Pope Francis faces accusations of suppressing sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, but his accuser — former apostolic nuncio to the U.S. Carlo Maria Vigano — was himself accused of hushing up a church sex scandal in 2014.
Vigano faced accusations of cutting off an investigation into alleged homosexual abuse by former Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt, according to a memo released in 2016. When two auxiliary bishops sent a letter objecting to Vigano’s decision to prematurely wrap up the investigation, the former nuncio allegedly ordered their letter destroyed. The exchange took place after Minnesota prosecutors declined to press charges against Nienstedt in April 2014, but the archdiocese was still facing an investigation that would result in criminal charges the following year.
Prosecutors released the memo and dropped six charges against the archdiocese in 2016 after the church admitted wrongdoing in a civil suit. Nienstedt resigned days after the charges were filed in 2015. (RELATED: Vigano Refutes Claims He Covered Up Sex Abuse In 2014)
Vigano released an 11-page letter Sunday accusing Francis of promoting Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite knowing that Pope Benedict XVI had sanctioned him over sex abuse allegations. Vigano also claimed that Francis, knowing of McCarrick’s abuses since 2013, allowed McCarrick to counsel him on the appointment of several American bishops and on relations with former President Barack Obama’s administration. (RELATED: Catholic School Teacher Removed From Ministry Over Sex Abuse Allegations)
“Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren. Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock,” Vigano wrote.
“In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, 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,” he added.
Francis refused to comment on the allegations, instructing people to read Vigano’s letter carefully but saying he “will not say a single word on this.”
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