Several bishops and cardinals have publicly called for a deeper investigation of the explosive testimony of former U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who publicly called on Pope Francis to resign amid his cover-up of the sexual abuses of Cardinal McCarrick.
The bishops and cardinals who have publicly supported Archbishop Vigano and called for a thorough investigation of the serious allegations against the pope (as well as several other high-ranking cardinals) include:
- Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas
- Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City
- Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois
- Bishop Thomas Daly of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington State
- Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco
- Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix
- Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin
- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia
- Archbishop Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan
- Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the sovereign order of Malta and former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
On August 25, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., issued a detailed, 11-page written testimony that claims that Pope Francis not only had prior knowledge of the sexual abuses of disgraced Cardinal McCarrick, but that he also reversed a previous canonical ban on McCarrick made by Pope Benedict XVI.
Vigano also mentioned several high-ranking prelates as among those involved in the cover-up of the sexual abuses of McCarrick: Cardinal Pietro Parolin, current Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, former Secretary of State, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington D.C., and Cardinal Blasé Cupich of Chicago.
Bishop Strickland: Allegations against the Pope are “credible”
A day after the explosive testimony by Vigano, two senior prelates immediately issued statements of support to his testimony, calling for a “thorough investigation” of the “credible” allegations made against the Pope.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas distributed a letter to all his priests on August 26, saying that he finds the allegations of Archbishop Vigano against the Pope to be “credible”:
“Let us be clear that they are still allegations but as your shepherd I find them to be credible. Using this standard the response must be a thorough investigation similar to those conducted any time allegations are deemed to be credible. I do not have the authority to launch such an investigation but I will lend my voice in whatever way necessary to call for this investigation and urge that it’s findings demand accountability of all found to be culpable even at the highest levels of the Church.”
He instructed his priests to “include this notice in the masses on August 26, and post it on their websites and other social media immediately.”
Cardinal Raymond Burke, on the other hand, insisted Vigano’s charges must be taken seriously and also called for a thorough investigation of every allegation.
“The corruption and filth which have entered into the life of the Church must be purified at their roots,” Burke said.
“The declarations made by a prelate of the authority of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò must be totally taken to heart by those responsible in the Church. Each declaration must be subject to investigation, according to the Church’s time-tried procedural law.”
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone: “I can confirm that they [Vigano statements] are true”
Archbishop Carlo Viganò is a man of integrity who has a “sincere love of the Church” and who has served it with “selfless dedication,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said on August 29 in a statement vouching for the credibility of the long-time Vatican diplomat.
Vigano performed his task “at great personal sacrifice and with absolutely no consideration given to furthering his ‘career,'”, Cordileone said. The San Francisco archbishop also said that while he doesn’t have any privileged information on now-disgraced McCarrick, he can attest to the fact that Viganò is telling the truth about at least some claims.
“From information I do have about a very few of the other statements Archbishop Viganò makes, I can confirm that they are true,” he said. “His statements…must be taken seriously. To dismiss them lightly would continue a culture of denial and obfuscation.”
Oklahoma City Bishop: “I have the deepest respect for Archbishop Vigano”
Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said in a message to the priests and people of his archdiocese that “I have the deepest respect for Archbishop Viganó and his personal integrity.”
“This document merits, indeed it demands, deeper examination and verification of each of its claims,” Coakley said, referring to Viganò’s statement.
Bishop Schneider: “No reasonable…cause to doubt truth’ of Vigano revelations about the Pope
Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana Kazakhstan, one of the most outspoken bishops in the world concerning the crisis of faith in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, wrote a document responding to the testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.
Bishop Schneider says there is “no reasonable and plausible cause to doubt the truth content of the document of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.”
Bishop Schneider acknowledges that it is extremely grave and rare that a bishop would publicly accuse a reigning pope, but points out that “Archbishop Viganò confirmed his statement by a sacred oath invoking the name of God.”
Bishop Paprocki: Pope’s response on McCarrick coverup ‘not adequate’
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, said that Pope Francis’ no-comment reply regarding Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony implicating the pontiff and other senior prelates in covering up for alleged sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick is insufficient.
“Given the gravity of the content and implications of the former Nuncio’s statement,” he continued, “it is important for all the facts of this situation to be fully reviewed, vetted, and carefully considered.”
“Toward that end,” said Paprocki, “Pope Francis, Vatican officials and the current Apostolic Nuncio should make public the pertinent files indicating who knew what and when about Archbishop (formerly Cardinal) McCarrick and provide the accountability that the Holy Father has promised.”
The bishop concluded by saying he concurred with the statementfrom Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the USCCB president, that the questions raised in Viganò’s testimony “deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.”
Archbishop Chaput: Pope should cancel the Youth Synod in light of abuse crisis
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that in light of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church he had written to Pope Francis asking him to cancel the upcoming Youth Synod set to take place in Rome on October 3-28.
“The bishops would have absolutely no credibility” in the upcoming Youth Synod, Chaput said.
“I have written the Holy Father and called on him to cancel the upcoming synod on young people. Right now, the bishops would have absolutely no credibility in addressing this topic,” he said.
Instead of having a youth synod, the Archbishop proposed that a synod should be held to address the topic of the bishops themselves.