Cardinal Ouellet responds to Archbishop Vigano's accusations against the Holy See

Today, the Holy See’s Press Office published an Open Letter by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, regarding recent accusations against the Holy See. We provide a working translation into English from the Italian translation of the original French.


A strong rebuttal to Archbishop Vigano’s charges and accusations. I doubt this is the response Archbishop Vigano was hoping for. I sometimes wonder if Pope Francis’ refusal to respond to the Vigano letter is less about defending any decisions made about former Cardinal McCarrick during his own pontificate, and more to protect the reputation of his two predecessors, who oversaw McCarrick before he retired.


The interesting thing is that Ouellet actually confirms that there were informal sanctions, just that they were not documented. Also, he acknowledges that there were “rumors” back in 2006 (which were probably more than just rumors at that point given that there were already a couple of settlements by then). And given that Ouellet is a known supporter of Pope Francis he is probably just as biased as Archbishop Vigano. I don’t think the full truth will ever be known.

So…Vigano was right? If anything this letter confirms more of Vigano’s account than it rebuts.


How does Ouellet’s letter confirm Vigano’s account? How does it confirm the Pope uplifted ‘sanctions’ which were never officially there in the 1st place? Vigano claimed McCarick was one of the pope’s close advisors. There seems to be no proof of that, Cardinal Ouellet refuted that himself. That alone already discredits part of Vigano’s claims.
Actually it is Pope Francis who actually acted on the McCarick case by imposing sanctions on him and removing him from the college of cardinals, something which by the way has not been done in the past 100 years.
When, as president of the Conference of Bishops the then Cardinal Bergoglio refused to ordain seminarians from the Institute of the Incarnate Word (founded by Fr. Buela in Argentina), it is Cardinal McCarrick who went over Bergoglio’s head and nevertheless ordained seminarians from the said institute in one of their Provinces. Is it not very unlikely that Pope Francis will make McCarrick who apparently disregarded his authority his adviser?


Ouellet, the head of the Vatican’s powerful bishops office, said it was “unbelievable and unlikely from every point of view” to accuse Francis of “having covered up with full knowledge of this alleged sexual predator.” Ouellet, who portrayed Viganò as bitter and disillusioned with his career within the Holy See, said he was in “open and scandalous rebellion,” and Ouellet accused him of exploiting the broader clergy sex-abuse scandal in the U.S. as a way to land “an undeserved and unheard of blow” on the pope.

But pushing back against Viganò, Ouellet said the Vatican had attempted years ago to place some restrictions on McCarrick — an acknowledgment that matches somewhat, but not completely, with Viganò’s version of events.

Washington Post with this story as well. They often have a paywall to read all. I was able to read the whole article.

I guess we all see things differently, influenced as we are, perhaps, through the lens of our own biases and personal inclinations (myself included). I don’t see how Cardinal Ouellet’s response can be considered anything but a rebuttal of the bulk of Archbishop Vigano’s accusations. The editorial staff over at America apparently see it that way too (predictably, yes, but astutely nevertheless).


This seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors to me - he says that there were no “sanctions”, but then admits that what Vigano said was true, that he himself informed him of the discipline that McCarrick was under. He was under restrictions, but not “sanctions”. Seems like splitting hairs to me as the crux of Vigano’s testimony is true, that he was disciplined in some way. Granted, these restrictions did not appear to be enforced under Pope Benedict, but they were totally disregarded under Pope Francis when McCarrick was once again given prominent assignments, most notably his role in the negotiations with China.

There is also the chance that this is all one big lie as well; we only have Cardinal Ouellet’s word that there is nothing in the archives, and given that he had to obtain Pope Francis’ permission to write this letter there is no way that he would be allowed to incriminate the Pope. An independent investigation would be the only way to discover the truth. There is definitely a disturbing pattern of Pope Francis rehabilitating those involved directly in sexual abuse or in cover-ups that lends more weight to Vigano’s arguments than Cardinal Ouellet’s, the latter who is little more than a pawn of Pope Francis in his current position.


