‘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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  1. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    I’d just like to say that I personally know one of the priests from New York named in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and his sexual peccadilloes were entirely of a heterosexual nature. And even thought I only know one-quarter of one-percent of what really happened with the guy, it is unpleasant and very disturbing.

    And who can forget the founder of the Legion of Christ, the deeply immoral and disgusting abuser Marcial Maciel? He seemed to go for anything that moved, male or female.

    So definitely a problem with gay culture and priests, but it’s not only homosexual priests. 

    • #61
  2. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    So definitely a problem with gay culture and priests, but it’s not only homosexual priests. 

    Certainly. But its the “gay culture” that is the elephant in the room and is the serious struggle over our Christian anthropology that is going on in Rome right now at the synod.

    (A)t bottom what’s at stake is the question of what God intended us to be. The answer to that question will determine what kind of Church – and civilization – we will become.

    • #62
  3. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us this day!

    • #63
  4. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    “This is about the salvation of souls, including our own.”

    Monsignor Charles Pope does us all a favor with this article:

    Reflections on Archbishop Viganò’s Courageous Third Letter

    As I finished reading Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s third letter, I had an immediate sense that I had just read something that is destined to be one of the great pastoral and literary moments of the Church’s history. There was an air of greatness about it that I cannot fully describe. I was stunned at its soteriological quality — at its stirring and yet stark reminder of our own judgment day. In effect he reminded us that this is more than a quibble over terminology or who wins on this or that point, or who is respectful enough of whom. This is about the salvation of souls, including our own. We almost never hear bishops or priests speak like this today!

    Others will write adequately on the canonical, ecclesial and political aspects of Archbishop Viganò latest and very concise summary of the case. As most of you know, I have fully affirmed elsewhere that I find his allegations credible and that they should be fully investigated. But in this post I want to explore further the priestly qualities manifest in this third letter, qualities that are too often missing in action today.

    To begin with, he has in mind the moral condition of souls. The Archbishop warns in several places of the danger posed to the souls of the faithful by the silence and confusing actions of many bishops and priests and the Pope. He laments that this, along with the homosexual subculture in the Church, “continues to wreak great harm in the Church — harm to so many innocent souls, to young priestly vocations, and to the faithful at large.”

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, this was the first concern of most every priest: the moral condition of souls, including his own. Today, many bishops and priests, as well as many parents and other leaders in the Church, seem far more concerned with the feelings, and emotional happiness of those under their care than with their actual moral condition. They worry more about political correctness and not upsetting those who engage in identity politics and base their whole identity on aberrant and sinful habits and disordered inclinations. That a person be pleased and affirmed today is seemingly more important than that they be summoned to repentance and healing or be made ready for their judgment day. Passing and apparent happiness eclipses true and eternal happiness. Further, silence in the face of horrible sin, deferring to and fawning over powerful churchmen, and cultural leaders of this world seems to outweigh any concern for the harm caused to the souls and lives of others.

    • #64
  5. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Just to be clear, I want the rot purged from the Catholic Church.  My personal disagreements with Catholicism aside, it has brought many salvation to many souls, and we have the same Enemy.  He who is not against us is for us.

    • #65
  6. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Horrific stuff. The four “rainbow flavors” of the scandals of the Francis papacy.

    A Primer on the Pope Francis Scandals

    Q: For years, Pope Francis seemed to be coated in Teflon. Whatever he said or did, the media would spin it in his favor, and demonize his critics. His public humility stunts bought him a ton of goodwill. So did his nod-and-a-wink statements downplaying sexual morals. Now finally some of his choices appear to be costing him something. Could you please explain the scandals surrounding Pope Francis?

    A: Sure. They come in four flavors. Imagine a cone with four scoops of gelato, maybe from the Old Bridge Gelateria right down the road from St. Peter’s Basilica. (The best gelato in Rome, by the way.) Of course, the flavors smoosh together sometimes, but it’s easiest to sample them one by one.

    Money Grubbing Cardinals with Dark Sex Secrets

    Q: So what’s the first flavor?

    A: The scoop on top is Pistachio (Green): Financial Squalor. The Vatican Bank is perennially corrupt, and Pope Francis has only made it worse. He fired Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò (remember that name) who tried to clean things up. First Things reported that Pope Francis used the U.S-based, $200 million Papal Foundation as a slush fund. Just this year, Francis ordered then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to shake down the wealthy laymen on its board for $25 million. That was to bail out a bankrupt Catholic dermatology hospital with apparent ties to the Mafia.

    McCarrick ran the Papal Foundation at the time. Now he’s no longer a cardinal (but still an archbishop), since it came out he molested a child he’d baptized himself. And spent decades seducing and sexually harassing young seminarians in his care. McCarrick still lives in comfort at Church expense, a block from a grammar school, sealed off from reporters in a monastery.

