He continued: “The seriousness of homosexual behaviour [in the “Church” of Rome] must be denounced. The homosexual networks present in the Church must be eradicated, as Janet Smith, Professor of Moral Theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, recently wrote. ‘The problem of clergy abuse,’ she wrote, ‘cannot be resolved simply by the resignation of some bishops, and even less so by bureaucratic directives. The deeper problem lies in homosexual networks within the clergy which must be eradicated.’”
And Viganò added: “These homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.”
Strong words, yet he was absolutely correct, except in thinking that these networks are only “now” widespread – they have always been there, for centuries. But now they are being exposed as never before. This is a very good thing, as it shows the world what the Roman Catholic priesthood is: a secretive society riddled with sexual predators, especially homosexual ones. Protestants have said the very same thing through the centuries, but have always been dismissed, criticised and mocked by Romanists as lying about their “holy” priests; but now in the providence of God the truth is being forced out even from the mouths of some of the highest-ranking men within the Vatican hierarchy.
Viganò’s Allegations against Francis I: He Knew and Did Nothing, and Should Resign
These allegations amounted to a massive potential bombshell against the “Church” of Rome. But it was what Viganò said about the pope himself that caused the greatest stir. Stating that he was ready to reaffirm what he was claiming under oath, Viganò said that he met Francis in the Vatican just three months after he had become pope in 2013. He stated that McCarrick and Francis had been friends for a very long time, and that McCarrick had played an important role in Francis’ election as pope. Viganò claimed that when he met Francis, the pope asked Viganò what he thought of McCarrick, and Viganò replied that McCarrick had corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and that Benedict had ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance. To which, he said, Francis gave no reply at all.
Viganò concluded his open letter with the following:
“If this is rightly to be considered a serious moral responsibility for every believer, how much graver is it for the Church’s supreme pastor [the pope of Rome, Francis I], who in the case of McCarrick not only did not oppose evil but associated himself in doing evil with someone he knew to be deeply corrupt. He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert, thus multiplying exponentially with his supreme authority the evil done by McCarrick. And how many other evil pastors is Francis still continuing to prop up in their active destruction of the Church!… In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and… Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them” (emphasis added).
The Backlash against Viganò from Implicated Prelates, Pro-Francis Prelates, and the Jesuits
As was to be expected, the backlash against Viganò’s open letter, as his allegations spread via the internet worldwide, was enormous. There were refutations by various men implicated by Viganò. Not surprisingly, Viganò’s character came under attack. This is the usual “shoot the messenger” approach of Rome. He was almost immediately accused of lacking credibility, because he himself was alleged to have mishandled a case of alleged sexual abuse of an archbishop in Minneapolis, by blocking an investigation into it and suggesting that correspondence relating to it be destroyed. Viganò denied these allegations. The point, however, is this: whether he did or did not mishandle that case, his allegations in his open letter stood or fell on their own merits. As journalist Rod Dreher put it, who has studied these matters in detail: “Yes, he did this [i.e. covered up the investigation]. Shame on him. This makes Vigano a hypocrite, but not a liar.” Perhaps indeed, as Dreher claimed, Viganò was involved in a cover-up at one point. But this did not mean he was lying when he wrote his open letter! All that mattered was: were the accusations he made credible? In all honesty, it has to be said that they were. He would have been a fool to have named names, made such accusations, etc., at this stage in his life and knowing the backlash he would experience, unless he believed that it was the truth. The fact simply is that the evidence against McCarrick is extensive. As reported in an Associated Press story in late August 2018 after the allegations were made, “The historic record is rife with evidence that McCarrick had lived under no such [Papal] restrictions. He travelled widely…. He celebrated Mass publicly.”
Viganò was also accused of perhaps having a personal vendetta against Francis. But as Roman Catholic Vatican watcher and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, Robert Moynihan, put it: “I believe such factors may play a role in these events, but not the principal role. The way Vigano has written his letter is at times emotional, but is also written in a way that speaks to ecclesial issues, not to his own personal issues. I would exclude this as a major factor.” And journalist Rod Dreher stated: “It is undeniable that Vigano has personal motive to strike out at his enemies within the Curia…. but again, motive is beside the point. Are the allegations true?” This is all that matters.