Ethics Hero: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

From the National Catholic Register:

In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.

Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement, simultaneously released to the Register and other media, (see full text below) that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.” Viganò said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.

Archbishop Viganò, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” ended his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.

His full testimony can be read here.

Well, let’s see if the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church can duck its responsibility one more time. This particular giant, nasty ethics chicken has been trying to roost for decades, while whoever was Pope continued to lecture the rest of the world, and the United States particularly, about its moral failings. Funny thing with me: I don’t take well to lectures on morality from self-anointed authorities who habitually facilitate their pals’ child-molesting hobby.  It is telling—damning is a better word—that Pope Francis, who seldom hesitates to comment on the evils of war, capitalism and climate change cannot find words to comment on this accusation. As we discussed here last week, he did issue some Authentic Frontier Gibbersh about the re-emerging child abuse scandal as if he was just an innocent bystander.

Archbishop Viganò is a model whistleblower, although his call for the Pope and the others to resign is inadequate. The entire culture of the Church is corrupt to the core, and aa few, or many, resignations will not cure the problem.

24 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

  1. . It is telling—damning is a better word—that Pope Francis, who seldom hesitates to comment on the evils of war, capitalism and climate change cannot find words to comment on this accusation.

    I concur.

    . The entire culture of the Church Islamis corrupt to the core, and a few, or many, resignations will not cure the problem.

    Fixed that for you.

        • It may be LIKE that, but it isn’t that. I don’t think it’s like that, either: Islamic doctrine encourages violence and murder of “infidels.” I’m not aware of any Christian faith that endorses child sexual abuse. Quite the contrary.

          • I think that’s a distinction without a difference. Objective evil is objective evil, and abuse of a religion’s most vulnerable members and murder due to religious bigotry are both objectively evil. However, there is a general principle that the facilitation of evil is either as bad as or worse than the actual evil, i.e. the commonly thrown around phrase that “the cover up is worse than the crime.”

            The problem with my own Church (I was born to a Catholic family and still attend Mass almost every Sunday and holy day, though I haven’t been to confession in more than two decades) is that the leadership covered for crimes within and betrayal of those they were supposed to be helping. The actual faithful rarely if ever participated in this cover up.

            The problem with Islam is that a small percentage (though even 1% of 1% is almost 16 million people and it only took 19 men to commit 9/11) take its teachings too literally and the rest of the faithful either are too afraid to do anything (for fear of being targeted themselves) or they tacitly approve of what that small percentage is doing. The former are those who do nothing overtly, but somehow never see or know anything because they choose not to. The latter are those who also do nothing overtly, at least nothing that can be proven. However, after that small percentage has committed their latest atrocity, they are the ones who provide rhetorical, intellectual, and other cover, in the hopes that those injured will say “well, they have a point.”

            In the case of the Church you can perhaps legitimately say that the leadership is badly corrupt, because far too many leaders did this. In the case of Islam, you can actually throw a blanket condemnation over the whole faith.

            • I don’t believe for a second that any organization can keep generating many layers of leadership that will not by reflex stop something as completely counter to that that organization’s alleged core teachings and still credibly maintain that those teaching are not beliefs, but an institutionalized pose and falsehood to attract gullible marks to exploit. The rank and file aren’t in on it because they are the victims. Your argument is like saying that a Ponzi scheme isn’t corrupt, it’s just Bernie Madoff or the equivilent. No. At this point, the Roman Catholic Church is indistinguishable from a criminal enterprise.

  2. At first blush, this may seem like a bit of a quibble – you said, in part: “I don’t take well to lectures on morality from self-anointed authorities who habitually facilitate their pals’ child-molesting hobby.” Though there was some child- molesting that took place, the bulk of the abuse was done to post-pubescent boys by homosexual priests. Is this better or worse? I don’t know, but it is not accurate to generalize about child molesting or pedophilia in the church as it does state the problem in the wrong terms and would call for solutions that do not fit the problem.

  3. I’d prefer they ‘clean house.’ Purge evokes pitchforks and burning at the stake, and I’d like a considered and not mob hysteria reaction. I would like to see they go through criminal, civil, and social penalties. Say 90% are guilty. (I hope it’s not that bad, truly) And that remaining 10% will be overworked until the recruitment/training + any changes percolate through. People can and have adapted to priest shortages before, it’s not the end of the world. But overworked and fewer services is better than permitting the corruption. (I’m not happy that parishioners are paying the cost for the jerks, they don’t own the church, it’s more like a self perpetuating corporation. If a bigwig of a Fast food corporation did these crimes, the chain doesn’t sell every asset to pay the fines) Maybe we should revive debtor’s prison for fines to big to pay.

