Church leaders must face truth of abuse, Cardinal DiNardo says

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Six weeks after Archbishop Vigano threw the papacy into turmoil over his claims about ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the head of the Vatican's bishops' office said there was no evidence in his files backing the archbishop's claims that Francis annulled any sanctions against McCarrick.

The Vatican press office October 6 published a statement saying Pope Francis has decided that as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continues its investigations into the sex abuse allegations against Cardinal McCarrick, "a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the archives of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick" will take place.

His stinging letter, unusually blunt between churchmen, was a point-by-point rebuttal of Archbishop Vigano's statements.

Ouellet said it was "false" that Pope Francis had removed the sanctions imposed on McCarrick by former Pope Benedict, who ordered McCarrick to devote himself to a life of prayer and was banished from ministry.

The McCarrick scandal has thrown the U.S. and Vatican hierarchy into turmoil, given it was apparently an open secret in some USA church circles that he would invite seminarians to his New Jersey beach house and into his bed.

McCarrick resigned in July after an investigation found that he groped a teenage alter boy in the 1970s.

Since then, another man has come forward saying McCarrick molested him when he was a young teenager and other men have said they were harassed by McCarrick as adult seminarians and young priests.

"(The church must be) saved from the attacks of the malign one, the great accuser and at the same time be made ever more aware of its guilt, its mistakes, and abuses committed in the present and the past", Pope Francis said, according to Reuters. I strongly doubt that McCarrick was of interest to him to the point that you believed him to be, since at the moment he was an 82-year-old Archbishop Emeritus who had been without an appointment for seven years. Archbishop Vigano later explained that Pope Benedict issued the sanctions "privately" perhaps "due to the fact that he (Archbishop McCarrick) was already retired, maybe due to the fact that he (Pope Benedict) was thinking he was ready to obey".

As for the written instructions the Congregation for Bishops prepared for Archbishop Vigano in 2011 when he was to begin his service as nuncio to the United States, "they say nothing at all about McCarrick".

In the letter, Vigano accused Francis of making McCarrick a "trusted counselor".

He said he understood that Archbishop Vigano might be bitter at the way his own career ended and his disagreement with Francis' policies.

Secondly the letter mentions "friends" of Mgr Viganò who share his opinions and calls the former nuncio's accusations a baseless "political manoeuvre" and appeals to him to come out "of hiding", repent and retrieve "better feelings towards the Holy Father". I understand that bitterness and delusions have been a part of your journey in service to the Holy See, but you can not conclude your priestly life in this way, in open and scandalous rebellion, which is inflicting a very painful wound on the Bride of Christ, whom you claim to serve better, thus aggravating the division and confusion in the People of God!