In a third letter on the Archbishop McCarrick affair, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has named key documents which, he says, show that Vatican officials had detailed knowledge of McCarrick’s sexual corruption.
It is two months since Archbishop Viganò, the former Vatican representative (nuncio) to the US, accused Vatican officials of failing to act against McCarrick. Viganò even alleged that Pope Francis had known about McCarrick’s offences and nevertheless brought the American prelate into his inner circle.
Viganò claimed that he had told Francis in June 2013 that McCarrick had “corrupted generations of seminarians”.
He further claimed that, while Benedict XVI had imposed restrictions on McCarrick, these had been lifted by Pope Francis, who made McCarrick a “trusted counsellor”.
The Pope has not directly responded. But Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, denounced Viganò’s letter two weeks ago, calling it “unjust” and “abhorrent”. Addressing Viganò as “Dear brother”, Cardinal Ouellet said that, until recently, the Vatican had not been fully aware of McCarrick’s true character.
“Unlike today,” Ouellet wrote, “there was not sufficient proof of [McCarrick’s] alleged culpability”. Rather than having “recent and definitive information”, according to Ouellet, the Vatican knew only “rumours” .
But in his new letter, Viganò claims that “the Holy See was aware of a variety of concrete facts, and is in possession of documentary proof”, but officials failed to act or were prevented from doing so.
He names several documents which, he claims, the Vatican had in its possession, most of them from the time of Benedict XVI. These include a letter from an American priest, Fr Boniface Ramsey, describing what he had heard about McCarrick; records of civil settlements which two US dioceses had reached with McCarrick’s alleged victims; and a 2008 letter from the psychotherapist Richard Sipe offering to detail McCarrick’s offences.
Viganò also says that he, as well as his two predecessors as nuncio, Archbishops Montalvo and Sambi, had informed the Vatican about McCarrick.
The documents, Viganò says, are kept in the “appropriate archives” of the Vatican. They “specify the identity of the perpetrators and their protectors, and the chronological sequence of the facts”.
Addressing Ouellet, the former nuncio asks: “Are all these just rumours? They are official correspondence, not gossip from the sacristy.”
Viganò also says Ouellet’s letter confirmed that Benedict imposed restrictions on McCarrick. “Cardinal Ouellet concedes the important claims,” he writes.
The archbishop concludes by appealing to other Vatican officials to give their own testimony.
The full text of Archbishop Viganò’s letter is here.