    And that 90% if they manage to avoid jail time dues to age, stuff them in a monastery for humble work to keep them locked away from innocents and temptation. With hairshirts for the highest enablers Sell whatever they make to benefit the victims. And that should not require a trial. God may forgive them is it is true repentance, but that doesn’t mean they must be trusted. Protecting innocent should have at least equal weight to forgiveness, not lesser.

    • The more I think about this pulling-back-of-the-curtain in the Catholic church, the more parallels I see to the rapid downfall of the Knights Templar. Of course, that was a violent purge. Anyway, something a bit bigger in impact on the world than the downfalls of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker seems inevitable. I just don’t see how the centuries-old ways of doing things in the Catholic church can go on as if those ways had (and have) zero connection to the corruption that’s been exposed. Maybe all this priestly sex crime will boost Islam…? Or, at least, speed the marginalization of Christianity in western culture. All the while, China has more Christians (or so it is said) than does the was-U.S…

  4. Vagiano is very much a political animal. But he’s right on this one, and has been right for a while. That it serves his own political cause is irrelevant.

    • On Facebook, a friend used the fact that he introduced the recalcitrant Kentucky marriage license clerk to the Pope as a reason to disbelieve Vagiano here. Does that make any sense to you? Talk about grasping at straws.

      • Alizia wrote: The World, in this sense, obviously refers to Satan’s Kingdom.

        What I admit to finding really interesting is to allow myself to consider the meaning of this Weltanschauung, as indeed it is, but in a somewhat free and open way. One can understand the modern Social Justice Warrior as embodying the Christian Activist in struggles against ‘the Kingdom of Darkness’. But one could also easily imagine, and indeed it is occurring, the transformation of the SJW into an activist in defense of things more traditional. The Vision has not died, it has merely sunk down and out of direct view.

        To navigate ‘our present’ I would suggest that we need to be somewhat ‘amphibious’. That is, able to both swim in the older metaphysics and to be able to walk upright in the lands of the Modern.

        I must admit that I am drawn — or is it compelled? as if it is not a choice I make? — to understand that *The World* in the former, metaphysical sense, will succeed in having its way and that this will bring us to the edge of annihilation. To see things in this way is to see things through a specific ‘lens’.

        When I made a study (a pretentious way of putting it I suppose!) of the 9/11 Events, one presenter of the dark ‘alternative vision’ made it clear, at the end of his presentation, that his encounter with the Event led him to rediscover Christianity, which means really ‘the Christian metaphysics’. At the end of his 2 hour video he quoted Ephesians:

        “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”

        The idea is not in any sense dead. In fact it seems to be brought more out into the light.

        It is a deeply psychological view really and is, naturally, steeped in the former metaphysics. To say ‘psychological’ means, in my usage, to be bound up with the psyche, the soul. (But that too — the notion of ‘soul’ — is not a modern concept! Today, souls don’t exist and if you believe such you believe things you give evidence of links to the ‘former metaphysics’).

        (Side note: despite that Catholicism is in definite decline, this is not so of Pentecostalism and Islam, which have both taken off in recent years.)

    • Sue writes: Vagiano is very much a political animal. But he’s right on this one, and has been right for a while. That it serves his own political cause is irrelevant.

      I have noticed that no one I have read on this Blog so far, when they speak to these complex RCC issues, seems to understand the difficult inner-dimensions of the struggles in the Church now. I admit that it is really hard to understand (though not hard to understand it in a glossary, general way).

      The faction that Viganò (I admire your mis-spelling! was it intentional?) is a part of is the Catholic Traditional wing of the RCC, and I doubt that you would agree with any part of that position, except that it is adamant in purging the Church of sexual abusers. It sees the Church (the post-Vatican church essentially) as on the verge of destruction by the forces of ‘modernism’ which it associates, as indeed it must to be true to Christian metaphysics, with Satanic influence. And it associates ‘Satanic influence’ with sexual deviancy. There are both simplistic, reductionist viewpoints that express these ideas, and more sophisticated apologetics that describe the issue of corruption as both a world-phenomenon and one that has ‘infected’ the Church. However, the traditionalists always declare that ‘the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church’ and thus they understand the Church in its ‘militant’ role as essentially a hold-out against *The World*. The World, in this sense, obviously refers to Satan’s Kingdom.

