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Pope Francis Excommunicates Conservative, Pro-Trump Archbishop

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One of the Catholic world’s most prominent critics of Pope Francis has been cut out of the Church.

Retired Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, an Italian prelate who served as the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States from 2011 to 2016, was excommunicated last week after a years-long public standoff with the pope.

But the 83-year-old shows no sign of backing down.

In a social media post published Friday, Vigano not only published the judgment against him in its entirety, he made it clear he considers it a badge of honor.

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“What was attributed to me as guilt for my conviction is now put on record, confirming the Catholic Faith that I fully profess,” Vigano wrote on the social media platform X, according to an X translation.

He then quoted a passage from the New Testament: “I say to my brothers: ‘If you are silent, the stones will cry out.’ (Lk 19, 40).'”

God knows, Vigano does not keep silent when it comes to the papacy of Francis.

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In 2018 as CBS News reported, he publicly demanded Francis resign, accusing the pope of ignoring his warnings about now-former Washington, D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, one of the most prominent figures caught up in the church’s sex abuse scandal.

He called the pope a “servant of satan,” which is no way to ingratiate yourself with any boss, but it’s a particularly touchy comment when it comes to the head of the Church.

He has not been seen publicly — “in hiding” as numerous news outlets put it — ever since.

But in what might be the worst offense in the all-too-woke reign of the first Jesuit pope, Vigano publicly praised then-President Donald Trump during the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020.

In a letter to Trump, Vigano not only disparaged the rioters but saluted Trump’s presidency.

“For the first time, the United States has in you a President who courageously defends the right to life, who is not ashamed to denounce the persecution of Christians throughout the world, who speaks of Jesus Christ and the right of citizens to freedom of worship,” he wrote.

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That, obviously, has made Vigano many enemies among the global left, including the leftists in the Catholic hierarchy.

According to CBS, the Vatican decision for the excommunication came after a Thursday meeting, citing Vigano’s “refusal to recognize and submit to the Supreme Pontiff, his rejection of communion with the members of the church subject to him and of the legitimacy and magisterial authority of the Second Vatican Council.”

The ruling by the doctrinal office was not signed by Francis himself, Reuters reported, noting that it was “normal” for such a document not to be signed by the pope.

But Reuters also noted that “it is highly unlikely that the punishment was meted out without his approval.”

“Highly unlikely” is very likely a considerable understatement in this situation. The decision to excommunicate such a public critic of the pope as Vigano, once powerful enough in the church to serve as the papal nuncio to the most powerful nation on earth, couldn’t happen without the pope signing off, considering the publicity it was going to bring.

The official charge against Vigano was “schism,” essentially rejecting the authority of the pope.

And as the Catholic News Agency reported, it’s a charge Vigano doesn’t deny when it comes to this particular pope. In fact, he refused to even defend himself.

In a June 28 statement on social media, according to the Catholic News Agency, he declared that he would not accept a judgment of excommunication.

He wrote he has “no reason to consider myself separate from communion with the holy Church and with the papacy, which I have always served with filial devotion and fidelity.”

“I maintain that the errors and heresies to which [Francis] adhered before, during, and after his election, along with the intention he held in his apparent acceptance of the papacy, render his elevation to the throne null and void.”

Those aren’t the words of a man backing down.

According to The New York Times, the church uses excommunication “as a means to persuade the transgressor to reconcile with the church.” But it’s a good bet that Vigano — and his supporters — are beyond persuading that Francis is correct in his reliably leftist positions on issues like illegal immigration, “climate change” and homosexuality.

The pope has also made his feelings clear about conservatives in general and his willingness to deal harshly with conservative clergymen.

What isn’t clear is the immediate future of the Catholic Church.

A church that went from the moral and political giant of John Paul II (now St. John Paul II) to Benedict XVI to Francis in less than 20 years is obviously in a time of change.

But at 2,000 years old, the Catholic Church doesn’t run on the American quadrennial election cycle. Whether the conservativism represented by Vigano (and Benedict and John Paul II) or the liberalism represented by Francis prevails in the long run is an issue that’s not going to be known until the next papacy — and the many papacies to come.


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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
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