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Up till now anyone critical of the behaviour of Pope Francis and members of the Curia over the leadership of Christ’s Church has generally been met with bemusement by other Catholics.  It is to be hoped publication of the Testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò on 22nd August will serve to alter this attitude to one of grave concern for Christ’s Church.  The document raises questions of the highest moment concerning the orthodoxy, adherence to Catholic principle, competence, and moral character of Papa Bergoglio, as of numerous of the Church’s past and present cardinals and bishops both within and without the Curia.


We append a copy of a translation of the Testimony in English by Diane Montagna which, shamelessly, we have edited so that it may be read in idiomatic English rather than Itanglish.  Those seeking to quote from the document, however, should look to the original translation available on various websites including Lifesite News[1].


At the time of their publication many Catholics complained about—

  • the forty five theologians who, in July 2016, sent to the Dean of the College of Cardinals a studied theological criticism of the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetitia (19th March, 2016);
  • the action of Cardinals Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmüller for publishing (in November 2016) various Dubia (formal questions requiring resolution) and a covering letter lodged with the Holy Father and Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on 19th September prior asking Pope Francis to clarify issues of “grave disorientation and great confusion” concerning interpretation and application of Amoris Laetitia, particularly its passages relating to the admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments;
  • the publication under the hand of innumerable signatories, clerical and lay, of the document Correctio Filialis addressed to the Pope on 16th July 2017.    


These attempts to stir Papa Bergoglio to act like a father to his flock and to confirm his brethren in the faith, the execution of which duties attach uniquely to his office, have had not the slightest effect. The Pope, it seems, couldn’t care less.  But the allegations in Archbishop Viganò’s Testimony go to personal moral turpitude.  Neglect of duty might be due to laziness or disinterest.  Indulgence in moral evil is another matter.


Yet why should we be surprised at these latter assertions.  There is plenty of evidence that Jorge Bergoglio, both before and since his elevation to the papacy, has cooperated in moral evil by permitting, nay inciting, the divorced and remarried to obtain access to the Blessed Eucharist in breach of the Church’s clear teaching.  Archbishop Viganò has called on the Pope to resign.  He has refused to do so, a refusal entirely consistent with his character.


Along with his criticism of the Pope, Archbishop Viganò has condemned various cardinals and bishops and called on them, too, to resign.  He seeks the faithful to break the conspiracy of silence that has hidden the flourishing of the evil among the Church’s hierarchy.  Towards the end of his Testimony he cites Dr Janet Smith, Professor of Moral Theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit:

The problem of clergy abuse cannot be resolved simply by the resignation of some bishops, and even less so by bureaucratic directives.  The deeper problem lies in homosexual networks within the clergy which must be eradicated.

This goes some way to addressing the problem but, with due respect, it does not go nearly far enough.  American commentator George Weigel has highlighted the connection between the exponential growth of sexual aberration among the clergy and the influence of the Second Vatican Council.[2]    When that Council attacked the office of the priesthood it worked to destroy the sense of the uniqueness of the priestly office.[3]    Weigel puts his finger on the point here.

“Priests who believe themselves to be what the Catholic Church teaches they are—living icons of the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ—simply do not behave the way sexual predators behave…”[4]


In Greek mythology the fifth labour of Hercules was to cleanse the stables of Augeas, whose three thousand cattle, divinely healthy, had produced thirty years of dung.  Hercules succeeded by diverting the rivers Alpheus and Peneus through them.  The metaphor is an apposite one.  The faithful of Jesus Christ have endured more than fifty years of papal, episcopal and clerical dung which have fouled the skirts of holy mother Church, whose filth and stench have operated to destroy the faith of millions.


The problem is not one of personnel, or of the character of those who have offended, but of ethos, the ethos of Vatican II.  Note, we do not say ‘the spirit of Vatican II’, but ‘the ethos of Vatican II’, the mentality of accommodation by Catholic clergy and religious with the Protestant and the secular fostered by that Council’s bishops and embraced so vigorously by the reformers who followed in its wake.  We repeat—



Until we have bishops prepared, like Archbishop Viganò to stand up and be counted, to put their tenure of office on the line and actively reject the ethos of that damned Council, the Church will continue to languish.  As for Pope Francis, the man is impossible.  But Jesus, as Blessed Charles de Foucauld used say, is master of the impossible.  Let us pray.



