Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former top Vatican official and a close ally of the “dubia” cardinals who are have publicly challenged the Pope’s teaching of family life, has called for the resignation of Pope Francis. Earlier this year he attended a conference of Catholic critics of Francis in Rome where the keynote speaker, Cardinal Burke, set out times when a Pope should be “disobeyed”. Vigano is alleging that the Pope has known of the allegations of sex abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. for a long time before he accepted his resignation last month.
This call by Archbishop Viganò comes in the midst of a controversial visit to Ireland where Pope Francis vowed on Saturday to end the sexual exploitation of children by clergy . In a strongly worded statement at a state event which was also attended by abuse survivors, Pope Francis said the corruption and cover up of abuse were completely repugnant. In a statement, the representatives from the Survivors of Mother and Baby Homes group said that, during a private meeting, Pope Francis condemned corruption and cover up within the Church as “caca”, an Italian and Spanish word for human excrement.
McCarrick became the first Cardinal in living memory to resign his position in the Church leadership after a review concluded that claims he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy were credible.
He was one of the highest-ranking church officials accused of sex abuse in a scandal that has rocked the 1.2 billion-member faith since reports of priests abusing children and bishops covering up for them were first reported by the Boston Globe in 2002.
Vigano said in the letter reported by the conservative U.S. National Catholic Register that he had told Francis of allegations against McCarrick in June 2013 shortly after his election as Pope by his fellow cardinals.
“He knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator,” Vigano, who served as the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States at the time.
“Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.”
Vigano’s letter railed against “homosexual networks present in the Church” — the word “homosexual” appears 18 times, while the word “child” appears only twice, in both cases in the titles of Church documents Vigano sites.
Viganò served in Washington until 2016 and towards the end of his tenure was at the centre of a fiasco involving the Pope meeting Kim Davis, a clerk from Kentucky who refused to perform same-sex marriages, during a visit to the United States. A controversial meeting between Francis and Davis took place at Archbishop. Viganò’s residence with the Vatican later emphasised their encounter was not a papal endorsement of her position.
While Archbishop Viganò raised sexual misconduct allegations against McCarrick involving seminarians, he does not claim to have known – or informed the Pope – about evidence of McCarrick’s abuse of minors.