‘To Bear Witness to Corruption in the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Was a Painful Decision’

 

So begins the third “testimony” of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, on the ongoing sexual abuse/coverup scandal in the Church (h/t @9thdistrictneighbor). With this latest installment of “he said”/”he said,” Archbishop Viganò restates the key points of his original testimony and also answers the rebuke he received from Marc Cardinal Ouellet.

It was good to have the key points listed succinctly and to have an answer to Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, but what touched me most were the reasons Viganò gave for writing his testimonies. He strikes me as a man of great faith (which is in direct contrast to how I view those involved in this scandal).

He opens strongly:

To bear witness to corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was a painful decision for me, and remains so. But I am an old man, one who knows he must soon give an accounting to the Judge for his actions and omissions, one who fears Him who can cast body and soul into hell. A Judge who, even in his infinite mercy, will render to every person salvation or damnation according to what he has deserved. Anticipating the dreadful question from that Judge – “How could you, who had knowledge of the truth, keep silent in the midst of falsehood and depravity?” — what answer could I give?

As a good shepherd, knowing that the Church exists to give glory to God and for the salvation of souls, Archbishop Viganò continues as to why he had to speak:

I testified fully aware that my testimony would bring alarm and dismay to many eminent persons: churchmen, fellow bishops, colleagues with whom I had worked and prayed. I knew many would feel wounded and betrayed. I expected that some would in their turn assail me and my motives. Most painful of all, I knew that many of the innocent faithful would be confused and disconcerted by the spectacle of a bishop’s charging colleagues and superiors with malfeasance, sexual sin, and grave neglect of duty. Yet I believe that my continued silence would put many souls at risk, and would certainly damn my own. <snip>

Therefore I spoke. For it is the conspiracy of silence that has wrought and continues to wreak great harm in the Church — harm to so many innocent souls, to young priestly vocations, to the faithful at large. With regard to my decision, which I have taken in conscience before God, I willingly accept every fraternal correction, advice, recommendation, and invitation to progress in my life of faith and love for Christ, the Church and the Pope.

After listing his key points and responding directly to Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop Viganò alludes to the “public remonstrances directed at (him)” and notes “two omissions, two dramatic silences.”

The first silence regards the plight of the victims. The second regards the underlying reason why there are so many victims, namely, the corrupting influence of homosexuality in the priesthood and in the hierarchy.

Referencing the first silence, Archbishop Viganò once again returns to the theme of salvation of souls:

As to the first, it is dismaying that, amid all the scandals and indignation, so little thought should be given to those damaged by the sexual predations of those commissioned as ministers of the gospel. This is not a matter of settling scores or sulking over the vicissitudes of ecclesiastical careers. It is not a matter of politics. It is not a matter of how church historians may evaluate this or that papacy. This is about souls. Many souls have been and are even now imperiled of their eternal salvation.

And to the second silence, he strongly rejects Pope Francis’s explanation that the scandal is due to “clericalism”:

As to the second silence, this very grave crisis cannot be properly addressed and resolved unless and until we call things by their true names. This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons. It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn the abuse, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality. It is hypocrisy to refuse to acknowledge that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and to fail to take the steps necessary to remedy it….

It is well established that homosexual predators exploit clerical privilege to their advantage. But to claim the crisis itself to be clericalism is pure sophistry. It is to pretend that a means, an instrument, is in fact the main motive.

Seeming to break away from his earlier call for the Holy Father to resign if he would be found complicit in this scandal, Archbishop Viganò returns again to the theme of the salvation of souls and pleads for strong leadership from the Pope:

Denouncing homosexual corruption and the moral cowardice that allows it to flourish does not meet with congratulation in our times, not even in the highest spheres of the Church. I am not surprised that in calling attention to these plagues I am charged with disloyalty to the Holy Father and with fomenting an open and scandalous rebellion. Yet rebellion would entail urging others to topple the papacy. I am urging no such thing. I pray every day for Pope Francis — more than I have ever done for the other popes. I am asking, indeed earnestly begging, the Holy Father to face up to the commitments he himself made in assuming his office as successor of Peter. He took upon himself the mission of confirming his brothers and guiding all souls in following Christ, in the spiritual combat, along the way of the cross. Let him admit his errors, repent, show his willingness to follow the mandate given to Peter and, once converted let him confirm his brothers (Lk 22:32).

Finally, Archbishop Viganò closes with an appeal to his brother bishops to reveal the truth, while reminding them what is at stake: the salvation of souls.