Michael Baker

23rd August 2018—St Rose of Lima (in forma extraordinaria)


His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
Apostolic Nuncio

In this tragic moment for the Church in various parts of the world—the United States, Chile, Honduras, Australia, etc.—bishops have a very grave responsibility.  I am thinking in particular of the United States of America, where I was sent as Apostolic Nuncio by Pope Benedict XVI on October 19, 2011, the memorial feast of the First North American Martyrs.  The Bishops of the United States are called, and I with them, to follow the example of these first martyrs who brought the Gospel to the lands of America, to be credible witnesses of the immeasurable love of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Bishops and priests abusing their authority have committed horrendous crimes to the detriment of the faithful, to minors, innocent victims, and to young men eager to offer their lives to the Church, or they have failed by their silence to intervene to prevent the continuation of such crimes.

If we truly want to free the Church from the fetid swamp into which she has fallen and restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ, terribly disfigured by so many abominable crimes, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truths that have been kept hidden.  We must tear down the conspiracy of silence with which bishops and priests have protected themselves at the expense of the faithful, a conspiracy that in the eyes of the world risks making the Church look like a sect.  This conspiracy is not too dissimilar from the one that prevails in the mafia.  “Whatever you have said in the dark... shall be proclaimed from the housetops” (Lk. 12:3).

I had always believed and hoped that the hierarchy of the Church could find within itself the spiritual resources and strength to tell the whole truth, to amend and to renew itself.  That is why, though repeatedly asked to do so, I had always avoided making statements to the media even when it would have been my right to do so to defend myself against the calumnies published about me even by high-ranking prelates of the Roman Curia.  But 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, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, of whose details I came to know in the course of the duties entrusted to me by St. John Paul II, as Delegate for Pontifical Representations from 1998 to 2009, and by Pope Benedict XVI, as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, from October 19, 2011 until end of May 2016.

As Delegate for Pontifical Representations in the Secretariat of State, my responsibilities were not limited to the Apostolic Nunciatures but included the staff of the Roman Curia (the hiring, promotion, informational processes on candidates to the episcopate, etc.) and the examination of delicate cases, including those regarding cardinals and bishops entrusted to the Delegate by the Cardinal Secretary of State or his Substitute.

To dispel suspicions insinuated in several recent articles I will immediately say that neither of the Apostolic Nuncios in the United States, Gabriel Montalvo and Pietro Sambi (both prematurely deceased) failed to inform the Holy See immediately they learned of Archbishop McCarrick’s gravely immoral behaviour with seminarians and priests.  Indeed, according to what Nuncio Pietro Sambi wrote, Father Boniface Ramsey O.P. wrote a letter, dated November 22, 2000, at the request of the late Nuncio Montalvo.  There Fr Ramsey, who had been a professor at the diocesan seminary in Newark from the end of the ’80s until 1996, affirms there was a recurring rumour in the seminary that the Archbishop “shared his bed with seminarians”, inviting five at a time to spend the weekend with him at his beach house.  He added that he knew a certain number of seminarians, some of whom were later ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Newark, who had been invited to this beach house and had shared a bed with the Archbishop.

The office I held at the time was not informed of any measure taken by the Holy See after those charges were brought by Nuncio Montalvo.  This was at the end of the year 2000 when Cardinal Angelo Sodano was Secretary of State.

Likewise, Nuncio Sambi transmitted to the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone [Sodano’s successor], an Indictment Memorandum against McCarrick by the priest Gregory Littleton.  Littleton, of the diocese of Charlotte, had been reduced to the lay state for a violation of minors.  Littleton included two documents in which he recounted his tragic story of sexual abuse by the then-Archbishop of Newark and several other priests and seminarians.  The Nuncio added that Littleton had already forwarded his Memorandum to about twenty people, including civil and ecclesiastical judicial authorities, police and lawyers, in June 2006, and it was therefore very likely the news would soon be made public.  He called, therefore, for prompt intervention by the Holy See.

In writing up a memo on these documents entrusted to me as Delegate for Pontifical Representations I wrote, on December 6, 2006, to my superiors, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Substitute Leonardo Sandri, that the facts attributed to McCarrick by Littleton were of such gravity and vileness as to provoke bewilderment, a sense of disgust, deep sorrow and bitterness in the reader.  They involved the crimes of seducing; of requesting depraved acts of seminarians and priests, repeatedly and simultaneously with several people; of derision of a young seminarian who tried to resist the Archbishop’s seductions in the presence of two other priests; of absolution of the accomplices in these depraved acts; [and] of sacrilegious celebration of the Eucharist with the same priests after their commission.

