A former Vatican official known for his
opposition to marriage equality has claimed in an 11-page letter that
Pope Francis protected a former cardinal accused of sexual
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano was
recalled from his D.C. post in 2016.
In his letter, first reported by the
National Catholic Register and LifeSite News, two Catholic
conservative outlets, Vigano claims that Pope Benedict XVI, Pope
Francis and other top church officials were aware of sexual
misconduct allegations against Theodore Edgar McCarrick, a former
cardinal who served as Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006.
Pope Francis accepted McCarrick's
resignation in July after a news report alleged that McCarrick made
unwanted sexual advances toward seminarians. McCarrick is the first
U.S. cardinal in history to resign.
“[Francis] knew from at least June
23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator. He knew that he was a
corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end,” Vigano wrote.
Vigano blamed “homosexual networks”
for sexual abuse and corruption in the Catholic church.
On his trip home from Ireland, Pope
Francis refused to comment on Vigano's claims, saying that his letter
“speaks for itself.”
Francis told reporters that he trusted
people to judge for themselves.
Washington Post reported that the letter “offered no proof
of its claims” and that Vigano refused to comment beyond saying
that he wrote the letter.
Vigano in 2015 arranged a controversial
meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who
fought to keep her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay and
lesbian couples. The Vatican denied assertions from Davis' lawyer
that the pope had personally requested the meeting. Francis accepted
Vigano's resignation from his diplomatic post in April, 2016.