Former U.S. nuncio alleges broad cover-up of McCarrick's misdeeds

By Junno Arocho Esteves

apostolic nuncio to the United States accused church officials, including Pope
Francis, of failing to act on accusations of abuse of conscience and power by now-Archbishop
Theodore E. McCarrick.

In an open letter first published
by Lifesite News and National Catholic Register Aug. 26, Archbishop Carlo Maria
Vigano, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011-2016, wrote that he
was compelled to write his knowledge of Archbishop McCarrick’s misdeeds because
“corruption has reached the very top of the church’s hierarchy.”

Archbishop Vigano confirmed to the
Washington Post Aug. 26 that he wrote the letter and said he would not comment
further. Despite repeated requests from journalists, the Vatican had not
responded to the allegations by midday Aug. 26.

Throughout the 11-page testimony,
which was translated by a Lifesite News correspondent, the former nuncio made
several claims and accusations against prominent church officials, alleging
they belong to “a homosexual current” that subverted church teaching
on homosexuality.

Citing the rights of the faithful
to “know who knew and who covered up (Archbishop McCarrick’s) grave
misdeeds,” Archbishop Vigano named nearly a dozen former and current
Vatican officials who he claimed were aware of the accusations.

Archbishop Vigano criticized Pope
Francis for not taking action against Cardinal McCarrick after he claimed he
told the pope of the allegations in 2013. However, he did not make any
criticism of St. John Paul II, who appointed Archbishop McCarrick to lead the
Archdiocese of Washington and made him a cardinal in 2001.

According to the former nuncio’s
testimony, the Vatican was informed in 2000 of allegations that Archbishop
McCarrick “shared his bed with seminarians” by two former U.S. nuncios
— Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo and Archbishop Pietro Sambi. This corresponds to
remarks by Father Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville in
New York City, who told Catholic News Service earlier in August he had written
a letter “and it didn’t seem to go anywhere.”

Archbishop Vigano said that in
2006, as the official in the Secretariat of State that coordinated relations
with nunciatures around the world, he sent two memos recommending that the Holy
See “intervene as soon as possible by removing the cardinal’s hat from
Cardinal McCarrick and that he should be subjected to the sanctions established
by the Code of Canon Law.”

“I was greatly dismayed at my
superiors for the inconceivable absence of any measure against the cardinal,
and for the continuing lack of any communication with me since my first memo in
December 2006,” he said.

The former nuncio claimed that
Pope Benedict XVI later “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar
to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis.”

“I do not know when Pope
Benedict took these measures against McCarrick, whether in 2009 or 2010,
because in the meantime I had been transferred to the Governorate of Vatican
City State, just as I do not know who was responsible for this incredible
delay,” he said.

Then-Cardinal McCarrick, he said, “was
to leave the seminary where he was living” which, at the time, was the
Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Archbishop McCarrick, he added,
was also “forbidden to celebrate Mass in public, to participate in public
meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating
himself to a life of prayer and penance.”

no such sanctions, which normally are made public, were announced by the
Vatican at the time.

The alleged sanctions, he said, continued
to be in effect when Archbishop Vigano became apostolic nuncio to the United
States in 2011 and were relayed to then-Cardinal McCarrick.

“I repeated them to Cardinal
McCarrick at my first meeting with him at the nunciature. The cardinal,
muttering in a barely comprehensible way, admitted that he had perhaps made the
mistake of sleeping in the same bed with some seminarians at his beach house,
but he said this as if it had no importance,” Archbishop Vigano wrote.

Vigano also said that Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., was the
first prelate informed of the sanctions against McCarrick. He said he spoke
directly to Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions and that Cardinal Wuerl “failed
to acknowledge receipt of my two letters, contrary to what he customarily

recent statements that he knew nothing about it, even though at first he
cunningly referred to compensation for the two victims, are absolutely
laughable. The cardinal lies shamelessly and prevails upon his chancellor, Msgr.
Antonicelli, to lie as well,” the archbishop wrote.

apparently was referring to Msgr. Charles V. Antonicelli, vicar general and moderator
of the curia. The Washington Archdiocese chancellor is a layman, Kim Viti

by Catholic News Service, Edward McFadden, secretary for communications for the
Archdiocese of Washington, said: “In spite of what Archbishop Vigano’s memo indicates, Cardinal Wuerl did not receive any documentation or information during his time in Washington, regarding any actions taken against Archbishop McCarrick.”

He also alleged that several U.S.
prelates were aware or should have known about then-Cardinal McCarrick’s
behavior, including retired Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen; retired
Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark; Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, head of the
Vatican office for laity and family and former auxiliary bishop of Washington,
D.C., and Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical
Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Cardinal Farrell told Catholic
News Service July 24: “I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this
before in the six years I was there with him.”

In a June 20 statement, Cardinal Joseph
W. Tobin of Newark said: “The Archdiocese of Newark has never received an
accusation that Cardinal McCarrick abused a minor. In the past, there have been
allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults. This Archdiocese
and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct
with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

In a July 29 statement, Cardinal
Wuerl said: “When the first claim against Archbishop McCarrick was filed
in the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Washington reviewed its own
files and found no complaints of any kind made against Archbishop McCarrick.
Further, the confidential settlements involving acts by Archbishop McCarrick in
the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark were not known previously
to Cardinal Wuerl or the Archdiocese.”

Cardinal O’Malley has apologized
for what he described as an administrative communication failure in which his
secretary did not relay to him a 2015 letter from Father Ramsey about
allegations against Archbishop McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano himself has been
accused of suppressing an investigation into alleged homosexual activity
committed by retired Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In a 2014 memo to St.
Paul-Minneapolis Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche. In the memo, Father Dan
Griffith, a former delegate for Safe Environment for the archdiocese, said the
former nuncio’s call to end the investigation against Archbishop Nienstedt and to
destroy a piece of evidence amounted to “a good old-fashioned cover-up to
preserve power and avoid scandal.”

Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop
Piche resigned in 2015 after the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office filed criminal
and civil charges against the archdiocese in its handling of sexual abuse
perpetrated by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer in 2008-2011.

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