In the memo which I delivered on that same December 6, 2006 to my direct superior, Substitute Leonardo Sandri, I proposed the following considerations and course of action to my superiors:  Given that it seemed a new scandal of particular gravity (as it involved a cardinal) was to be added to the many scandals for the Church in the United States, and that in accordance with can. 1405 § 1, No. 2˚, “ipsius Romani Pontificis dumtaxat ius est iudicandi” [in the case of a Cardinal the Roman Pontiff alone has the right to judge], I proposed an exemplary measure be taken against the Cardinal having the medicinal function of preventing future abuses against innocent victims and alleviating the very serious scandal for the faithful who, despite everything, continued to love and believe in the Church.

I added that it would be salutary if, for once, ecclesiastical authority would intervene before the civil authorities and, if possible, before the scandal had broken out in the press.  This could have restored some dignity to a Church so sorely tried and humiliated by so many abominable acts on the part of certain pastors.  If this were done, the civil authority would not have to judge a cardinal but a pastor in respect of whom the Church had already taken appropriate measures to prevent the abuse of authority and continuance of destructive conduct.

My memo of December 6, 2006 was never returned to me by my superiors, nor was I advised of any action taken by them on this matter.

Subsequently, around April 21-23, 2008, the Statement for Pope Benedict XVI about the pattern of sexual abuse crisis in the United States, by Richard Sipe was published on the internet at  On April 24 it was passed on by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, to the Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.  It was delivered to me one month later, on May 24, 2008.

The following day I delivered a new memo to the new Substitute, Fernando Filoni, which included my previous one of December 6, 2006.  In it, I summarized Richard Sipe’s document, which ended with this respectful and heartfelt appeal to Pope Benedict XVI:

“I approach Your Holiness with due reverence, but with the same intensity that motivated Peter Damian to lay out before your predecessor, Pope Leo IX, a description of the condition of the clergy during his time.  The problems he spoke of are similar and as great now in the United States as they were then in Rome.  If Your Holiness requests, I will personally submit to you documentation about that of which I have spoken.”

I ended my 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 and that he should be subjected to the sanctions laid down by the Code of Canon Law including reduction to the lay state.

This second memo was not returned to the Personnel Office either.  I was greatly dismayed at my superiors over the absence of any measure against the Cardinal, which  failure seemed inconceivable, and for the continuing lack of any communication with me since my first memo in December 2006.

Finally I learned with certainty, through Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, then-Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, that Richard Sipe’s courageous and meritorious Statement had had the desired result.  Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those which have now [belatedly] been imposed on him by Pope Francis.  The Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures or to travel, and was to dedicate himself thenceforth to a life of prayer and penance.

I do not know when Pope Benedict took these measures against McCarrick, whether in 2009 or 2010, because in the meantime I had been transferred to the Governorate of Vatican City State.  Nor do I know who was responsible for this incredible delay.  I certainly do not believe it was Pope Benedict who, as Cardinal, had repeatedly denounced the corruption present in the Church and who, in the first months of his pontificate, had already taken a firm stand against the admission into seminary of young men with deep homosexual tendencies.  I believe [the delay] was due to the Pope’s first collaborator at the time, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who notoriously favoured promoting homosexuals into positions of responsibility, and was accustomed to managing the information he thought appropriate to convey to the Pope.

In any case, what is certain 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.  Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, then first Counsellor of the Nunciature in Washington and Chargé d'Affaires a.i. after the unexpected death of Nuncio Sambi in Baltimore, told me when I arrived in Washington—and he is ready to testify to the facts—of a stormy conversation, lasting over an hour that Nuncio Sambi had with Cardinal McCarrick whom he had summoned to the Nunciature.  Monsignor Lantheaume told me “the Nuncio’s voice could be heard all the way out in the corridor”.

The same dispositions of Pope Benedict were then also communicated to me by the new Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, in November 2011, in a conversation before my departure for Washington and were included among the instructions of the same Congregation to the new Nuncio.

I repeated them, in turn, to Cardinal McCarrick at my first meeting with him at the Nunciature.  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.

The faithful [must] insistently wonder how it was possible for [the man] to be appointed as Cardinal to Washington and they have every right to know who knew, and who covered up, his grave misdeeds.  It is therefore my duty to reveal what I know about this, beginning with the Roman Curia.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano was Secretary of State until September 2006: all information was communicated to him.  In November 2000, Nunzio Montalvo sent him his report, passing on to him the aforementioned letter from Father Boniface Ramsey in which he denounced the serious abuses committed by McCarrick. 

