Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

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Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:51 pm

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò calls on Francis to resign.

New York Times – DUBLIN — On a day when Pope Francis begged “the Lord’s forgiveness” at a shrine in Ireland for the clerical sex abuse scandals that threaten his church, a former top-ranking Vatican official alleged that Francis himself knew about the abuses of a now-disgraced American prelate years before they became public.

The bombshell accusation, leveled by Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican’s top diplomat in the United States between 2011 and 2016 and a staunch critic of Francis, immediately threatened to derail the pope’s already difficult mission to demonstrate his commitment to combating the cover-up of sexual abuse.

Instead, Francis and several other top-ranking Vatican officials were now accused of being part of the cover-ups as Archbishop Viganò called for their resignations.

The Vatican has said it will have no immediate reaction to the letter.

In a detailed, 7,000-word letter published Sunday morning by several conservative Catholic outlets, including The National Catholic Register and Lifesite News, Archbishop Viganò alleges that much of the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians.

Last month, Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal McCarrick, the first such resignation in living memory, after The New York Times and other news outlets published accounts of the alleged abuse and an internal investigation by the American church deemed credible an accusation that he had sexually abused a minor.

But Archbishop Viganò alleges that Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, had already punished Cardinal McCarrick for his abuse of seminarians and priests. The archbishop writes that Benedict banned the American cardinal from publicly celebrating Mass, living in a seminary and traveling to give lectures.

The National Catholic Register, which has been critical of Francis, reported that it had independently confirmed the allegations, but it did not publish any on-the-record corroboration and asserted, without attribution, that Pope Benedict had told his second-in-command, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone “to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.”

Cardinal McCarrick led several public Masses throughout Benedict’s papacy, but Archbishop Viganò alleges that the penalties were known about within the hierarchy and that he had personally informed Francis of them in June 2013.

He said that Francis had failed to apply the sanctions on Cardinal McCarick and had instead rehabilitated and empowered him to help choose powerful American bishops. Archbishop Viganò despises those bishops, and he complained in the letter of being deprived the voice typically given to a papal nuncio in choosing them.

“He knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator,” Archbishop Viganò writes of Francis, calling for the pope’s resignation.

“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.”

At a 2013 reception in the library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican shortly after Francis was elected pope, Archbishop Viganò was effusive with praise for Francis, calling him “a man you may talk to with an open heart” and saying his audience was “extremely nice, extremely warm.”

But in the letter, he said he had received an icy reception from Pope Francis. And he said the pope had told him on June 23, 2013: “The bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing.” Francis then added, according to Archbishop Viganò, “They must not be left-wing, and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual.”

It was then that Francis asked his opinion of Cardinal McCarrick, to which Archbishop Viganò said he had replied: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”

Archbishop Viganò, who blames homosexuals for the child abuse crisis that has destroyed the church’s standing in many countries, dedicates entire sections of the letter to outing cardinals who he claims belong to what he characterizes as a pernicious “homosexual current” within the Vatican.

“These homosexual networks,” he wrote, “which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire church.”

Archbishop Viganò is no stranger to stirring trouble in the Vatican.

A cultural conservative born into a wealthy family in Varese, Italy, he received the title of archbishop from Pope John Paul II in 1992. He later joined the church’s diplomatic corps, which is one of the traditional sources of power in the Vatican, and which gave him access to much of the information he alleges in the letter. In 2009, he was installed by Pope Benedict XVI as secretary of the governorate of Vatican City State, a position not unlike the mayor of Vatican City.

Benedict wanted the ambitious Italian with a taste for good red wine to enact government overhauls, but Archbishop Viganò’s efforts in pursuit of that goal earned him powerful enemies.

In early 2011, hostile anonymous articles attacking Archbishop Viganò began appearing in the Italian news media, the bulletin board of Vatican power politics. Archbishop Viganò appealed to Benedict’s second in command, Cardinal Bertone, who instead echoed the articles’ complaints about his rough management style and removed Archbishop Viganò from his post.

Those appeals and protests, later leaked by the pope’s butler, became the heart of the church scandal known as VatiLeaks, which many church observers say contributed to the resignation of Benedict XVI.

Francis removed Archbishop Viganò from his job as nuncio to the United States in 2016, in part for nearly ruining the pope’s trip the United States by giving papal face time to Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Soon after his departure, a criminal investigation into a bishop in Minneapolis-St. Paul revealed a memo that Archbishop Viganò had written in 2014 in an effort to suppress a church investigation into alleged homosexual activity by the Minnesota bishop.

Since his return to Rome, Archbishop Viganò has run with a crowd of traditionalist Catholics deeply critical of Pope Francis and recently attended a raucous meeting of anti-Francis prelates and faithful in the basement of a Rome hotel, where he could be seen talking to the Lifesite news reporter who translated the letter into English.

Archbishop Viganò’s extensive letter, while especially inconvenient for the pope, who spent the morning praying for abuse victims in at a shrine in Knock, Ireland, also goes after a broad array of current and past Vatican officials and American prelates. He names all of them.

He said his predecessors in the Vatican’s embassy in Washington, now deceased, knew about Cardinal McCarrick’s alleged relationships with seminarians and priests and had reported it to the Vatican but that successive secretaries of state — Angelo Sodano, Cardinal Bertone and Pietro Parolin — did nothing.