    Q: Will the Church defrock him, kick him to the curb, cancel his pension?

    A: No. He knows too much. If he went to a U.S. attorney with all the details he knows of Vatican shenanigans …? That would likely result in the Papal Foundation closing. Maybe some of its board members going to jail. So the hush money spent protecting him from reporters and prosecutors is probably well-spent. From an entirely cynical, worldly point of view. It isn’t what Jesus would do, but it’s definitely what Michael Avenatti would recommend to Stormy Daniels.

    • #66
  7. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    As a Texan in the Diocese of Tyler, I can proudly claim this hoss as my bishop.

    • #67
  8. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Okay, so a pope can cause “a train wreck, crashing into a school bus full of children, then setting a city on fire.”  What constraints are there on his actions?  I’m not trying to start another doctrinal argument, but clearly he should have a spiritual advisor / confessor, right?   Is there any way to denounce him and demand he confess and do penance?

    Can some of you enlighten me on this?

    • #68
  9. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    St John Paul II

    Is John Paul II a saint?  I thought you had to be dead for a certain amount of time.

    • #69
  10. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    St John Paul II

    Is John Paul II a saint? I thought you had to be dead for a certain amount of time.

    Yes. He’s been dead that long.

    • #70
  11. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Gah.  I remember when he became Pope.

    • #71
  12. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Being called “Saint” by the church does not indicate you’ve been dead a long time, but rather that you have attained eternal life with Christ.

    Here’s some information about the process.

    Here are some specifics about JPII.

    • #72
  13. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    What constraints are there on his actions?

    The doctrine of infallibility states that the Pope cannot err (when teaching in communion with the Church) on faith and morals. The pope is not impeccable, so he can err on pastoral judgements, daily decisions, etc., etc.

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    but clearly he should have a spiritual advisor / confessor, right?

    I have read that Pope St. John Paul II confessed his sins weekly. I am sure that Pope Francis regularly confesses but I do not know how frequently nor do I know if he has a single confessor.

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    Is there any way to denounce him and demand he confess and do penance?

    It wasn’t a denouncement, but a serious inquiry, when in 2016, four cardinals sent a set of dubia or questions to the Holy Father on some of the controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia. This is a standard way to address the pope. Cardinal Burke, who is looked upon as the leader of the four dubia cardinals said that they did this under the auspices of canon 349 wherein the cardinals are tasked along with the pope of the daily care of the Church.

    We laity also have the right, and at times the duty, under canon 212 “to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”

    However, one can’t demand anything of the pope; he holds ultimate power in the Church. Canon 313: “By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.”

    It is always best to pray for the pope. He needs it.

    • #73
  14. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    St John Paul II

    Is John Paul II a saint? I thought you had to be dead for a certain amount of time.

    Until recently, it has usually been the case that a cult will be built up around a person before his cause is put forward for sainthood. One can argue that this was the case for JP2. As for Paul VI, the most recent post-V2 pope to be canonized, this is questionable. 

    • #74
  15. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    Is there any way to denounce him

    https://twitter.com/Liljanney/status/1054593813069656064

    • #75
  16. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Being called “Saint” by the church does not indicate you’ve been dead a long time, but rather that you have attained eternal life with Christ.

    Here’s some information about the process.

    Here are some specifics about JPII.

    Yes, I did not mean to imply that sainthood is just a matter of time, but rather that enough time has elapsed for the beatification process to have been completed for John Paul II.

    • #76
  17. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    • #77
  18. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Roberto de Mattei on Vigano and the Four Last Things.

    The words of the courageous Archbishop are a public reproach to the Shepherds who are silent. May God show them that silence is not an inescapable choice. To speak up is possible, and at times it is a duty. Yet the testimony of Monsignor Viganò is also a call to every Catholic to reflect on their future destiny. The hour of judgment that awaits us all is known to God alone. Hence Jesus says: “Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch. ” (Mark 13, 33,37).  The time in which we live requires vigilance and calls for a choice. It is the historical hour of fortitude and confidence in God, infinitely just, but also infinitely merciful towards those, who, despite their weakness, will serve Him openly.

    • #78
  19. John Seymour Member
    John Seymour
    @

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Gah. I remember when he became Pope.

    We gettin’ old, my friend.

    • #79
  20. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Blase Cardinal Cupich reveals he is 1/1024 aware:

    Cardinal Cupich needs to review the science.

    New report: strong link between homosexuality and clerical abuse – #sodoclericalism

    Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?
    An interview with sociologist Father Paul Sullins, whose new study documents a strong linkage between the incidence of abuse and homosexuality in the priesthood and in seminaries.

    • #80
  21. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Well, I always heard that the primary victim group was post-puberty males.  This is consistent with known preferences of a significant section of men who have sex with men.

    • #81
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