It is known that Sodano tried to cover up the Father Maciel scandal to the end.  He even removed Justo Mullor, Nuncio in Mexico City, who refused to be an accomplice in his scheme to cover Maciel, and appointed in his place Sandri, then-Nuncio to Venezuela, who was willing to collaborate in the cover-up.  Sodano even went so far as to issue a statement to the Vatican press office affirming a falsehood, namely, that Pope Benedict had decided that the Maciel case should be considered closed.  Benedict reacted, despite Sodano’s strenuous defence, and Maciel was found guilty and irrevocably condemned.

Was McCarrick’s appointment to Washington, and [to the office of] Cardinal, something that Sodano effected when John Paul II was already very ill?  We do not know.  I is legitimate to think so.  But I do not think he was the only one responsible.  McCarrick frequently went to Rome and he made friends everywhere, at all levels of the Curia.  If Sodano had protected Maciel, as seems certain, there is no reason why he wouldn’t have done so for McCarrick who, according to many, had the financial means to influence decisions.  His nomination to Washington was opposed by then-Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.  At the Nunciature in Washington there is a note, written in his hand, in which Cardinal Re disassociates himself from the appointment and states that McCarrick was 14th on the list for Washington.

Nuncio Sambi’s report with all the attachments was sent to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone [the new] Secretary of State.  My two memos of December 6, 2006 and May 25, 2008, were also presumably handed to him by the Substitute.  As already mentioned, the Cardinal had no difficulty in insistently presenting for the episcopate candidates known to be active homosexuals (I cite only the well-known case of Vincenzo de Mauro, who was appointed Archbishop-Bishop of Vigevano and later removed because he was undermining his seminarians).  He also filtered and manipulated the information he conveyed to Pope Benedict.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the current Secretary of State, was also complicit in covering up the misdeeds of McCarrick who had, after the election of Pope Francis, boasted openly of his travels and missions to various continents.  In April 2014, the Washington Times had a front page report on McCarrick’s trip to the Central African Republic, on behalf of the State Department no less.  As Nuncio to Washington, I wrote to Cardinal Parolin asking him if the sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict were still valid.  Ça va sans dire that my letter never received a reply!

The same can be said for Cardinal William Levada, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Cardinals Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Lorenzo Baldisseri, former Secretary of the same Congregation for Bishops, and Archbishop Ilson de Jesus Montanari, current Secretary of the same Congregation.  All were aware, by reason of their office, of the sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict on McCarrick.

Cardinals Leonardo Sandri, Fernando Filoni and Angelo Becciu, as Substitutes of the Secretariat of State, knew in every detail the situation regarding Cardinal McCarrick.

Nor could Cardinals Giovanni Lajolo and Dominique Mamberti have failed to have known.  As Secretaries for Relations with States, they participated several times a week in collegial meetings with the Secretary of State.

As far as the Roman Curia is concerned, for the moment I will stop there, even if the names of other prelates in the Vatican are well known, including some close to Pope Francis such as Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who belong to the set that seeks to subvert Catholic doctrine on homosexuality, as set forth in 1986 by [then] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.

Cardinals Edwin Frederick O’Brien and Renato Raffaele Martino also belong to this set, albeit with a different ideology.  Others belonging to the set may be found in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Let me turn to the United States.  Obviously, the first to have been informed of the measures taken by Pope Benedict was McCarrick’s successor in the Washington See, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, whose situation is compromised by the recent revelations regarding his behaviour as Bishop of Pittsburgh.

It is absolutely unthinkable that Nunzio Sambi, who was an extremely responsible person, loyal, direct and explicit in his way of being (a true son of Romagna) did not speak to him about it.  In any case, I myself brought up the subject with Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions, and there was no need for me to go into detail because it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it.

I also remember—I had to draw his attention to—an archdiocesan publication, on the back cover [of which] in colour… was an announcement inviting young men who thought they had a vocation to the priesthood to a meeting with Cardinal McCarrick.  I immediately phoned Cardinal Wuerl who expressed his surprise to me, telling me that he knew nothing about [the] announcement and that he would cancel it.  If, as he now continues to state, he knew nothing of the abuses committed by McCarrick and the measures taken by Pope Benedict, how can his [reaction to my call] be explained?

His recent statements that he knew nothing about [the business]… are absolutely laughable.  The Cardinal lies shamelessly and prevails upon his Chancellor, Monsignor Antonicelli, to lie as well.

