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Pope knew about McCarrick allegations but dismissed them, claims writer of new exposé

Theodore McCarrick at a meeting of the US bishops' conference (Getty)

Frédéric Martel says papal entourage told him that Archbishop Viganò informed Francis about allegations involving seminarians

Archbishop Carlo Viganò told Pope Francis about allegations against Theodore McCarrick, but the Pope dismissed them because they did not concern minors, a writer has claimed in an explosive new book about the Vatican.

The book, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality and Hypocrisy, contends that there is an extensive gay sub-culture within the Vatican.

Author Frédéric Martel writes: “When the Pope dismissed the allegations, his entourage indicated to me that ‘Francis was initially informed by Viganò that Cardinal McCarrick had had homosexual relations with over-age seminarians, which was not enough to condemn him.’”

Veteran Italian journalist Marco Tosatti highlighted the passage from the book, which will be released worldwide on Thursday, February 21, on his blog.

Tosatti described the claim as a case of “friendly fire” because “if there is someone of whom Frédéric Martel speaks well, when not enthusiastically, in his long work, it is really Pope Bergoglio.”

He argued that, as a gay rights activist, Martel is not someone who shares the moral views or agenda of Archbishop Viganò, which adds a level of credibility to his words.

He wrote: “Martel, as we know, was helped and hosted by prelates in the Vatican, to carry out his task. In a television interview, he mentioned at least four high prelates close to the Pope who favoured and encouraged him. He said he had met the Director of Civiltà Cattolica, Antonio Spadaro SJ several times; in the book there is an interview with Spadaro, and an interview with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the great director of the Synods (more or less pre-arranged) about the family and the young. He is a ‘famiglio’ of the Pontiff, a man of his trust. So we have to believe Martel, particularly because he puts the central phrase in quotes.”

Last August Archbishop Viganò published a “Testimony” in which he claimed that on June 23, 2013, he told Pope Francis: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”

When asked about the claim at an airborne press conference after his trip to Ireland, Pope Francis said: “I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this.”