He said he wrote another memo in 2006 about new allegations against Cardinal McCarrick and delivered it in December of that year to his superior with recommendations to strip the cardinal of his rank and defrock him before he brought scandal to the church.

He alleges that he delivered another memo in May 2008 that also went nowhere, but then writes that he learned through another cardinal that Pope Benedict had at a certain point imposed sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick.

He blamed Cardinal Bertone, his old rival, for the delay.

Archbishop Viganò said that he had personally met with then-Cardinal McCarrick to remind him that he was under sanction during their first meeting after he arrived in the United States.

“The cardinal, muttering in a barely comprehensible way, admitted that he had perhaps made the mistake of sleeping in the same bed with some seminarians at his beach house,” he writes.

After bumping into Cardinal McCarrick at the pope’s residence in the Vatican, and listening to the American boast about his freedom to travel, Archbishop Viganò wrote that he contacted Cardinal Parolin, the secretary of state and top adviser to Francis, in April 2014 inquiring if the sanctions were still in force.

He said Cardinal Parolin nor a host of other Vatican officials had replied, but that when he had brought up the subject with Cardinal McCarrick’s replacement in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, “it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it.”

Cardinal Wuerl’s spokesman wrote in a statement to the Catholic News Agency that the cardinal “did not receive documentation or information from the Holy See specific to Cardinal McCarrick’s behavior or any of the prohibitions on his life and ministry suggested by Archbishop Viganò.”

The controversy over the letter is expected to grow in the coming days, and it is likely to require a response from Francis, who is to return to the Vatican on Sunday evening after celebrating Mass at Phoenix Parkin Dublin.

“None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence, who were taken from their mothers, and left scarred by painful memories,” Francis said on Sunday after praying quietly for abuse survivors at a shrine to the Virgin Mary in Knock.

“This open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice,” he said. “I beg the Lord’s forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family.”

Pope Francis Live Updates: Call for Resignation Further Clouds Ireland Visit Aug. 26, 2018
In Ireland, Pope Francis Finds a Country Transformed and a Church in Tatters Aug. 25, 2018
Last edited by jserraglio on Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:28 pm

National Catholic Register — In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, wrote that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.

Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor,” claiming that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.

Archbisop Viganò, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” ended his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.

On June 20, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on the order of Pope Francis, prohibited former Cardinal McCarrick from public ministry after an investigation by the New York archdiocese found an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor was “credible and substantiated.” That same day,the public learned that the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey had received three accusations of sexual misconduct involving adults against McCarrick. Since then media reports have written of victims of the abuse, spanning decades, include a teenage boy, three young priests or seminarians, and a man now in his 60s who alleges McCarrick abused him from the age of 11. The Pope later accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals.

But Viganò wrote that Benedict much earlier had imposed sanctions on McCarrick “similar” to those handed down by Cardinal Parolin. “The cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living,” Viganò said, “he was also forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.” Viganò did not document the exact date but recollected the sanction to have been applied as far back 2009 or 2010.

Benedict’s measures came years after Archbishop Viganò’s predecessors at the nunciature — Archbishops Gabriel Montalvo and Pietro Sambi — had “immediately” informed the Holy See as soon as they had learned of Archbishop McCarrick’s “gravely immoral behaviour with seminarians and priests,” the retired Italian Vatican diplomat wrote.

He said Archbishop Montalvo first alerted the Vatican in 2000, requesting that Dominican Father Boniface Ramsey write to Rome confirming the allegations. In 2006, Viganò said, he personally, as delegate for pontifical representations in the Secretariat of State, wrote a memo to his superior, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, proposing an “exemplary measure” be taken against McCarrick that could have a “medicinal function” to prevent future abuses and alleviate a “very serious scandal for the faithful.”

He drew on an indictment memorandum, communicated by Archbishop Sambi to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in which an abusive priest had made claims against McCarrick of “such gravity and vileness” including “depraved acts” and “sacrilegious celebration of the Eucharist.”

But, according to Viganò, his memo was ignored and no action was taken until the late 2000s — a delay which Archbishop Viganò claims is owed to complicity of John Paul II’s and Benedict XVI’s respective Secretary of States, Cardinals Angelo Sodano and Tarcisio Bertone.

In 2008, Archbishop Viganò claims he wrote a second memo, this time to Cardinal Sandri’s successor as sostituto at the Secretariat of State, Cardinal Fernando Filoni. He included a summary of research carried out by Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist and specialist in clerical sexual abuse, which Sipe had sent Benedict in the form of a statement. Viganò said he ended the memo by “repeating to my superiors that I thought it was necessary to intervene as soon as possible by removing the cardinal’s hat from Cardinal McCarrick.”

Again, according the Viganò, his request fell on deaf ears and he writes he was “greatly dismayed” that both memos were ignored until Sipe’s “courageous and meritorious” statement had “the desired result.”

“Benedict did what he had to do,” Archbishop Viganò told the Register Aug. 25, “but his collaborators — the Secretary of State and all the others — didn’t enforce it as they should have done, which led to the delay.”

“What is certain,” Viganò writes in his testimony, “is that Pope Benedict imposed the above canonical sanctions on McCarrick and that they were communicated to him by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Pietro Sambi.”

