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Archbishop Blows Whistle, Says Pope Should Resign

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The sexual scandals rocking the Catholic Church have been gathering strength for more than two decades, but the one that’s exploding now might be even more shocking than its long line of predecessors:

A veteran archbishop in the church, a man who once served as the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, publicly released a scathing letter about the church’s ongoing homosexual abuse scandals — and demanded Pope Francis himself resign as head of the church.

In an 11-page letter, Archbishop Carla Maria Vigano, a former papal nuncio, accused Francis of reinstating former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who had been placed under sanction by Pope Benedict XVI for decades of homosexual relations with adult seminariarians and sexual abuse of an altar boy, according to LifeSite News.

In July, McCarrick was forced to resign as a cardinal, and ordered to live a life of “prayer and repentance” until he is tried by the church, according to a report by The Associated Press from July 19.

In his testimony, Viganò provides a detailed account, including names, dates and actions, of why he believes the pope knew about McCarrick abuses when he reinstated him after taking over for Benedict.

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What is included in the document could be nothing short of heart-wrenching and devastating for the Catholic faithful:

On page nine, the hammer is dropped: “Pope Francis has repeatedly asked for total transparency in the Church and for bishops and faithful to act with parrhesia. The faithful throughout the world also demand this of him in an exemplary manner.”

“He must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests. In any case, the Pope learned about it from me on June 23, 2013, and continued to cover for him.”

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“He did not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him and made him his trusted counselor along with (Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez) Maradiaga. The latter (Maradiaga) is so confident of the Pope’s protection that he can dismiss as ‘gossip’ the heartfelt appeals of dozens of his seminarians, who found the courage to write to him after one of them tried to commit suicide over homosexual abuse in the seminary.”

On the last page, while he holds hope for the faithful and out the future, the archbishop had harsh words for the pope and others. “Pope 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.”

At the beginning of the testimony, Viganò explained what a painful and difficult decision it was for him to come forward. He also shared why he ultimately felt he had no choice but to do so:

“I had always believed and hoped that the hierarchy of the Church could find within itself the spiritual resources and strength to tell the whole truth, to amend and to renew itself. That is why, even though I had repeatedly been asked to do so, I always avoided making statements to the media, even when it would have been my right to do so, in order to defend myself against the calumnies published about me, even by high-ranking prelates of the Roman Curia.”

“But now that the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy, my conscience dictates that I reveal those truths regarding the heart-breaking case of the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, which I came to know in the course of the duties entrusted to me by St. John Paul II, as Delegate for Pontifical Representations, from 1998 to 2009, and by Pope Benedict XVI, as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, from October 19, 2011 until end of May 2016.”

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Viganò affirmed to CBS News that the affidavit was genuine. He also reasserted that his intention in coming forward was “to combat the grave situation in the church, to protect the church and also to stop future abuse.”

Vigano also accused the current archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of lying on at least two occasions regarding whether he knew about McCarrick’s activities, as well as protecting him.

Wuerl told CBS the McCarick affair has been concluded.

“He has resigned and his resignation has been accepted,” Wuerl said, according to CBS. “And he’s been told to stay in seclusion…that’s a pretty substantial penalty to be paying.”

Vigano’s explosive accusations are just the latest development of many in the church’s massive sexual abuse scandal.

A recently released Pennsylvania grand jury report, according to Reuters, found that that “301 priests in (Pennsylvania) had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.”

Shortly thereafter, a priest in Indiana was violently attacked in what police believe may be an act of retribution “for all the kids.”  This was despite the fact that the priest had not ever been accused of such a crime.

And while the scandals have become all-too familiar to the Catholic faithful and the world at large, it has been the hope of many that enough in-house reform would occur to help minimize, if not fully eliminate, the abuses and cover-ups.

If Vigano’s testimony proves true, the church has a very long way still to go.

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