the letter's release - right in the middle of Francis's landmark trip to Ireland - has raised speculation of a campaign against the Argentinian pontiff by conservatives in the Church.

Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who spoke ahead of the Pope on Saturday, did not skirt the current abuse revelations that have emerged in Pennsylvania.

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