The Register has independently confirmed that the allegations against McCarrick were certainly known to Benedict, and the Pope Emeritus remembers instructing Cardinal Bertone to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.

In 2011, on arrival in Washington D.C., Archbishop Viganò said he personally repeated the sanction to McCarrick. “The cardinal, muttering in a barely comprehensible way, admitted that he had perhaps made the mistake of sleeping in the same bed with some seminarians at his beach house, but he said this as if it had no importance,” Viganò recalled in his testimony.

In his written statement, Viganò then outlined his understanding of how, despite the allegations against him, McCarrick came to be appointed Archbishop of Washington D.C. in 2000 and how his misdeeds were covered up. His statement implicates Cardinals Sodano, Bertone and Parolin and he insists various other cardinals and bishops were well aware, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as Archbishop of Washington D.C.

“I myself brought up the subject with Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions, and I certainly didn’t need to go into detail because it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it,” he wrote.

The second half of Viganò’s testimony primarily deals with what Pope Francis knew about McCarrick, and how he acted.

He recalled meeting Cardinal McCarrick in June 2013 at the Pope’s Domus Sanctae Marthae residence, during which McCarrick told him “in a tone somewhere between ambiguous and triumphant: ‘The Pope received me yesterday, tomorrow I am going to China’” — the implication being that Francis had lifted the travel ban placed on him by Benedict (further evidence of this can be seen in this interviewMcCarrick gave the National Catholic Reporter in 2014).

At a private meeting a few days later, Archbishop Viganò said the Pope asked him “‘What is Cardinal McCarrick like?’” to which Viganò replied: “He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” The former nuncio said he believes the Pope’s purpose in asking him was to “find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not.”

He said it was “clear” that “from the time of Pope Francis’s election, McCarrick, now free from all constraints, had felt free to travel continuously, to give lectures and interviews.”

Moreover, he added, McCarrick had “become the kingmakerfor appointments in the Curia and the United States, and the most listened to advisor in the Vatican for relations with the Obama administration.”

Viganò claimed that the appointments of Cardinal Cupich to Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin to Newark “were orchestrated by McCarrick” among others. He said neither of the names was presented by the nunciature, whose job is traditionally to present a list of names, or terna, to the Congregation for Bishops. He also added that Bishop Robert McElroy’s appointment to San Diego was orchestrated “from above” rather than through the nuncio.

The retired Italian diplomat also echoed the Register’s reportsabout Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga and his record of cover-up in Honduras, saying the Pope “defends his man” to the “bitter end,” despite the allegations against him. The same applies to McCarrick, wrote Viganò.

“He [Pope Francis] knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator,” Archbishop Viganò stated, but although “he knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end.”

“It was only when he was forced by the report of the abuse of a minor, again on the basis of media attention, that he took action [regarding McCarrick] to save his image in the media,” wrote Viganò.

The former U.S. nuncio wrote that Pope Francis “is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren,” and urged him to “acknowledge his mistakes” and, to “set a good example to cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.”

In comments to the media Aug. 26 Viganò said his main motivation for writing his testimony now was to“stop the suffering of the victims, to prevent new victims and to protect the Church: only the truth can make her free.”

He also said he wanted to “discharge my conscience in front of God of my responsibilities as bishop for the universal Church,” adding that he is “old man” who wanted to present himself to God “with a clean conscience.”

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:56 pm

It has been said that one of the reasons Francis can't make the headway he would like to is because he has enemies but does not necessarily know who they are. If I were to speculate, but I imagine I am not far off the mark, one has now revealed himself, and for entirely church-political reasons having little or nothing to do with the abuse scandal. There are men, including many cardinals, in the church hierarchy, who detest Francis and hope he dies soon so that they can replace him with a reactionary pope. That, I assure you, is not too strong a statement. On top of that, and this is more speculative but again I would be surprised if I were far off, these men are hypocrites. If they weren't out-and-out child abusers themselves or did not abet it among the clergy for whom they were responsible at some point in their career, then for one reason or another they fall under the heading "He among you who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:48 pm

'I won't say a word about it': Pope Francis doesn't address claims that he knew of allegations against ex-archbishop

August 27, 2018

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis declined Sunday to confirm or deny claims by the Vatican’s retired ambassador to the United States that he knew in 2013 about sexual misconduct allegations against the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, but rehabilitated him anyway.

Francis said the 11-page text by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, which reads in part like a homophobic attack on Francis and his allies, “speaks for itself” and that he wouldn’t comment on it.

Francis was asked by a U.S. reporter during an airborne press conference Sunday if Vigano’s claims that the two discussed the McCarrick allegations in 2013 were true. Francis was also asked about Vigano’s claims that McCarrick was already under sanction at the time, but that Francis rehabilitated him.

Francis said he had read Vigano’s document and trusted journalists to judge for themselves.

“It’s an act of trust,” he said. “I won’t say a word about it.”

The National Catholic Register and another conservative site, LifeSiteNews, published Vigano’s text Sunday as the pope wrapped up a two-day visit to Ireland dominated by the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Vigano, 77, a conservative whose hardline anti-gay views are well known, urged the reformist pope to resign over what he called Francis’ own culpability in covering up McCarrick’s crimes.

Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation as cardinal last month, after a U.S. church investigation determined that an accusation he had sexually abused a minor was credible.

Since then, another man has come forward to say McCarrick began molesting him starting when he was 11, and several former seminarians have said McCarrick abused and harassed them when they were in seminary. The accusations have created a crisis of confidence in the U.S. and Vatican hierarchy, because it was apparently an open secret that McCarrick regularly invited seminarians to his New Jersey beach house, and into his bed.

Coupled with the devastating allegations of sex abuse and cover-up in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report — which found that 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children over 70 years in six dioceses — the scandal has led to calls for heads to roll and for a full Vatican investigation into who knew what and when about McCarrick.

Vigano apparently sought to answer some of those questions. His letter identifies by name the Vatican cardinals and U.S. archbishops who were informed about the McCarrick affair, an unthinkable expose for a Vatican diplomat to make. He said documents backing up his version of events are in Vatican archives.

The Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2011 to 2016, Vigano said his two immediate predecessors “did not fail” to inform the Holy See about accusations against McCarrick, starting in 2000. Vigano said he himself sent at least two memos on him.

He said Pope Benedict XVI eventually sanctioned McCarrick in 2009 or 2010 to a lifetime of penance and prayer, and to no longer celebrate Mass in public or travel.

He said Francis asked him about McCarrick when they met on June 23, 2013, at the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel where the pope lives, three months after Francis was elected pope.

Vigano wrote that he told Francis: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation of Bishops, there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”

Soon thereafter, Vigano wrote, he was surprised to find that McCarrick had started traveling on missions on behalf of the church, including to China. McCarrick was also one of the Vatican’s intermediaries in the U.S.-Cuba talks in 2014.

Vigano’s claim that McCarrick had been ordered by Benedict to stay out of public ministry and retire to a lifetime of prayer is somewhat disputed, given that McCarrick enjoyed a fairly public retirement. But Vigano insisted the sanctions had been imposed, and said a former counselor in the embassy at the time was “prepared to testify” about the “stormy” meeting when McCarrick was informed of them.

Barry Coburn, McCarrick’s civil attorney, said the allegations in the Vigano letter are “serious.”

“Archbishop McCarrick, like any other person, has a right to due process. He looks forward to invoking that right at the appropriate time,” he said in a statement.

The letter also contains a lengthy diatribe about homosexuals and liberals in the Catholic church. It often reads like an ideological manifesto, naming all of Francis’ known supporters in the U.S. hierarchy as being complicit in a cover-up of McCarrick’s misdeeds.

“Now that the corruption has reached the very top of the church’s hierarchy, my conscience dictates that I reveal those truths regarding the heart-breaking case of the archbishop emeritus of Washington,” Vigano wrote.

Vigano, however, also has had his own problems with allegations of cover-up, and he and Francis had a major dust-up during Francis’ 2015 visit to the U.S., which Vigano organized.

In that incident, a leading U.S. opponent of gay marriage, Kim Davis, was among those invited to meet with the pope at Vigano’s Washington residence. Francis was so enraged that Davis’ supporters had leaked word of the meeting that the Vatican subsequently insisted he only held one private audience while there: with one of his former students, a gay man and his partner.

The cover-up accusation, which Vigano denied, concerned allegations that he tried to quash an investigation into the former archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, John Nienstedt, who was accused of misconduct with adult seminarians.

In 2016, the National Catholic Reporter said Vigano allegedly ordered the investigation wrapped up and a piece of evidence destroyed. The report cited a 2014 memo from a diocesan official that was unsealed following the conclusion of a criminal investigation into the archdiocese. No charges were filed.

In a statement provided to the AP Sunday about the Nienstedt case, Vigano said a Vatican investigation of the allegation found no wrongdoing on his part.

He said the allegation that he destroyed evidence was false and that his efforts to have the archdiocese correct the record have been met with silence.

Nienstedt was forced to resign in 2015 over complaints about his handling of sex abuse cases.

Vigano’s name also made headlines during the 2012 “Vatileaks” scandal, when some of his letters were published. In them, he begged not to be transferred to the Vatican embassy in Washington from the administration of the Vatican City State.

He claimed he was being punished for having exposed corruption in the Vatican. The letters showed a clash with Benedict’s No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is also a target of his McCarrick missive.

The document’s authenticity was confirmed to The Associated Press by an Italian journalist, Marco Tosatti, who said he was with Vigano when the archbishop wrote it Wednesday.

“He was very emotional and upset at the end [of] the effort,” Tosatti told AP, adding that Vigano left Tosatti’s home afterward without saying where he was going.

The post, 'I won't say a word about it': Pope Francis doesn't address claims that he knew of allegations against ex-archbishop, first appeared on the PBS NewsHour website.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:57 am

The Man Who Took On the Pope: The Story Behind the Viganò Letter
By Jason Horowitz

Aug. 28, 2018

ROME — At 9:30 a.m. last Wednesday, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò showed up at the Rome apartment of a conservative Vatican reporter with a simple clerical collar, a Rocky Mountains baseball cap and an explosive story to tell.

Archbishop Viganò, the former chief Vatican diplomat in the United States, spent the morning working shoulder to shoulder with the reporter at his dining room table on a 7,000-word letter that called for the resignation of Pope Francis, accusing him of covering up sexual abuse and giving comfort to a “homosexual current” in the Vatican.

