On Sunday, Pope Francis refused to respond to allegations that he had long known of the abuses carried out by former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Pope Francis, did, however, say he would not issue an official response regarding the accusation that he had helped cover up the crimes since 2013. Instead, he asked for forgiveness for the church for the series of scandals.
NPR reports that Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released a statment Sunday while Pope Francis visited Ireland. The letter asserts that Pope Benedict XVI knew about McCarrick in 2009 or 2010 and imposed sanctions on him and that Viganò himself informed Pope Francis about McCarrick in 2013.
Viganò was removed from his position in 2016, in part for his actions in setting up a meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for contempt of court when she refused orders to allow other court employees to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
According to the New York Times, during a press conference Sunday night, the Pope was asked about the allegations. He would not directly deny them but did not officially confirm them either instead saying that he would not give any response.
I will not say a single word about this. I believe the statement speaks for itself. And you have the sufficient journalistic ability to make your conclusions. It’s an act of trust.
The letter calls for Pope Francis to resign.
Last month, Pope Francis accepted Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s resignation, after the church investigated accusations that McCarrick had sexually abused a teenager over 40 years ago, and found the allegations credible. The Washington Post reports that the victim says the Cardinal put his hand in the teenager’s pants while preparing for a Christmas service.
However, additional allegations have come to light since the resignation, including one more victim who was a minor at the time, and three who were young adults, all young priests or seminarians at the time.
Pope Francis tweeted this weekend to say that he’s praying for the church to never allow this to happen again.
I ask our Blessed Mother to intercede for the healing of the survivors of abuse and to confirm every member of our Christian family in the resolve never again to permit these situations to occur.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 26, 2018
Pope Francis has been affectionately called ‘Pope Fluffy’ by members of the public for his (relatively, compared to past stances) relaxed position on acceptance of gay children and non-Christians. However, the church’s response to abuse has long been criticized, and a new accusation, specific and detailed, alleging a cover-up at the highest levels, is causing further concern.