Vigano’s Testimony; McCarrick’s Defiance


National Catholic Register, 31 August 2018

A spirit of defiance offers a possible explanation that merits further investigation.

Did Pope Benedict XVI put disciplinary restrictions on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2009 or 2010, as claimed by the “testimony” of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò?

Pope Francis has asked journalists to provide the initial response to the archbishop’s testimony. The Holy Father declared that he will “not say one word,” and no senior Vatican officials have come to his defense on the substance of the charges.

So the journalists are hashing it out, and the key issue debated in the days since the publication of Archbishop Viganò’s testimony is whether Pope Benedict XVI did in fact place restrictions on the cardinal’s ministry. If so, why was there no public announcement of it, and why did McCarrick carry on in retirement as he had while in office, namely the world’s premier “airport bishop”?

It is a legitimate question. The gravamen of the Viganò testimony depends upon the answer.

The simplest answer is that, in fact, there were no sanctions, and that Archbishop Viganò somehow misunderstood what he had been told by the Congregation for Bishops and what his predecessor as nuncio in Washington, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, had told Cardinal McCarrick.

Yet that answer is so simple that, if true, it is a wonder why the Secretariat of State — which supervises nuncios — or the Congregation for Bishops doesn’t simply explain that, making the matter largely disappear.

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