Cardinal Wuerl also clearly lied on another occasion.  There was a morally unacceptable event authorized by the academic authorities of Georgetown University which [after the event] I brought to the attention of its President, Dr. John DeGioia, and sent him two subsequent letters.  Before forwarding them to the addressee, so as to handle things properly, I personally gave a copy… to the Cardinal accompanied by a covering letter.  The Cardinal told me he knew nothing about the event.  However, contrary to his usual custom, he failed to acknowledge receipt of my two letters.  I subsequently learned that the event at Georgetown had been taking place for seven years.  How could the Cardinal have known nothing about it?

Cardinal Wuerl, well aware of the continuous abuses committed by Cardinal McCarrick and the sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict, transgressed the Pope’s order by allowing him to reside at a seminary in Washington D.C.  In doing so, he put other seminarians at risk.

Bishop Paul Bootkoski, emeritus of Metuchen, and Archbishop John Myers, emeritus of Newark, covered up the abuses committed by McCarrick in their respective dioceses and compensated two of his victims.  They cannot deny it and they must be interrogated in order to reveal every circumstance and all responsibility regarding this matter.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell who was recently interviewed by the media also denied that he had any idea about the abuses committed by McCarrick.  Given his tenure in Washington, in Dallas, and now in Rome I think no one could honestly believe him.  I don’t know if he was ever asked if he knew about Maciel’s crimes.  Would anyone believe him, if he were to deny this, given he occupied positions of responsibility as a member of the Legionaries of Christ?

Regarding Cardinal Sean O’Malley, I would simply say that his latest statements on the McCarrick case are disconcerting, and have totally obscured his transparency and credibility.

*                               *                             *

My conscience requires me also to reveal facts that I have experienced personally concerning Pope Francis, facts that have dramatic significance.  As a bishop, sharing a collegial responsibility of all bishops for the universal Church, I cannot remain silent.  I state that I am ready to reaffirm them under oath by calling God as my witness.

In the last months of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI convened a meeting of all the apostolic nuncios in Rome, as Paul VI and St. John Paul II had done on several occasions.  The date set for the audience with the Pope was Friday, June 21, 2013.  Pope Francis kept this commitment made by his predecessor.  Of course I also came to Rome from Washington.  It was my first meeting with the new Pope elected only three months prior, after the resignation of Pope Benedict.

On the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2013, I went to the Domus Sanctae Marthae to join my colleagues who were staying there.  As soon as I entered the hall I met Cardinal McCarrick who was wearing the red-trimmed cassock.  I greeted him respectfully as I had always done.  He immediately said to me, in a tone somewhere between ambiguous and triumphant: “The Pope received me yesterday.  Tomorrow I am going to China.”

At the time I knew nothing of his long friendship with Cardinal Bergoglio and of the important part he had played in his recent election, something McCarrick later revealed in a lecture at Villanova University and in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter.  Nor had I ever thought of the fact that he had participated in the preliminary meetings of the recent conclave, and of his role as a cardinal elector in the 2005 conclave.  I did not, therefore, immediately grasp the meaning of the encrypted message McCarrick had communicated to me.  It became clear in the days immediately following.

The audience with Pope Francis took place the next day.  After his address, which was partly read and partly delivered off the cuff, the Pope moved to greet the nuncios one by one in single file.  I remember that I was among the last.  When it was my turn, I just had time to say to him, “I am the Nuncio to the United States”.  He immediately assailed me with a tone of reproach using these words: “The Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized!  They must be shepherds!”  I was not, of course, in a position to ask for explanations about the meaning of his words or the aggressive way in which he had addressed me.  I had in my hand a book in Portuguese that Cardinal O’Malley had sent me for the Pope a few days earlier, telling me “so he could go over his Portuguese before going to Rio for World Youth Day”.  I handed the book to him immediately which served to tide over an extremely disconcerting and embarrassing situation.

At the end of the audience the Pope announced: “Those of you who are still in Rome next Sunday are invited to concelebrate with me at the Domus Sanctae Marthae”.  I naturally thought of staying on to clarify as soon as possible what the Pope had intended in speaking to me as he had.

On Sunday June 23, before the concelebration with the Pope, I asked Monsignor Ricca, who as the person in charge of the house helped us put on the vestments, if he could ask the Pope if he could receive me sometime in the following week.  How could I have returned to Washington without having clarified what the Pope wanted of me?  At the end of Mass, while the Pope was greeting the few lay people present, Monsignor Fabian Pedacchio, his Argentine secretary, came to me and said: “The Pope told me to ask if you are free now!”  Naturally, I replied that I was at the Pope’s disposal and that I thanked him for receiving me immediately.  The Pope took me to the first floor in his apartment and said: “We have forty minutes before the Angelus.”

