Pope Francis authorized a study of the Vatican archives to investigate the circumstances of former Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s abuse allegations and rise in ecclesiastical rank.
The Vatican issued a statement Saturday announcing Francis’ approval of the “thorough study” and said that the pontiff would “follow the path of truth, wherever it may lead.” While the statement did not directly address Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s allegations that Francis was complicit in covering up the allegations against McCarrick, the Vatican acknowledged that the archival documentation may reveal that church officials failed to confront and stop McCarrick. (RELATED: Vigano Speaks Out For First Time Since Accusing Pope, Says Francis Is Guilty Of Slander)
The statement reads:
The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues. However, as Pope Francis has said: “We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead” (Philadelphia, 27 September 2015). Both abuse and its cover-up can no longerbe tolerated and a different treatment for Bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.
The Vatican also said that Francis authorized the investigation in light of the turmoil that the allegations against McCarrick and subsequent allegations of cover-up have caused among Catholic faithful.
While a study of the Vatican archives is a step forward for those who have called for a full-scale investigation of the McCarrick case, like U.S. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the step is limited in scale. Vigano’s accusations assert that Francis is culpable because of private conversations during which he was informed of sanctions against McCarrick imposed by Pope Benedict XVI. Documentation of that conversation, and of others that Vigano referenced, may or may not exist in the archives.
Vigano, however, recently claimed that Cardinal Marc Ouellet is in possession of certain documents that would prove Vigano’s claims to be true. Whether such documents can also be found in the Vatican archives remains unclear.
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