DUBLIN (CNS) — Pope Francis has declined to comment on calls for him to resign made by a senior Catholic prelate.
Carlo Maria Cardinal Vigano, the former Nuncio to the United States on August 22 published an 11-page document calling on senior Catholic Church leaders including Pope Francis and his Secretary of State – Pietro Cardinal Parolin to resign in the wake of the sex scandals that have hit the church, especially in the US.
But Pope Francis speaking directly to journalists on his return flight to Rome from Dublin said Italian Cardinal Vigano’s long document calling on him to resign is written in a way that people should be able to draw their own conclusions.
“I read the statement this morning and, sincerely, I must say this to you and anyone interested: Read that statement attentively and make your own judgment,” he told reporters Aug. 26. “I think the statement speaks for itself, and you have a sufficient journalistic ability to make a conclusion.”
Speaking to reporters travelling back to Rome with him from Dublin, the Pope said his lack of comment was “an act of faith” in people reading the document. “Maybe when a bit of time has passed, I’ll talk about it.”
Asked directly when he first learned of the former Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual abuse, Pope Francis said the question was related directly to Archbishop Vigano’s report and he would not comment now.
Archbishop Vigano, the former Nuncio to the United States, claimed he told Pope Francis about Cardinal McCarrick in 2013.
In June, the Vatican announced that the pope had ordered the former Washington archbishop to live in “prayer and penance” while a canonical process proceeds against him. The Pope later accepted Archbishop McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals.
The issue of clerical sexual abuse and other crimes and mistreatment of minors and vulnerable adults by Catholic priests and religious and the attempts by bishops and superiors to cover up the facts dominated the news coverage of the Pope’s trip to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.
The Pope said his meeting Aug. 25 with survivors of abuse was “very painful,” but it was very important “to listen to these people.”
In his document, dated August 22, Cardinal Viganò, who served as Apostolic Nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011-2016, states that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis,” and that Viganò personally spoke with Pope Francis about the gravity of McCarrick’s abuse soon after his election in 2013.
But he says that Francis “continued to cover him”.
Archbishop Viganò also implicates Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Tarscio Bertone and Parolin in the cover-up.
A widely respected figure, Cardinal Vigano says his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy.” He ends his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover-up of McCarrick’s abuse to resign.
But the Pope has called on the public to judge the document.