DAMNING

Former Vatican Official Accuses Pope Francis of Ignoring Abuse

A former top-ranking Vatican official has released a detailed statement accusing Pope Francis and other leaders in the Catholic Church of turning a blind eye to abuse allegations against the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., for years before he was suspended. The statement, by Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., was issued just hours after the pontiff met with survivors of sexual abuse on Saturday in Ireland in a bid to win back their confidence in the Church. Vigano claims he personally informed Pope Francis of abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013, five years before McCarrick was suspended from the Church amid allegations he’d abused seminarians. “He must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests. In any case, the Pope learned about it from me on June 23, 2013 and continued to cover him,” Vigano wrote. McCarrick was suspended in June and resigned a short time later. While “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 an example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign with all of them,” Vigano wrote. The Vatican has yet to respond to the allegations.