Top cardinal lashes out at Archbishop Vigano's 'open rebellion' on McCarrick case

Pope says the Devil is to blame for the church scandals

And conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican's former ambassador to Washington, claimed in an 11-page document in August that Francis and other church officials knew for years about sexual misconduct by now-former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick with seminarians in the USA yet protected him.

The U.S. cardinal's statement was published the same day Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, responded to allegations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, that Pope Francis knew about and ignored the allegations against then-Cardinal McCarrick.

The Vatican said that Pope Francis has chose to combine the information from that investigation "with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick". It is false to present the measures taken in his regard as "sanctions" decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and revoked by Pope Francis.

Pope Francis is blaming the devil for undermining the Roman Catholic Church, Reuters reports, as it is hit by more accusations of sexual misconduct and cover-ups by clergy and church officials.

The McCarrick scandal has thrown the US and Vatican hierarchy into turmoil, given that it was apparently an open secret in some USA church circles that he would invite seminarians into his bed. The former Cardinal, who had retired in May 2006, had been strongly advised not to travel and not to appear in public, so as not to provoke additional rumors in his regard. Adult priests and seminarians also claimed that McCarrick harassed them. Archbishop Vigano's letter followed a massive statement in mid-August calling on Pope Francis to resign because, he claimed, Pope Francis had known there were sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick and not only did he lift them, he allegedly made Cardinal McCarrick a trusted confidant and adviser on bishops' appointments in the United States.

The Vatican was informed starting in at least 2000 about the seminarian complaints.

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Francis accepted McCarrick's resignation as a cardinal in July after a USA church investigation determined that an allegation that he groped a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible.

Vigano had implied that Francis, even after being informed about McCarrick's misdeeds, nevertheless rehabilitated him from "canonical sanctions" and made him a trusted counselor as he set out to remake the USA bishops' conference. Another man also claimed that McCarrick had molested him when the man was a teenager.

The first formal sanctions on Archbishop McCarrick were imposed by Pope Francis in June after an investigation found credible allegations of the sexual abuse of minors.

"In addition, the written brief prepared for you by the Congregation for Bishops at the beginning of your service in 2011, said nothing about McCarrick other than what I told you in person about his situation as an emeritus Bishop who was supposed to obey certain conditions and restrictions due to the rumors surrounding his past behavior".

He said he could not believe Archbishop Vigano had arrived at such a "monstrous" and "blasphemous" conclusion given that Francis had nothing to do with McCarrick's career rise in the previous decades.

Secondly the letter mentions "friends" of Mgr Viganò who share his opinions and calls the former nuncio's accusations a baseless "political manoeuvre" and appeals to him to come out "of hiding", repent and retrieve "better feelings towards the Holy Father".

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