In closing, I wish to repeat my appeal to my brother bishops and priests who know that my statements are true and who can so testify, or who have access to documents that can put the matter beyond doubt. You too are faced with a choice. You can choose to withdraw from the battle, to prop up the conspiracy of silence and avert your eyes from the spreading of corruption. You can make excuses, compromises and justification that put off the day of reckoning. You can console yourselves with the falsehood and the delusion that it will be easier to tell the truth tomorrow, and then the following day, and so on.

On the other hand, you can choose to speak. You can trust Him who told us, “the truth will set you free.” I do not say it will be easy to decide between silence and speaking. I urge you to consider which choice– on your deathbed, and then before the just Judge — you will not regret having made.

I believe Archbishop Viganò when he says the decision to bear witness to the corruption in the hierarchy of the Church was a painful decision for him and remains so.

I also believe that his motives are true and good: for the glory of God and His Church and for the salvation of souls.

May the truth set us free.

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There are 81 comments.

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  1. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    I think this tweet sums up the mood that must be rolling through the Vatican.

    • #1
    • October 20, 2018, at 4:05 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. Member

    Thanks Scott.

    Scott Wilmot:

    I pray every day for Pope Francis — more than I have ever done for the other popes. I am asking, indeed earnestly begging, the Holy Father to face up to the commitments he himself made in assuming his office as successor of Peter. He took upon himself the mission of confirming his brothers and guiding all souls in following Christ, in the spiritual combat, along the way of the cross.

    I am glad Vigano is praying for Francis to confirm his brothers. Confirmo is Latin for “I encourage, I strengthen.”

    This pope seems determined to do the opposite. He sows confusion (see for example his horrible and non-organic addition to the catechism regarding capital punishment, his desire to confuse the faithful over divorce and communion) and his allies gaslight those they perceive as their enemies.

    St. Michael, defend us. St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us. Holy Spirit, guide us and save us from the ravening wolf.

    Look to Mary! Stay close to Christ in his suffering! The Body of Christ, his church, is reeling still and yet he has already won the victory.

    • #2
    • October 20, 2018, at 4:06 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Member

    I’m pretty sure Luther felt the same way.

    • #3
    • October 20, 2018, at 4:36 AM PDT
    • 1 like
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I’m pretty sure Luther felt the same way.

    Maybe so, but unlike Luther, Archbishop Viganò is not a heretic.

    • #4
    • October 20, 2018, at 4:39 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    • #5
    • October 20, 2018, at 4:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Member

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    Maybe so, but unlike Luther, Archbishop Viganò is not a heretic

    Neither was Luther, at first.

    • #6
    • October 20, 2018, at 4:46 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Neither was Luther, at first.

    Luther was a vain man in love with his own intellect.

    Vigano may turn out to be one also, but he certainly sounds very humble and obedient right now.

    I can’t imagine Vigano calling the church the Whore of Babylon for example, whereas Luther did so with relative frequency.

    • #7
    • October 20, 2018, at 4:58 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Member

    I was raised a Southern Baptist, so Luther calling the Catholic church the Whore of Babylon, while it might be excessive, doesn’t carry much sting for me.

    • #8
    • October 20, 2018, at 5:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I was raised a Southern Baptist, so Luther calling the Catholic church the Whore of Babylon, while it might be excessive, doesn’t carry much sting for me.

    Thanks Martin Luther!

    • #9
    • October 20, 2018, at 5:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. Member

    It goes both ways. I’ve not commented on Francis because it’s none of my business.

    • #10
    • October 20, 2018, at 5:18 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    It goes both ways. I’ve not commented on Francis because it’s none of my business.

    Not sure what you mean by going both ways. Do you mean that the pope in Luther’s day was a small-minded weenie like today’s occupant of the Chair of St. Peter? If so, you have no disagreement from me.

    That doesn’t make Luther a hero.

    And the fact that the church founded by Christ is called the Whore of Babylon by many who claim to love Christ is and should be seen as a tragedy for all Christians. 

    • #11
    • October 20, 2018, at 5:28 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. Member

    I agree that we ought to be as ecumenical as possible. Those were passionate times on both sides. Lots of burning.

    • #12
    • October 20, 2018, at 5:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
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    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    I think this tweet sums up the mood that must be rolling through the Vatican.

    I’ve had the same thought regarding many of those involved in the Catholic sex scandal and its cover-up: “There’s just no way that those people REALLY BELIEVE in God.”

    • #13
    • October 20, 2018, at 5:56 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  14. Member

    Scott Wilmot:

    “He strikes me as a man of great faith”

    The Cardinal’s own words testify to his great faith:

    Archbishop Viganò: “A Judge who, even in his infinite mercy, will render to every person salvation or damnation according to what he has deserved.”

    Today, I think that even many Roman Catholics do not have that faith, but rather have faith as I do that salvation is through, and only through, God’s grace which nullifies the very judgment of which the Cardinal speaks, judgment according to what every man deserves by what he has done and left undone.

