I think Feser makes several good points. The end result is, I think, a compelling case for the general truthfulness of Vigano’a claims.
The argument about Vigano’s theological conservatism seems especially compelling. It is a hard argument to defend that the archbishop would put his immortal soul at risk just to pay back some old grudges.
but theological traditionalism has not prevented many clerics from doing very bad things, if they can justify it to themselves. Many have been willing to do a lot more than bend the truth to suit their needs.
Look at the Priests and Bishops caught up in the abuse scandals—there is no ideological or theological commonality.
And many theological conservatives feel that while criticizing certain Popes or Bishops is way out of line, they have a duty to criticize Pope Francis for the good the Catholic Church.
Also, we know of at least two collaborators (Italian journalists), but what if other high ranking prelates are also involved and pressured Vigano.
Also: there are situations where more than one person can be telling the truth as they see it and have completely different accounts.
I totally forgot about the Mahoney incident. He was publicly disciplined for mishandling sexual abuse–this was not some “secret” sanction–and then Francis made him a special envoy until the laity complained enough. Ugh, all these things really add up in a way that does not look good for Francis.
John Paul II let Cardinal Law flee to the Vatican after the Boston thing heated up. Then again, neither Benedict nor Francis tried to kick him out.
The special treatment for Cardinal Danneels disturbs me… even if nothing Archbishop Viganò claims is true. I’m not calling for the Holy Father’s resignation, but I can’t begin to understand some of these things.
And Benedict beatified him and Pope Francis canonized him after he did that…Francis’ predecessors certainly have their own blame in this matter, no doubt.
But Francis seems to have stepped it up by not just protecting those who did these things, but bringing them back to the forefront after they had finally been justly marginalized. He was also expected to be some kind of actual reformer in this regard, which is especially disappointing. This is why so many want him to resign–if he won’t do it, we need someone who will–but given that the College of Cardinals is either the same or worse as it was when he was elected, I don’t know why we would expect any better…
Cardinal O’Brien, a theological conservative, is guilty of having sex with his seminarians, just as McCarrick was. The only difference with McCarrick, is that he eventually recognized his guilt and resigned of his own volition.
Putting one’s soul at risk is not an ideological issue. As O’Brien demonstrated, even theological conservatives are capable of sins of the flesh. Putting one’s soul at risk is not an ideological issue, it’s a human issue as all humans do it.
It’s why we needed a redeemer.
Good point - with Pope Francis having appointed nearly half of the College of Cardinals (plus the previous conclave elected Pope Francis himself) I shudder to think of who could possibly be elected next time. If we’re looking at a Pope Marx or the equivalent after the next election this current period in Church history may be looked upon as a golden age in comparison.
Thanks for this reference.
I don’t agree with the comparison of a lie against the pope to sexual sin. There is a natural inclination to have sexual desires. In a certain sense McCarrick’s and O’brien’s sins are understandable, but a lie against the pope is different. You don’t have to go out of your way to be tempted to sexual sin. There is no natural inclination for a lie though. Abp. Viganò had to go out of his way to publish this letter, so they are fundamentally different situations.
That was not my point at all. My point was refuting the notion that somehow being a theological conservative made one more attentive to the state of one’s own soul.
O’Brien shows that this not the case. He was a Cardinal who sinned for many years. .
Sin is something all fall into regardless of ideology.
And I would say lying is just as frequent and facile as sins of the flesh, usually for pecuniary reasons or to cover for one’s own failings.
The issue is not whether other bishops have put their souls at risk by having sinned. Sins can be forgiven, which is why we have the sacrament of penance, but no sin can be forgiven unless one sincerely attempts not to repeat it. The issue with Archbishop Vigano is that his sin (If in fact he was lying) could not be forgiven unless he retracted his claims. As he surely knows.
I agree that ideological difference doesn’t make someone immune to sin, whether grave or not. We are all sinners. Although we can’t just assume Viganò is telling the truth, I think his doctrinal conservatism does imply a certain credibility to his accusations for the reasons made by Edward Feser. Viganò being a doctrinal conservative is an argument for his credibility because writing the letter goes against his doctrinal conservatism, particularly if it is false. Hopefully the pope will call for an investigation that can either demonstrate the truth or falsity of what Viganò claimed.
I think the opposite actually, it smacks of someone having an axe to grind against someon he disagrees with, regardless whether or not the accusation was made in good faith. If a close collaborator of the pope made the same accusation, I would stand up and take notice.
Moreover, so far we’ve seen many theological conservatives say that Vigano is “credible” but not one has offered a shred of evidence to back up the accusations. That smacks of a posse ganging up on the Holy Father.
As I understand it Vigano has stated exactly where the evidence can be found; places to which he no longer has access. If the evidence is not there someone should say so; it ought to be a simple thing to validate - or refute - his claims.
Feser addressed this in the article. His point was a theological conservative would believe in Hell and the due respect owed the Supreme Pontiff. If Vigano is lying because he has an axe to grind then he isn’t really a theological conservative. In other words the claim he is a conservative proves too much.
I don’t see your logic. If Viganò is a theological conservative, writing the letter contradicts everything he believes; unless the letter is true. Your assumption seems to be that the Church is no different than secular politics with its conservatives and progressives. If that is all the Church is then we might as well abandon it because it is guaranteed to abandon the faith. As they say, yesterday’s progressives are today’s conservatives. If it is just factions of conservatives and progressives, rather than a question of faithfulness to the Church and her tradition then it is all just an illusion.
The proof is available, if the pope will allow an investigation and the release of documents from the secretariat of the Holy See and the nunciature.
That’s the thing that is so frustrating about this situation; this whole controversy could be validated or disproved in less than a day if the documents and archives were examined. I don’t think there’s a chance though that the Vatican allows access to the archives to the press or general public. They would have to be examined if there was an official papal investigation (if they would want it to have any credibility), but at this point I’m wondering if one will actually happen.