I began the conversation, asking the Pope what he intended to say to me with the words he had addressed to me when I greeted him the previous Friday.  The Pope, in a very different, friendly, almost affectionate tone, said to me: Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia, (the Pope did not give me the name of the Archbishop) they must be shepherds; and they must not be left-wing—and he added, raising both arms—and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual”.  The logic of the correlation between being left-wing and being homosexual, of course, escaped me but I said nothing.

Immediately after the Pope asked me in a deceitful way: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?”  I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naiveté: “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.”   The Pope made not the slightest comment on those very grave words of mine, nor did he show any expression of surprise on his face.  It was as if he had known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject.  What could have been the Pope’s purpose in asking me that question: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?”  He clearly wanted to find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not.

Back in Washington everything became very clear to me, thanks also to a new event that occurred only a few days later.  When the new Bishop, Mark Seitz, took possession of the Diocese of El Paso on July 9, 2013, I sent the first Counsellor, Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, as I had to go to Dallas that day for an international meeting on Bioethics.  Monsignor Lantheaume told me that in El Paso he had met Cardinal McCarrick who, taking him aside, [said to] him almost the same words that the Pope had said to me in Rome: “the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized; they must not be right-wing; they must be shepherds….”   I was astounded!  It was therefore clear that the words of reproach that Pope Francis had addressed to me on June 21, 2013 had been put into his mouth the day before by Cardinal McCarrick.  Also the Pope’s [expression] “not like the Archbishop of Philadelphia” could be traced to McCarrick, because there had been a strong disagreement between [McCarrick and Archbishop Chaput] about the admission to Communion of pro-abortion politicians.  In his communication to the bishops, McCarrick had manipulated a letter of then-Cardinal Ratzinger who had prohibited giving them Communion.  Indeed, I was also aware that certain Cardinals such as Mahony, Levada and Wuerl were closely linked to McCarrick; they had opposed the most recent appointments made by Pope Benedict, for important posts such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver and San Francisco.

Not happy with the trap he had set for me on June 23, 2013 when he asked me about McCarrick, a few months later in an audience on October 10, 2013 Pope Francis set a second one… this time concerning another of his protégés, Cardinal Donald Wuerl.  He asked me: “What is Cardinal Wuerl like; is he good or bad?”  I replied, “Holy Father, I will not tell you if he is good or bad, but I will tell you two facts”.  I mentioned the ones I have already mentioned above which concerned Wuerl’s pastoral carelessness regarding the aberrant deviations at Georgetown University and the invitation by the Archdiocese of Washington to young aspirants to the priesthood to a meeting with McCarrick!  Again the Pope showed no reaction.

It was also 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.  In a team effort with Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga he had become the kingmaker for appointments in the Curia and the United States and the advisor in the Vatican to whom most attention was paid in relations with the Obama administration.  This seems to be the explanation of how, via the Congregation of Bishops, the Pope came to replace Cardinal Burke with Wuerl, and to appoint Cupich immediately he was made a cardinal.  These appointments effectively removed the Nunciature in Washington from influence in the appointment of bishops.  In similar fashion he appointed the Brazilian Ilson de Jesus Montanari—the great friend of his private Argentine secretary Fabian Pedacchio—as Secretary of the same Congregation for Bishops and Secretary of the College of Cardinals, promoting him in one single leap from a simple official of that department to Archbishop Secretary, something unprecedented for such an important position!

The appointments of Blaise Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl united in a wicked pact involving abuses by the first, and at least a ‘cover-up’ of abuses by the other two.  Their names [Cupich and Tobin] were not among those presented by the Nunciature for Chicago and Newark.

Regarding Cupich, one cannot fail to note his ostentatious arrogance, and the insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that eighty percent of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims.

During the speech he gave when he took possession of the Chicago See, at which I was present as a representative of the Pope, Cupich quipped that one certainly should not expect the new Archbishop to walk on water.  It would be enough if he was able to remain with his feet on the ground and not try to turn reality upside-down, blinded as he is by a pro-homosexual ideology evidenced in a recent interview with America Magazine.  He extolled his particular expertise in the matter, having been President of the Committee on Protection of Children and Young People of the USCCB.  He asserted that the main problem in the crisis of sexual abuse by clergy is not homosexuality, and that affirming this is only a way of diverting attention from the real problem which is clericalism.

