The retired Vatican ambassador accusing the pope and his advisers of covering up a former American cardinal’s alleged sexual misconduct is now demanding the Catholic Church speak out about the case – saying Francis’ behavior is “hardly consistent with his calls for transparency.”
The latest criticism from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano – was uploaded to a document-sharing website late Thursday – comes weeks after the Vatican said it was preparing "necessary clarifications" about his accusations.
"How can one avoid concluding that the reason they do not provide the documentation is that they know it confirms my testimony?" Vigano wrote in the document.
"The pope's unwillingness to respond to my charges and his deafness to the appeals by the faithful for accountability are hardly consistent with his calls for transparency and bridge building,” he added.
Vigano threw Francis' papacy into a crisis last month when he accused him of rehabilitating ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI. Vigano went on to accuse more than two dozen current and former Vatican officials, as well as a host of U.S. bishops and papal advisers, of being part of the cover-up and called for Francis to resign over the scandal.
Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July after a U.S. church investigation determined an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible. After news broke of the investigation, several former seminarians and priests came forward to report that they, too, had been abused or harassed by McCarrick as adults.
In his first denunciation, published Aug. 26, Vigano initially claimed Benedict had imposed sanctions against McCarrick prohibiting him from exercising public ministry, travelling or lecturing on behalf of the church. He has changed his account, however, since the historic record contains evidence McCarrick lived his ministry free from any real constraints, and it is unclear what type of sanctions were ever imposed, the Associated Press reported.
The claim at the center of case though is that Vigano says he told Francis of the sanctions against McCarrick on June 23, 2013, but the pope effectively rehabilitated McCarrick and made him a trusted adviser.
Francis has refused to directly respond to Vigano's claims, though the Vatican weeks ago said they would – and have yet to give an answer.
Vigano in the document also accuses Francis putting in place a “subtle slander” against him.
The Associated Press reports that in some of Francis’ recent morning homilies, he has referred to the case indirectly, speaking of the silence of Jesus before the "Great Accuser" — seemingly comparing his own silence to that of Christ and Vigano's accusations to the work of Satan.
"Now, the pope’s reply to my testimony was: “I will not say a word!” Vigano wrote. "But then, contradicting himself, he has compared his silence to that of Jesus in Nazareth and before Pilate, and compared me to the great accuser, Satan, who sows scandal and division in the Church — though without ever uttering my name."
Vigano's new document was dated Friday, Sept. 29, the feast of St. Michael, Archangel. St. Michael is considered the protector of the church, the leader of all angels who battled evil and drove it from the church and Vigano has cast himself as the church's protector who at great personal risk dared to break two decades of "omerta" or silence.
He acknowledged that by doing so he violated the pontifical secret — the rule of confidentiality that governs much of the inner workings of the Catholic Church.
"Certainly, some of the facts that I was to reveal were covered by the pontifical secret that I had promised to observe and that I had faithfully observed from the beginning of my service to the Holy See," Vigano wrote. "But the purpose of any secret, including the pontifical secret, is to protect the church from her enemies, not to cover up and become complicit in crimes committed by some of her members."
Francis refused to take questions about the Vigano accusations during his in-flight news conference returning from the Baltics on Tuesday.
He did acknowledge Tuesday, however, that the sex abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church have outraged the faithful and are driving them away.
Francis told a gathering of young people in Estonia, considered one of the least religious countries in the world, that he knew many young people felt the church had nothing to offer them and simply doesn't understand their problems today.
"They are outraged by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation, by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young, and simply by the passive role we assign them," Francis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.