Vatican infighting exploits sex abuse crisis, says survivor
2018-09-01 14:49:04 -


By Chinedu Onyejelem


As Pope Francis was completing his visit to Ireland, a former US Papal nuncio accused the pontiff of covering up an abuse scandal involving a former cardinal.

In a letter released to the media, Carlo Maria Viganò alleged that Pope Francis knew of the allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick since at least June 2013.

The former diplomat also claimed that the Pope made McCarrick his “trusted counsellor” and knowingly allowed him to ignore sanctions that were placed on him by Pope Benedict.

Peter Isely, founding member and spokesperson of Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), said that although Viganò’s claims had not been verified, “if true, it directly implicates Pope Francis in covering up sex crimes by a powerful cardinal. This would fundamentally undermine the moral credibility of his papacy.

“If not true, then Viganò himself should face sanctions for making false allegations.”

Isley added that regardless of the truth of his claims, Viganò “needs to explain his own reported complicity in covering up sexual wrongdoing by a brother bishop. After all, this is the very accusation he is making against Francis.

“In 2014, Vigano ordered a shutdown of an investigation of alleged sexual wrongdoing by Archbishop John Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese, according to an internal memo made public by local prosecutors.”

Isely said the claim also demonstrates the secrecy and ineptitude that dominates the culture that created the child sex abuse crisis within the Catholic Church.

“This is infighting between curia factions that are exploiting the abuse crisis and victims of clergy sexual abuse as leverage in the struggle for church power,” Isely said.

“The sexual abuse crisis is not about whether a bishop is a liberal or a conservative. It is about protecting children, accountability for bishops, and justice for survivors. Liberal bishops cover up sex crimes. Conservative bishops cover up sex crimes.

“Similarly, whether a whistle-blower is conservative or liberal does not matter. It is the truth that matters. We encourage whistle-blowers from both factions to come forward.

“It is secrecy that creates the church structures that facilitate abuse. As Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said this week, these structures ‘must be broken down and broken down forever,’” he added.

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