In support of this thesis Cupich oddly made reference to the results of research carried out at the height of the sexual abuse of minors crisis in the early 2000s, while ignoring the fact that the results of that investigation were totally denied by the subsequent Independent Reports by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2004 and 2011.  [These reports] concluded that in cases of sexual abuse eighty one per cent of the victims were male.  In fact, Father Hans Zollner, S.J., Vice-Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, President of the Centre for Child Protection and Member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, recently told the newspaper La Stampa in most cases it is a question of homosexual abuse”.

The appointment of McElroy in San Diego was also orchestrated from above, with an encrypted peremptory order to me as Nuncio, by Cardinal Parolin: “Reserve the See of San Diego for McElroy”.  As can be concluded from a letter sent to him by Richard Sipe on July 28, 2016, McElroy was also well aware of McCarrick’s abuses.

These characters are closely associated with individuals belonging in particular to the deviant wing of the Society of Jesus which, unfortunately, now forms the greater part of that Society (an issue which was a cause of serious concern to Paul VI and to subsequent pontiffs).  We need only consider Father Robert Drinan, S.J. elected four times to the House of Representatives and a staunch supporter of abortion, or Father Vincent O’Keefe, S.J., one of the principal promoters of The Land O’Lakes Statement of 1967 which seriously compromised the Catholic identity of universities and colleges in the United States.  It should be noted that McCarrick, then President of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, also participated in that inauspicious undertaking… so harmful to the formation of the consciences of American youth associated, as it was, so closely with the deviant wing of the Jesuits.

Father James Martin, S.J., acclaimed by the people mentioned above, in particular Cupich, Tobin, Farrell and McElroy, [is another].  A well-known activist who promotes the LGBT agenda, he has been chosen to corrupt the young people who will soon gather in Dublin for the World Meeting of Families.  Appointed Consultor of the Secretariat for Communications, he is but a recent example of that deviant wing of the Society of Jesus.

Pope Francis has repeatedly asked for total transparency in the Church and for bishops and faithful to act with parrhesia.  The faithful throughout the world are entitled to ask this of him too, and in an exemplary manner.  He must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick in which he abused his authority with seminarians and priests.

In any case, the Pope learned about it from me on June 23, 2013 and yet has continued to cover for him.  He ignored the sanctions Pope Benedict had imposed on McCarrick and made him, along with Maradiaga, his trusted counsellor.

The latter is so confident of the Pope’s protection that he dismisses as “gossip” the heartfelt appeals of dozens of his seminarians who found the courage to write to him after one of them tried to commit suicide over homosexual abuse in the seminary.

By now the faithful understand Maradiaga’s strategy: insult the victims…, lie to the bitter end to cover up a chasm of abuses of power, of mismanagement in the administration of Church property, and of financial disasters even against close friends, such as the Ambassador of Honduras Alejandro Valladares, former Dean of the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See.

In the case of the former Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda, after the article which was published in the [Italian] weekly L’Espresso last February, Maradiaga stated in the newspaper Avvenire: “It was my auxiliary bishop Pineda who asked for the visitation, so as to ‘clear’ his name after being subjected to much slander.”  The only thing made public is that [Pineda’s] resignation has been accepted.  Thus, the possibility of there being any responsibility on his part or on the part of Maradiaga over the issues has vanished.

In the name of the transparency so hailed by the Pope, the report that the Visitator, Argentine bishop Alcides Casaretto, delivered more than a year ago directly, and only, to the Pope, must be made public.

Finally, the recent appointment as Substitute of Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra is also connected with Honduras, that is, with Maradiaga.  From 2003 to 2007 Peña Parra worked as Counsellor at the Tegucigalpa Nunciature.  As Delegate for Pontifical Representations I received worrisome information about him.

In Honduras, a scandal as huge as the one in Chile is about to be repeated.  The Pope defends his man, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, to the bitter end, as he had done in Chile with Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros, whom he himself appointed Bishop of Osorno against the advice of the Chilean Bishops.  First he insulted the abuse victims.  Then, and only when he was forced by the media and a revolt by the Chilean victims and faithful, did he recognize his error and apologize—giving the excuse that he had been misinformed—which has caused a disastrous situation for the Church in Chile.  Yet he continues to protect the two Chilean Cardinals Errazuriz and Ezzati.

