Former top Vatican official says pope should resign over abuse crisis

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The coverup accusation, which Vigano denied, concerned accusations he tried to quash an investigation into a former archbishop accused of misconduct.

If such sanctions existed, "then McCarrick himself has either somehow forgotten he was under sanction, or he is being woefully disobedient", said the Rev. Matt Malone, editor of the Jesuit magazine America, who in a series of 13 tweets provided links to news reports, photos and other evidence of McCarrick's very public ministry in the years that he was purportedly to have retired to a lifetime of prayer and penance devoid of public ministry.

Pope Francis is staying mum about a lengthy letter in which a former Vatican official accused him of covering up claims of sexual abuse and called on him to resign.

Pope Francis has earned a reputation as a moderniser, but critics accuse him of failing to turn words into actions, given the Catholic Church's poor record on LGBT+ rights across the globe.

Vigano, who was Vatican ambassador from 2011-2016, said he had been told that Benedict imposed sanctions on McCarrick starting in 2009 or 2010, after a decade's worth of allegations of misconduct had reached the Vatican. The accusations have led to a crisis in confidence in the US hierarchy, because it was apparently an open secret that McCarrick regularly invited seminarians to his New Jersey beach house, and into his bed.

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Almost two weeks ago, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released the findings of the largest-ever investigation of sex abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church, finding that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

The full transcript of the Pope's answer to the question has been released. "I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely ... read the statement carefully and make your own judgment", he said.

"I will not say one word on this".

"You have sufficient journalistic capacity to draw conclusions", he went on.

Vigano writes that he told Francis about the allegations: "HolyFather, 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 said he never received a response to his 2006 memo. And we wanted the babies to know "Here we say your name.' There is no bells, there is no whistles, there is no Mass".

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Archbishop Vigano said the measures were purportedly put in place "years" after his predecessors Archbishops Gabriel Montalvo and Pietro Sambi "immediately" informed the Holy See in 2000 when they learned of Archbishop McCarrick's "gravely immoral behaviour with seminarians and priests".

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's misdeeds. "He must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests".

Throughout the 11-page testimony, which was translated by a Lifesite News correspondent, the former nuncio made several claims and accusations against prominent church officials, alleging they belong to "a homosexual current" that subverted church teaching on homosexuality.

Vigano's letter also mentions Boston's Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, Francis' point man on the safety of children in the church.

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