The journalist, Marco Tosatti, said he had smoothed out the narrative. The enraged archbishop brought no evidence, he said, but he did supply the flair, condemning the homosexual networks inside the church that act “with the power of octopus tentacles” to “strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations.”

“The poetry is all his,” Mr. Tosatti said.

When the letter was finished, Archbishop Viganò took his leave, turning off his cellphone. Keeping his destination a secret because he was “worried for his own security,” Mr. Tosatti said, the archbishop then simply “disappeared.”

The letter, published on Sunday, has challenged Pope Francis’ papacy and shaken the Roman Catholic Church to its core. The pope has said he won’t dignify it with a response, yet the allegations have touched off an ideological civil war, with the usually shadowy Vatican backstabbing giving way to open combat.

The letter exposed deep ideological clashes, with conservatives taking up arms against Francis’ inclusive vision of a church that is less focused on divisive issues like abortion and homosexuality. But Archbishop Viganò — who himself has been accused of hindering a sexual misconduct investigation in Minnesota — also seems to be settling old scores.

As the papal ambassador, or nuncio, in the United States, Archbishop Viganò sided with conservative culture warriors and used his role in naming new bishops to put staunch conservatives in San Francisco, Denver and Baltimore. But he found himself iced out after the election of Pope Francis.

Then in 2015, he personally ran afoul of Francis. His decision to invite a staunch critic of gay rights to greet the pope in Washington during a visit to the United States directly challenged Francis’ inclusive message and prompted a controversy that nearly overshadowed the trip.

Juan Carlos Cruz, an abuse survivor with whom Francis has spoken at length, said the pope recently told him Archbishop Viganò nearly sabotaged the visit by inviting the critic, Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who became a conservative cause célèbre when she refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“I didn’t know who that woman was, and he snuck her in to say hello to me — and of course they made a whole publicity out of it,” Pope Francis said, according to Mr. Cruz.

“And I was horrified and I fired that nuncio,” Mr. Cruz recalled the pope saying.

Now, three years later, Archbishop Viganò appears to be trying to return the favor.

Known for his short temper and ambition, Archbishop Viganò has clashed with superiors who stunted his ascent in the church and has played a key role in some of the most stunning Vatican scandals of recent times.
Marco Tosatti, a journalist, helped Archbishop Viganò compose a letter that called for the resignation of Pope Francis.CreditJason Horowitz/The New York Times

While Archbishop Viganò, who was once criticized by church traditionalists as overly pragmatic, has aligned himself with a small but influential group of church traditionalists who have spent years seeking to stop Francis, many of his critics think his personal grudges are central to his motivations.

After one church leader shipped him out of the Vatican to America, thwarting his hopes of receiving a scarlet cardinal’s hat, Archbishop Viganò’s private 2011 memos — many of them deeply unflattering to the leader responsible for his ouster from Rome — were leaked and splashed around the globe.

Supporters of Archbishop Viganò, who did not return a request for comment, bristle at the notion that his letter calling on the pope to resign represents the fury of a disgruntled excellency. They portray him as principled and shocked by what he sees as the destruction of the church he loves.

Mr. Tosatti said the archbishop had explained to him that, as a bishop, he felt a deep responsibility to the church and that, as a 77-year-old man, he wanted to clear his conscience for when his moment came. But he said the archbishop was also infuriated by a recent article in the Italian press sympathetic to Pope Francis and critical of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI — and felt he needed to retaliate.

Archbishop Viganò is well versed in Vatican infighting. In 1998, he became a central official in the Vatican’s powerful office of the secretary of state. In the letter, he writes that his responsibilities included overseeing ambassadors out in the world, but also the “examination of delicate cases, including those regarding cardinals and bishops.”

It was then he says he first learned of the abuses committed by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the American Catholic leader whose history he says Pope Francis knew about for years — and covered up.

In 2009, Archbishop Viganò, then a bishop, was moved to another job in the Vatican with less influence over policy but with power over some of its revenue.

Known as parsimonious, he turned Vatican City’s deficit into a surplus. But his hard management style prompted complaints, and anonymous emails alleging that he was inappropriately promoting the career of his nephew began making the rounds in the Vatican. His style and rigor on vetting Vatican contracts also bothered some leaders, including Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, and an anonymous report in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale claimed he had designs on the Vatican’s security services.

Cardinal Bertone, who Archbishop Viganò writes in the letter “notoriously favored promoting homosexuals,” banished him to the United States.

Throughout his power struggle, Archbishop Viganò had been writing urgent appeals to Benedict to stay in the Vatican.

He said he needed to stay because his brother, a Jesuit biblical scholar, was sick and needed care, and he accused Cardinal Bertone of breaking his promise to promote him to the rank of cardinal.

In 2012, when he was already in the United States as nuncio, or ambassador, the letters started appearing in leaks eventually pinned on the pope’s butler. The scandal consumed the Vatican and prompted intense blowback.