Even in the tragic affair of McCarrick Pope Francis’s behaviour was no different.  He knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator.  Although he knew he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end; indeed, he made McCarrick’s advice his own, certainly not an effect of sound intention and love of the Church.  Only when he was forced by the report of the abuse of a minor, again as a result of media attention, did he take action [regarding McCarrick] to save his image in the media.

Now in the United States a chorus of voices is rising especially from the lay faithful.  This chorus has recently been joined by several bishops and priests, asking that all those who, by their silence, covered up McCarrick’s criminal behaviour, or who used him to advance their career or promote their intentions, ambitions and power in the Church, should resign.

But their resignations will not be enough to heal the situation of extremely grave immoral behaviour by bishops and priests.  A time of conversion and penance must be proclaimed.  The virtue of chastity must be recovered in the clergy and in seminaries.  Corruption in the misuse of the Church’s resources and of the offerings of the faithful must be fought against.  The seriousness of homosexual behaviour must be denounced.  The homosexual networks present [among the Church’s clergy, bishops and priests] must be eradicated.

As Janet Smith, Professor of Moral Theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, wrote recently:  “The problem of clergy abuse cannot be resolved simply by the resignation of some bishops, and even less so by bureaucratic directives.  The deeper problem lies in homosexual networks within the clergy which must be eradicated.

These homosexual networks, widespread in many dioceses, seminaries and religious orders, operate under concealment, through secrecy and lies whose influence, like the tentacles of an octopus, strangle the innocent and stifle priestly vocations.  They are strangling the entire Church.

I implore everyone, especially Bishops, to speak up in order to defeat this conspiracy of silence which is so widespread, and to report the cases of abuse of which they know to the media and to civil authorities.

Let us heed the most powerful message that St. John Paul II left us as an inheritance: “Do not be afraid!  Do not be afraid!”

In his 2008 homily on the Feast of the Epiphany, Pope Benedict reminded us that the Father’s plan of salvation had been fully revealed and realized in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, but it needs to be welcomed in human history, which is always a history of fidelity on God’s part but, unfortunately, of infidelity on the part of us men.  The Church, the depositary of the blessing of the New Covenant, signed in the blood of the Lamb, is holy but made up of sinners.  As Saint Ambrose wrote, the Church is “immaculata ex maculatis”.   She is holy and spotless though, in her earthly journey, made up of men stained with sin.

I want to recall this indefectible truth of the Church’s holiness to the many people who have been so deeply scandalized by the abominable and sacrilegious behaviour of the former Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick and by the grave, disconcerting, and sinful conduct of Pope Francis, and by the conspiracy of silence of so many pastors.  I want to recall it to the many who are tempted to abandon the Church, disfigured by so many ignominies.

At the Angelus on Sunday, August 12, 2018, Pope Francis said these words: “Everyone is guilty for the good he could have done and did not do...  If we do not oppose evil, we tacitly feed it.  We need to intervene where evil is spreading; for evil spreads where daring Christians who oppose evil with good are lacking.”

If this is rightly to be considered a serious moral responsibility for every believer, how much graver is it for the Church’s supreme pastor who in the case of McCarrick not only did not oppose evil but associated himself in doing evil with someone he knew to be deeply corrupt.  He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert multiplying exponentially, in virtue of with his supreme authority, the evil done by McCarrick.  How many other evil pastors is Francis continuing to support in their active destruction of the Church!

Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren.  Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock.

In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church Pope Francis must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, set a good example for the cardinals and bishops who have covered up McCarrick’s abuses by being the first among them to resign.

Though in the midst of dismay and sadness over the enormity of what is happening, let us not lose hope!  We well know that the great majority of our pastors live their priestly vocations with fidelity and dedication.

It is in moments of great trial that the Lord’s grace is revealed in abundance, that He makes His limitless mercy available to all; but it is granted only to those who are truly repentant and sincerely propose to amend their lives.  This is a favourable time for [those in the] Church to confess [their] sins, to be converted, and to do penance.

Let us all pray for the Church and for the Pope, let us remember how many times he has asked us to pray for him!

Let us all renew faith in the Church our Mother: “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church!”

Christ will never abandon His Church!  He generated her in His Blood and continually revives her with His Spirit!

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Mary, Virgin and Queen, Mother of the King of glory, pray for us!

Rome, August 22, 2018
Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Official translation by Diane Montagna [edited for the sake of clarity by MJB]

[2]  The Courage to be Catholic, New York, 2002.


[4]  Ibid. p. 28