Former nuncio now says sanctions against McCarrick were 'private'

By Cindy Wooden

ROME (CNS) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former
nuncio to the United States who called on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly
lifting sanctions placed on Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, now says those
“sanctions” were “private” and neither he nor now-retired
Pope Benedict XVI ever was able to enforce them.

While Archbishop Vigano went into hiding after publishing
his “testimony” Aug. 25 about Archbishop McCarrick — and about Pope
Francis and a host of other current and former Vatican officials — the former
nuncio has continued to speak to the writers who originally helped him publish
the document.

Pope Francis has not said anything since Aug. 26 when he
told reporters traveling with him to study the document and
do their own research. Even if the sanctions were private, Archbishop Vigano
claimed Pope Francis was aware of them.

The measures imposed by Pope Benedict were in response to
reports of Archbishop McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with and sexual harassment
of seminarians. After allegations that Archbishop McCarrick had sexually abused
a minor were deemed credible in June, Pope Francis publicly imposed sanctions
on him and accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals.

Archbishop Vigano also had said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of
Washington, Archbishop McCarrick’s successor, had long been aware of Pope
Benedict’s sanctions, but the Archdiocese of Washington said Aug. 27, “Cardinal
Wuerl has categorically denied that any of this information was communicated to

One of the outlets that originally published Archbishop
Vigano’s text, LifeSiteNews, published an article Aug. 31 with Archbishop
Vigano explaining how, after Pope Benedict allegedly imposed sanctions on
Archbishop McCarrick in “2009 or 2010,” Archbishop McCarrick
continued to concelebrate at large public Masses and visit the Vatican and Pope
Benedict himself.

Archbishop Vigano now says Pope Benedict made the sanctions
private, 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.”

The former nuncio said that in November 2011 he was sent as
nuncio to the United States with specific information about the sanctions from
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. The cardinal
has not responded to a Catholic News Service request for an interview.

Archbishop Vigano appeared publicly with then-Cardinal
McCarrick at a May 2012 gala in New York honoring the cardinal. LifeSiteNews
said the archbishop explained that “he was just beginning his role as the
pope’s representative at the time” and that “the nuncio is not somebody
who may enforce restrictions directly, especially with a cardinal, who is
considered the superior.”

The other English-language outlet that originally published
Archbishop Vigano’s text was the National Catholic Register, a newspaper owned
by EWTN. The Register had reported that it “independently confirmed”
that Pope Benedict “remembers instructing Cardinal (Tarcisio) Bertone to
impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.”

In a Register blog post Aug. 31, the author of the original
story, Edward Pentin, provided more information from his source, saying the
retired pope is now “unable to remember very well” how the supposed
sanctions were handled. “As far as (Pope) Benedict could recall, the
source said the instruction was essentially that (then-Cardinal) McCarrick
should keep a ‘low profile.’ There was ‘no formal decree, just a private
request,'” Pentin wrote.

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