But Archbishop Viganò’s brother, Lorenzo Viganò, told Italian journalists that his brother “lied” to Benedict that he had to remain in Rome “because he had to take care of me, sick.” To the contrary, he said he had lived in Chicago and was fine and hadn’t talked to his brother in years over an inheritance dispute.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a sexual abuse survivor who has spoken with Pope Francis.CreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times

Archbishop Viganò maintained his position as ambassador in the United States after the election of Francis. But in the letter published Sunday, he alleged that the former Cardinal McCarrick “orchestrated” the selection of bishops blinded by a gay ideology that he blames for the sex abuse crisis.

Yet Archbishop Viganò has been accused of covering up misconduct as well. According to documents disclosed as part of a criminal investigation into the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese, he ordered bishops in April 2014 to quash an investigation into accusations that Archbishop John Nienstedt engaged in sexual misconduct with adult men and adult seminarians.

Archbishop Viganò, anticipating the criticism, gave Mr. Tosatti a statement denying those reports.

After angering Francis during the Kim Davis episode, Archbishop Viganò was called back to Rome to explain himself. In a sign of his desire to move back permanently, he refused to give up his Vatican apartment. Reports in the Italian media this week asserted that after removing Archbishop Viganò from his position, Pope Francis also kicked him out of his Vatican apartment.

But Archbishop Viganò returned from his Milan home often enough, joining forces with traditionalists antagonistic to Pope Francis.

And he returned this summer to get working on the letter.

About a month ago, Mr. Tosatti said he received a call from the archbishop asking if he could meet with him in a discreet place. Archbishop Viganò told the reporter his story, but said he wasn’t ready to go on the record.

But when news of decades of widespread clerical abuse in Pennsylvania broke, Mr. Tosatti urged the archbishop to tell his story. On Aug. 22, he returned, this time with a written statement.

Mr. Tosatti said that he saw no documents or other evidence, and after three hours, they finished.

The archbishop asked Mr. Tosatti if he knew anyone who could publish it in English and Spanish. Mr. Tosatti sent the letter to the National Catholic Register, which is owned by a company that runs several conservative Catholic platforms often critical of Francis.

“They are all tied,” said Mr. Tosatti, who said that he alone helped draft and distribute the letter.

Its publication was delayed, not so that it would blow up Francis’ trip to Ireland over the weekend amid the sexual abuse crisis, he said, but so that it could be translated.

After they were done writing it, Mr. Tosatti said he accompanied Archbishop Viganò to the door and bowed to kiss his ring, only to see the hand pull back.

Mr. Tosatti explained that it wasn’t a personal respect he wanted to show, but respect for his office and authority.

“It’s not for you,” Mr. Tosatti recalled telling him as tears welled in the archbishop’s eyes. “It’s for the role you have.”

The archbishop told him, “Now that I have finished, I can leave, and leave Rome too,” according to Mr. Tosatti.

“Where will you go?” Mr. Tosatti recalled asking.

“I will not tell you so that when they ask you, you will not have to lie — and I will shut off my phone,” the archbishop said, according to the reporter, who said that both men suspected the Vatican of tapping their phones.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:49 am

In an Aug 30 WSJ op-ed, Prof Robt P. George says Pope might be forced to resign if Archbishop's story checks out.

WSJ — The world recently learned that former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick had sexually harassed and seduced seminarians and even abused minors. Stunned and angry Catholics demanded to know how church officials failed to stop his predations, which went on for decades.

A purported answer came Saturday. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò issued a “testimony” accusing several senior Church officials—including Pope Francis—of allowing Archbishop McCarrick, who was also a cardinal, to enjoy influence despite knowing of his evil deeds. Archbishop Viganò, a former papal nuncio (or ambassador) to the U.S., urged the pope to resign.

Many Catholics agree that the pope should resign if the charges are true. But are the charges true? What did the pope know about the McCarrick affair and when did he know it?

According to Archbishop Viganò, around 2009-10 Pope Benedict XVI ordered Cardinal McCarrick to leave the seminary where he was living, dedicate himself to private prayer and penance, and avoid public life in the church. As for his many subsequent public appearances, even during the Benedict pontificate (and sometimes with Archbishop Viganò himself), Archbishop Viganò said that the legendarily well-connected cardinal’s friends in the curia looked the other way as he defied the sanctions.

Archbishop Viganò claims that Archbishop McCarrick’s successor in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, “lies shamelessly” in saying he knew nothing of his predecessor’s immorality and criminality. Cardinal Wuerl also categorically denies that officials gave him any documentation or information regarding sanctions against his predecessor. Someone isn’t telling the truth.

The Viganò testimony contains quotations and details about dates and meetings—but also inferences and insinuations. Skeptics argue that he is miffed at not being made a cardinal or out for revenge against churchmen who reject his “conservative” theology. Others have come to his defense by highlighting his integrity and love for the church. They also point to the few and partial denials from the accused.

Yet the Viganò debate is secondary. More important are his testimony’s factual claims, which can be vetted with hard evidence. I agree with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: The questions raised by Archbishop Viganò “deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence,” because “without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.” Let’s consider what evidence is public already and ask how the rest can be brought to light.

The National Catholic Register has reported that someone close to Pope Benedict confirmed that the retired pontiff recalls ordering sanctions against Cardinal McCarrick. Msgr. Jean-François Lantheaume, counselor of the nunciature under Viganò, told Catholic News Agency, “Viganò said the truth. That’s all.” Moreover, Archbishop Viganò stated that Msgr. Lantheaume was prepared to testify that his predecessor in the nunciature had communicated Pope Benedict’s sanctions to Cardinal McCarrick. The Viganò testimony states that “all the memos, letters, and other documentation mentioned here are available at the Secretariat of State of the Holy See or at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.”

