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Bishop McElroy accuses Viganò of ‘distorting’ the truth

Bishop Robert McElroy (CNS/Paul Haring)

In a strongly worded attack, the Bishop of San Diego has accused Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò of “massive personal participation in the covering up of sexual abuse by bishops”.

Bishop Robert McElroy said Viganò had distorted the truth in the “testimony” he released at the weekend, adding that it contained “clear efforts to settle old personal scores”.

“In recent weeks ideological warriors within the Church on both sides of the spectrum have utilized the tragedy of victims of abuse to promote their goals,” McElroy said. “The dedication to comprehensive truth has been subordinated to selective targeting of enemies and tendentious distortions of the truth.

“Archbishop Vigano’s statement constitutes just such a distortion.”

McElroy accused Viganò of pursuing an “ideologically-driven selection of bishops” and of promoting a “hatred of Pope Francis and all that he has taught”.

“Archbishop Viganò consistently subordinates the pursuit of comprehensive truth to partisanship, division and distortion,” he added.

Viganò issued a statement on Monday denying being involved in covering up abuse by former Archbishop John Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis. He said a 2016 New York Times report was false, and that he was subsequently vindicated by an investigation ordered by Pope Francis.

In his “testimony”, Viganò said McElroy’s appointment as Bishop of San Diego was orchestrated “from above” by Church officials. He claims that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin sent him a memo saying: “Reserve the See of San Diego for McElroy”.

Last week, Bishop McElroy explained why he did not act on a 2016 letter sent to him by psychiatrist Richard Sipe alleging sexual misconduct by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, saying Sipe appeared untrustworthy and he was concerned the information could be inaccurate.