    • #14
    • October 20, 2018, at 6:38 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Member

    Thank you for posting Archbishop Vigano’s letter in response to Cardinal Ouellet’s letter. Upon reading Cardinal Ouellet’s letter my gut response was what a wuss and also that he is part of the problem. That there are sinful clerics is no surprise. What has me more upset is the cover up and the collusion and the secret networks. That is far more scandalous (at least in my eyes). Do you remember the Gospel from the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: Jn 6: 60-69? This was one of those times when the readings for the day are exactly what I need to hear. Because like many of us faithful Catholics, I was so very dismayed by the report of the Pennsylvania grand jury and the continuing allegations of McCarrick’s depravity and the ensuing cover up. But like St. Peter, “to whom shall we go?” The truth of the Catholicism, her spirituality, the sacraments, all that I need to lead me to the life everlasting is here. I know there are some who disagree. We all have our own path to God. But for me, it is in the Catholic church and I refuse to allow any man (no matter how many times he’s been ordained) to separate me from my Church. And remember, we laity are the church – the Body of Christ. 

    • #15
    • October 20, 2018, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    VUtah (View Comment):
    But like St. Peter, “to whom shall we go?” The truth of the Catholicism, her spirituality, the sacraments, all that I need to lead me to the life everlasting is here. I know there are some who disagree. We all have our own path to God. But for me, it is in the Catholic church and I refuse to allow any man (no matter how many times he’s been ordained) to separate me from my Church. And remember, we laity are the church – the Body of Christ.

    Amen, preach it.

    • #16
    • October 20, 2018, at 8:58 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
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    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    And the fact that the church founded by Christ

    I’m sorry Mama, but the whole point of Protestantism is that they don’t believe this to be true.

    • #17
    • October 20, 2018, at 9:13 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    And the fact that the church founded by Christ

    I’m sorry Mama, but the whole point of Protestantism is that they don’t believe this to be true.

    Oh, I know. Sorry back at you, but the Protestant view is an ahistorical view that has no basis in fact and contradicts Jesus’ own promises to his church that he would be with us til the end of time and that he would send the spirit to guide the church in all things.

     

    • #18
    • October 20, 2018, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Canon lawyer, Fr. Gerald Murray, has a good post on the refutation of the Ouellet letter:

    Ouellet Tried to Rebut, but Actually Confirmed Viganò

    • #19
    • October 20, 2018, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    Today, I think that even many Roman Catholics do not have that faith, but rather have faith as I do that salvation is through, and only through, God’s grace which nullifies the very judgment of which the Cardinal speaks, judgment according to what every man deserves by what he has done and left undone.

    Those Catholics serving at the Novus Ordo mass should know this through the praying of the Confiteor in the Penitential Act:

    I confess to almighty God
    and to you, my brothers and sisters,
    that I have greatly sinned
    in my thoughts and in my words,
    in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
    through my fault, through my fault,
    through my most grievous fault;
    therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
    all the Angels and Saints,
    and you, my brothers and sisters,
    to pray for me to the Lord our God. (emphasis added)

    The Confiteor in the TLM is worded differently but conveys the same message:

    I confess to Almighty God,
    to blessed Mary ever virgin,
    to blessed Michael the archangel,
    to blessed John the Baptist,
    to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the Saints,
    and to thee, Father,
    that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed;
    through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.
    Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever virgin,
    blessed Michael the archangel,
    blessed John the Baptist,
    the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints,
    and thee, Father,
    to pray to the Lord our God for me.
    Amen.

    • #20
    • October 20, 2018, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Viganò’s Third Testimony Responds to Ouellet, Appeals to Judgment Before God

    It is striking the way in which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has become, in many ways, the kind of hero the Church is so desperately looking for. Today, on the occasion of the Feast of the North American Martyrs — Jesuits who, unlike many of the modern-day variety, gave their lives for the salvation of souls — he has released a third testimony. And with each iteration he becomes more resolute, and the force of his accusations grow stronger. He is a man who speaks with the authority of one who has foregone earthly accolades and benefits in a genuine concern for the answers he will have to give at his particular judgment.

    • #21
    • October 20, 2018, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Member

    One of the “complaints” about the Traditional Latin Mass was its repetitiveness. But I once discovered in this Mass that first the priest recites the Confiteor with the server acting in the place of the congregation repeating these words: May Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting. Then the people pray the Confiteor with the priest saying the concluding prayers. Now we pray the Confiteor together and the priest alone says the concluding prayer although with the first person plural pronouns. Something very simple and direct was lost. Perhaps we in the congregation need to pray those words too as the priest prays his part. 

