A former papal ambassador to the U.S. has claimed that Pope Francis knew as early as 2013 about charges that the former archbishop of Washington, ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, had been sexually active with seminarians and priests and that Pope Benedict XVI had privately disciplined him over the charges. In a letter published by two conservative Catholic outlets, LifeSiteNews and the National Catholic Register, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò wrote that Pope Francis had ignored then-Cardinal McCarrick’s record and rehabilitated him as a kingmaker in the U.S. episcopate. The allegations, if proven, would be extremely damaging to Pope Francis, who has been repeatedly accused of not responding effectively to the church’s sex-abuse crisis. Archbishop Viganò called on Pope Francis to step down for the good of the church. “Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them,” Archbishop Viganò wrote.
The letter: We need to intervene where evil is spreading; for evil spreads where daring Christians who oppose evil with good are lacking.” If this is rightly to be considered a serious moral responsibility for every believer, how much graver is it for the Church’s supreme pastor, who in the case of McCarrick not only did not oppose evil but associated himself in doing evil with someone he knew to be deeply corrupt. He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert, thus multiplying exponentially with his supreme authority the evil done by McCarrick. And how many other evil pastors is Francis still continuing to prop up in their active destruction of the Church! Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren. Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock. In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.