It seems like people, especially Americans, read into these things what they want to see. When this all started, those that align politally with the extreme right in this country started foaming at the mouth at the chance to get rid of what they view as a “leftist” pope. One has to wonder if the teachings of the Church are held to the standard of the “far right” rather than the other way around.


Wow. What a letter.

At this point, I feel like we really aren’t going to know the truth. It seems like this situation is starting to be like a “he said, he said” sort of thing.

Card. Ouellet was responded to Viganò accusations against the Holy Father.

An excerpt, but you should read all of it:

Dear Pontifical Representative Emeritus, I tell you frankly that I believe it is incredible and unlikely from many points of view to accuse Pope Francis of having covered up after having full knowledge of the facts of this presumed sexual predator, and therefore of being an accomplice in the corruption rampant in the Church, to the point of considering him unfit to continue his reforms as the first Shepherd of the Church. I cannot understand how you could have allowed yourself to be convinced of this monstrous accusation which has no standing. Francis had nothing to do with the promotion of McCarrick to New York, Metuchen, Newark or Washington. He divested him from the dignity of Cardinal when a credible accusation of the abuse of a minor became evident. I have never heard Pope Francis allude to this self-styled advisor during his pontificate regarding nominations in America, though he does not hide the trust that he has in some of the Bishops. I presume that they are not preferred by you or by those friends who support your interpretation of the facts. I therefore consider it to be aberrant that you should profit by the horrible scandal of the sexual abuse of minors in the United States to inflict such an unprecedented and unmerited blow on the moral authority of your Superior, the Supreme Pontiff.


In case you missed it, there has also been a statement from the Vatican. It’s pretty preliminary, but it shows that the Vatican will undertake a thorough review of the McCarrick case and that there is still more to come regarding the case against McCarrick.


Also in the Catholic News forum:


Thank you for noting the other topic.

I will just say that I chose to place this here as opposed to the news section because the news section is hidden from the front page of the forum.

As much public discussion in these forum as there has been about Vigano and the Holy Father, this statement from someone Vigano says is knowledgeable about this issue deserves to show up on the front page.


You are right and I have observed it too, the thread i opened (that which was linked above) does not appear on the front page of the forum. Why is it so?

The Catholic Church sure moves slowly. Even the flame wars happen at glacial speed. Would that we all learn to slow down with our judgement. FYI - Pope Francis is to meed with Cardinal Dinardo and Archbishop Gomez tomorrow.

“On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States, I welcome the statement of Oct. 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said in a statement released Oct. 7 in Rome.

The cardinal, president of the USCCB, is in Rome for the Synod of Bishops. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, conference vice president, also is in Rome for the synod, and the two U.S. leaders were expected to meet privately with Pope Francis Oct. 8 as questions continue over the handling of years of allegations of sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington.

I think the Vatican wanted to make sure of the accuracy of their statement in response. Any factual error would be jumped on by the enemies of the Pope.

Furthermore, this does not support Vigano’s claim of canonical sanctions

Vigano: “In any case, what is certain is that Pope Benedict imposed the above canonical sanction on
McCarrick and that they were communicated to him by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States,
Pietro Sambi.”

Ouellet: " It is false, therefore, to present those measures as “sanctions” formally imposed by Pope Benedict XVI and then invalidated by Pope Francis. After a review of the archives, I find that there are no documents signed by either Pope in this regard, and there are no audience notes from my predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Re, imposing on the retired Archbishop the obligation to lead a quiet and private life with the weight normally reserved to canonical penalties. The reason is that back then, unlike today, there was not sufficient proof of his alleged culpability."


I think it’s awfully interesting and perhaps telling that Card. Ouellet’s letter is not on the front page of the National Catholic Register’s website… at least for the mobile format

It has been front page all weekend and still is with my PC and iPad.

Not on my iPhone. This is what I see:

Cardinal Ouellet is a highly credible source, for any information he is familiar with. However, Pope Francis often went “out of the box”, informal channels, in making some decisions, and perhaps in getting advice. It is hard to see how Cardinal Oullet would be in a position to know whose input the pope did or did not rely on, so that Vigano point has not been refuted.

Of course, that Vigano point has not been proven, either.

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