      The crisis in the Church is particularly strange given that it is so multi-layered. The Church really is an ancient and a Medieval institution, and the structure of its metaphysics is not in any sense ‘modern’. Thus ‘the Church’ represents a hold-out for a fading Mediaeval world-view (Google: The Great Chain of Being).

      The Church, and certainly ‘traditionalism’, is under attack from ‘modernistic forces’. Some part of this opposition is based in rejection to these Medieval metaphysics and all those metaphysics entail. The Church is an easy focus because all the symbolisms in dress, in the altar, in the sacramental objects, all of these *connote* other non-physical things. That is, they refer to transcendental things. The animus and the motive to attack the ‘symbols’ is always rather complex. It is also rather Protestant and in this transparent.

      The issue of modernistic ‘sexual license’ and the uprising of a more ‘pagan’ sexual freedom, given that Christianity and Catholicism have very strict rules and regulations defining sexual conduct, is one element in a general and rather visceral disgust with the Church and all its symbols. And in this there is definite debate as to how to deal with this sexual paganism (my term) and society’s choices in relation to the same. The sexual libertine, it is obvious, resents any *authority* that would curtain his or her sexual freedom, and in this the entire issues has a relationship to issues of authority. It is really very very complex. Non-simple.

      But another aspect of the opposition is to be found within the classical Protestant-Catholic warring. And one must note that there is a long-standing anti-Catholic tradition in the United States and one of the tools of that opposition has been to accuse the Church of sexual misdeeds, orgies, perversions, etc. (See: ‘Anti-Catholicism’ on the Wiki page).

      The Conservative Faction desires to reconquer the Church and to purge it of its ‘modernistic’ influence. But the term ‘modernism’ is really complex! One could understand it but it would take a number of days. (See: Pascendi Dominici Gregis). It is not in any sense simple to grasp what Pius X was getting at when he ‘raised the alarm’ against this ‘modernism’ (again, the term ‘modernism’ in a Catholic sense is a special term and is different from what we take the world to mean in common speech).

      But it must be understood, at least I see it like this, that for the Traditionalists to ‘reconquer’ the Church which has been infected by ‘modernism’, that this means also The World itself. The Traditionalists see their mission as one related to *the world*, which really does mean, for them, conquering Satan’s dominance in our world, and in our own selves.

      Since this issue is one that can hardly be spoken of in ‘our modernity’ (in the conventional sense of the word), the Traditionalist’s issue is seen and understood as a form of madness. Looney stuff! The typical *innocent* lay Catholic, does not have the *sophistication* to understand that we all are living in a liminal zone between one formerly dominant metaphysics, and a new, radical, and competing metaphysics: that is to say ‘our modern view’. We never really analyze ‘our modern view’ so we do not even see it as a metaphysical position! We live in it, walk in it, breathe it in and drink it down, but we cannot *see* it!

      And this describes, in rather clipped form, the context of the crisis of the Church at this point in time. The more that you understand, the weirder it gets.

      Here is an article which does, at least superficially, reveal some of the hidden dimensions in the present idea- and power-battle:

  5. Very surprised you think a man who believes he should have been further elevated in the hierarchy, that Popes Benedict and Francis have not listened to his views against homosexuality, that blames the Pope for transferring him to Washington when he wanted to stay in Rome, who has himself been accused (unproven) of serious breaches of Vatican ethics (if that is not an oxymoron), and who has maken (as yet) unsupported claims about the two people in the hierarchy for whom he has deep antipathy, is somehow a model whistleblower. The Church hierarchy has done and permitted many heinous things, but this guy is not anyone’s ideal ethical whistleblower. Please find another one.

    • Correction: he’s not an ideal messenger, but then, few are. Ask Bob Mueller. He’s an insider, he has access, and he wouldn’t be sticking his neck out that far of he couldn’t prove what he says. Seriously, Michael: The news media treats every statement by the likes of Michael Cohen as gospel, and justifies burying THIS? The accusations from Vigano are easily checked, and he is blowing a whistle against interest: he’s also implicated in the scandal.

      It you want to quibble about the use of “model,” I’ll take the note.

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