Several documents could conclusively settle who is lying: former Nuncio Gabriel Montalvo’s 2000 report to the Vatican recounting Cardinal McCarrick’s misdeeds throughout the 1980s and ’90s; Archbishop Viganò’s 2006 and 2008 memos on the matter for the Vatican; and Pope Benedict’s instructions for his secretary of state to impose sanctions. Also of interest would be letters about those sanctions from the Vatican to the nunciature, from the Vatican to Cardinal Wuerl, or from a Vatican official to Archbishop Viganò.

It also should be determined if Archbishop Viganò met with Pope Francis on June 23, 2013, between morning Mass and the noon Angelus address. That’s when he says he told the pope of the McCarrick dossier—which also should be made public.

Any materials showing that the pope knew of any McCarrick sanctions before meeting with the cardinal on June 19, 2013, would be critical. Archbishop Viganò’s testimony does not clearly assert that the pope “lifted” sanctions, contrary to some reporting. But he does say that Pope Francis has known since at least the end of June 2013 of a dossier detailing grave sexual offenses. If the pope knew of that dossier and nevertheless empowered the cardinal to represent and influence the church world-wide for five years, the future of this pontificate is in the gravest doubt.

Pope Francis told reporters on Sunday that he would not say a word about Archbishop Viganò’s claims. He added that they could decide for themselves. The only way this is possible is for the pope to order church officials in any office containing pertinent documents to release them. Then we will know the truth.

Mr. George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:45 pm

None of this requires the resignation of a pope. There is nothing new in an offender being "sentenced" to spend the rest of his life in quiet monastic retirement. Consider the following case:
https://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/22/nyre ... under.html

The prescient if mediocre writer Morris West, who gave us Shoes of the Fisherman, addressed this topic two different ways in his career. In his book The Advocate (meaning avocatus diaboli) there is a prominent character who is a clear and true pedophile, though not a priest. In his book The Clown of God, a pope is made to resign, not for this reason, but because he has been seeing visions.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:54 pm

The issue is not whether the Pope can mandate monastic seclusion to ensure morally lax fat-cat prelates keep their trousers zipped (of course he can — that's hardly breaking news now, is it?), but to what extent the American hierarchy in the Cardinal McCarrick matter placed young people in danger and to what extent the Pope, Vatican higher-ups and US bishops knew about that then or are lying about it now.

As Prof. George correctly points out in his op-ed, the question is — "What did Francis know and when did he know it?" Same question should be asked of the Pope's underlings.

If the Pope fails to release the relevant documents, and I fully expect he will refuse to do so, it will look like he has something to hide, his moral authority will continue to erode and he may even be forced to resign.

On the other hand, if Archbishop Vigano is blatantly lying, it should be easy enough to publish the documents he cited in the letter and squash his credibility once and for all.

Dante accused Pope Boniface VIII of protecting an immoral bishop by moving him to another diocese (cf. Inferno, canto xv). This week Archbishop Vigano's missive accused Pope Francis of doing much the same for Cardinal McCarrick. After seven centuries, it may be time for a reckoning.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:02 pm

Vigano is out-and-out lying. If I were a betting man, I would bet on it. I am no particular fan of Francis, you know. His willingness to concede to church tradition in terms of married priests, female priests, and sexual morality when he could change these things with a stroke of the pen makes me hate him as much as any pope there ever was going back to the Counter-Reformation. On the matter of the afterlife, he is an out-and-out heretic by believing in non-existence before he believes in Hell, not that this makes any difference to me now. The denomination of my upbringing has broken many hearts over the centuries, including once mine. Nevertheless, this is a strict case of innocent until proved guilty, and I don't believe for a minute that Francis is guilty of any of this, Dante notwithstanding.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:13 pm

I too think that Archie Viagra is lying. He's banking that the super-secret Vatican archives that could give the lie to his tendentious tale will never be made public.

Unlike you, I very much admire Francis, most especially b/c of his putative 'heresies'. God forbid that Christ vicarious should ever speak his mind directly or scandalize his disciples with hard sayings instead of feeding their superstitions! Also b/c of his hot Italianate temper.

But he's just not gonna do the things you listed, though I wish he could, b/c if he did with "a stroke of the pen he would surely plunge the Church into schism and we're already headed in that direction as it is.

Problem is his apparent refusal to dignify Padre Viagra's accusations with a response. So long as he does that (stonewalling will be read as guilt), and in the context of already having had to admit serious errors in his handling of sexual abuse in South America, I fear his moral authority will continue to erode.