    • #22
    • October 20, 2018, at 11:05 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    I agree, Deacon.

    • #23
    • October 20, 2018, at 11:29 AM PDT
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Blase Cardinal Cupich reveals he is 1/1024 aware:

    • #24
    • October 20, 2018, at 11:30 AM PDT
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  25. Member

    Dr. Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon examine Vigano’s third letter in detail. 

    • #25
    • October 20, 2018, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Member

    This is perhaps the most damning section of Vigano’s third letter (emphasis mine):

    • On June 23, 2013, I met Pope Francis face-to-face in his apartment to ask for clarification, and the Pope asked me, “il cardinale McCarrick, com’è (Cardinal McCarrick — what do you make of him)?”– which I can only interpret as a feigning of curiosity in order to discover whether or not I was an ally of McCarrick. I told him that McCarrick had sexually corrupted generations of priests and seminarians, and had been ordered by Pope Benedict to confine himself to a life of prayer and penance.

    From Vigano’s first letter:

    On the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2013, I went to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, to join my colleagues who were staying there. As soon as I entered the hall I met Cardinal McCarrick, who wore the red-trimmed cassock. I greeted him respectfully as I had always done. He immediately said to me, in a tone somewhere between ambiguous and triumphant: “The Pope received me yesterday, tomorrow I am going to China.”

    Did the Pope reverse his decision to send McCarrick to China? No. McCarrick remained active as a Papal emissary for at least 3 more years.

    Vigano’s more specific bullet-pointed timeline (in this third letter) of the Vatican’s inaction to address the pederasty of Cardinal McCarrick makes Cardinal Oullet among others, look like an ass. The fact that the Holy See, rather than extend the reprimand and restriction of McCarrick to a life of reflection and penance as Pope Benedict had done based on numerous testimonies of McCarrick’s abhorrent activities, conferred upon him new duties on behalf of the Pope.

    The fish rots from the head.

    • #26
    • October 20, 2018, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Inactive

    When I read Oullet’s letter, the combination of the fact that he says Vigano is wrong while actually confirming what Vigano says, with the over-the top personal criticism, made me wonder if this was something Oullet wrote under orders from Francis, that was reviewed by Francis or one of his close confidents.

    Thinking like that makes me feel sick about the implications. It was so intemperate and so over the top that it made me wonder if it was written under duress and if Vigano’s staying in hiding is mere prudence. 

    • #27
    • October 20, 2018, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    John Seymour (View Comment):

    When I read Oullet’s letter, the combination of the fact that he says Vigano is wrong while actually confirming what Vigano says, with the over-the top personal criticism, made me wonder if this was something Oullet wrote under orders from Francis, that was reviewed by Francis or one of his close confidents.

    Thinking like that makes me feel sick about the implications. It was so intemperate and so over the top that it made me wonder if it was written under duress and if Vigano’s staying in hiding is mere prudence.

    I think they were testing the waters to see what kind of backlash they would get. It has backfired on them – they have no defense.

    The first testimony from Archbishop Viganò was a strong uppercut. The second was a hard jab. This third one is a devastating roundhouse knockout blow.

    • #28
    • October 20, 2018, at 2:43 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
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    Scott Wilmot Post author

    This is a typical reaction with this whole mess. We get quotes like this:

    “I realize today that my answer at that time was not commensurate with the stakes,” Barbarin told Le Monde last year. “Today, we would not act like that, that’s what was wrong.”

    Preynat was allowed to remain in active ministry after Barbarin learned in 2007 that the priest had abused multiple young males. Barbarin admits he failed to remove Preynat based on the priest’s assurance that he had not molested anyone after 1991. The priest was allowed to remain in ministry until 2015, after further allegations of abuse surfaced.

    That is like saying: “Back then the homosexual abuse was OK, but now that we have been outed it is not”.

    I am so sick of this crap. When will one of these clowns man-up and take responsibility?

    • #29
    • October 20, 2018, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    And the fact that the church founded by Christ

    I’m sorry Mama, but the whole point of Protestantism is that they don’t believe this to be true.

    Oh, I know. Sorry back at you, but the Protestant view is an ahistorical view that has no basis in fact and contradicts Jesus’ own promises to his church that he would be with us til the end of time and that he would send the spirit to guide the church in all things.

     

    Mama Toad, I’m just going to comment that there are reasonable arguments on both sides of this issue, in my view. Generally speaking, my impression is that the NT itself favors the Protestant side, while history from the 3rd Century onward favors the Catholic view. I do not find either side to have a conclusive case to make, as a matter of either history or text.

    • #30
    • October 20, 2018, at 7:57 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
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