Make no mistake, we are living through a historic moment in the Church’s life.
I was deeply disturbed when I read the 11-page letter of the former Nuncio to the US, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, in which he accuses Pope Francis and dozens of cardinals and bishops of having knowledge of the credible accusations and settlements resulting from the sexual abuses perpetrated by Theodore McCarrick.
Please read the entire letter if you have not.
If Abp. Vigano’s accusations against the pope and the cardinals he names are true, the proper response from the universal Church is outrage and the only responsible thing for the pope and guilty cardinals to do is resign.
I think the next steps here are simple: the claims made in the letter must be thoroughly investigated both by the secular and Catholic press and by competent ecclesiastical authorities (if, ahem, any have the fortitude to do so).
Already Bishop Joseph Strickland has instructed his priests this Sunday to read a letter from him saying he believes Abp. Vigano’s allegations are “credible” and calls for a “thorough investigation” into them. More bishops need to come forward and demand a full investigation into the facts and say what they know out loud, in public.
There is now a coordinated counter-effort underfoot to discredit Abp. Vigano and his accusations, both by progressive Catholics and the mainstream media (led, of course, by the New York Times). They are attempting to discredit the letter primarily by attacking Abp. Vigano.
Other, more objective people are asking legitimate questions that leave room for doubt when it comes to some of the specific timelines and facts that Abp. Vigano asserts.
Before I go any further, one important point: I don’t care who turns out to be guilty. Now, of course, I will be devastated to find out that bishops, cardinals, popes etc. that I thought were good men turn out to be fallen men, terrible men, evil men.
But no one is above the law of God.
Even if it turns out Pope Benedict is guilty, I will and must accept that truth.
Journalists, in particular Catholic journalists, have a responsibility to pursue this story wherever it leads, in an unbiased manner. Again, history will judge them by their deeds. And not reporting what you know to be true can be a sin of omission as well.
So, as a commentator, here are my reasons for believing Abp. Vigano’s accusations are credible:
In the days, weeks and months ahead, we must continue praying and fasting for our Church.
And if you are a bishop, what you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, is something you will have to account for before the face of God.
Because only the truth will set us free.
May Jesus have mercy on us all.