On the off chance that the Most Righteous Reverend Viagra is telling the truth, Francis needs to come clean with the info, again admit his errors, and lay out a plan of action to deal with this scandal of clerical sex abuse that is slowly undermining a legendary institution. It's been going on for centuries (cf. Dante's saeva indignatio). It's incumbent on Francis now to end it.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:33 am

Archbishop Viagra issues more accusations against the Vatican in a second letter.

by Jason Horowitz — ROME — The archbishop who accused Pope Francis of covering up a cardinal’s sexual misconduct has escalated his offensive with new, detailed accusations that put increasing pressure on a pontiff who the archbishop and his supporters say has misled the faithful and should resign.
The accuser, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, initially said he would turn off his phone and disappear into hiding for fear of his safety. But he then made a series of new accounts in conservative Roman Catholic news outlets.
In a new letter published late Friday by the conservative website LifeSiteNews, the archbishop gave his version of events leading up to the pope’s controversial September 2015 meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. His description contradicted the Vatican’s own account of that private meeting, maintaining that Francis’ lieutenants lied to the public about the encounter, which threatened to eclipse the pope’s entire trip to the United States that month.
A letter by Archbishop Viganò made public last weekend alleged that the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians and that Pope Francis knew about the abuses years before they became public. It also said that rather than punishing the cardinal, Francis empowered him to help choose powerful American bishops.
Archbishop Viganò has aligned himself with a conservative group of powerful prelates, in both the Vatican and the United States, who have seized on the clerical sex abuse scandal to try to damage Francis and his agenda. They believe the pope is abandoning the church’s rules and traditions through his shift away from culture-war issues like abortion in favor of an emphasis on inclusion, including toward gays, whom Archbishop Viganò and his allies blame for pedophilia in the church.
The archbishop writes that he was spurred to weigh in again by a New York Times article this past week quoting a Chilean abuse survivor, Juan Carlos Cruz. Mr. Cruz said Francis had told him that Archbishop Viganò sneaked Ms. Davis into the Vatican Embassy in Washington for a private meeting in 2015 and that the pope did not know who she was or why she was controversial.
Mr. Cruz recalled the pope saying to him, “I was horrified and I fired that nuncio,” or papal ambassador — a reference to Archbishop Viganò, who was the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States.
Archbishop Viganò writes in the new letter: “One of them is lying: either Cruz or the pope? What is certain is that the pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience.”
Archbishop Viganò did not return a request for comment on Saturday. But in the new letter, he lays out in detail his version of events in which he says he personally briefed the pope on Sept. 23, 2015, giving him a memo, which he also provided to LifeSiteNews, summarizing the case of Ms. Davis.
He claims that the pope “immediately appeared in favor” of a meeting but seemed wary of the political implications, asking the ambassador to clear it with his top adviser, Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. That night, in a Washington hotel, Archbishop Viganò says, he was met instead by now-Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was then Francis’ chief of staff, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister.
Archbishop Viganò says that he then provided them with the letter, and after Archbishop Gallagher verified that the meeting presented no legal obstacles, he “gave an unconditionally favorable opinion that the pope should receive Davis.”
The Vatican’s press office declined to make Cardinals Parolin and Becciu and Archbishop Gallagher available for comment on Saturday morning. A message sent to a Lithuanian monsignor who Archbishop Viganò said witnessed the meeting in the Washington hotel lobby was not answered.
Archbishop Viganò says he informed the pope of that decision the next morning, and “the pope then gave his consent.” Archbishop Viganò says he then organized the secret meeting with Ms. Davis, who was in town to receive an award from the Family Research Council, a politically active conservative Christian group.
Early in the afternoon of Sept. 24, Archbishhop Viganò writes, the pope “entered as planned” into a sitting room to meet Ms. Davis, “embraced her affectionately, thanked her for her courage and invited her to persevere.”
When news of the meeting leaked, the media storm knocked Pope Francis off his message of inclusivity. The Vatican’s press office asserted that the pope had never received Ms. Davis in private audience and that the pope was probably not briefed. The Vatican instead highlighted Francis’ warm meeting at the Washington Embassy with a gay former student and his partner.
Francis then summoned Archbishop Viganò to Rome for what his top advisers assured Archbishop Viganò would be a chewing out, but the archbishop writes, “To my great surprise, during this long meeting, the pope did not mention even once the audience with Davis!”
Follow Jason Horowitz on Twitter: @jasondhorowitz.
If Cardinal Was Under Pope’s Sanctions, Why Was He Allowed at Gala Events? Sept. 1, 2018
The Man Who Took On Pope Francis: The Story Behind the Viganò Letter Aug. 28, 2018
Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open as Conservatives Pounce Aug. 27, 2018
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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jserraglio » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:41 am

Duplicate of a post in another thread.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ultra-conservative ex-Vatican official accuses Pope of knowing about Cardinal McCarrick's record of abuse

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Referring to jserraglio's previous post, schism is the norm in Christianity. (Actually heresy is the norm, but let's not go there.) I'm sure I don't have to tell j that the last important schism involved the definition of papal infalibility by the First Vatican Council. Many bishops actually voted against it, but then almost all of them swore allegiance to it once it passed the majority vote in an ecumenical council. A small break-off group known as the Old Catholics was the resulting schism. They're still hanging around, sort of, and allow for instance married priests. The RC Church plays lip service to the notion that all may be one, but most modern Catholics, including some very devout, realize that there are more important things than unity. If I were to be totally cynical about this, it would be to point out that the church relies on the so-called cafeteria catholics it pretends to object to just to keep the coffers full, and is not about to alienate any potential donors wherever they are on the spectrum by formally changing things that said cafeteria catholics seem to be fine to go along with as long as they don't actually have to practice them.

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