Reflection on the ‘Testimony’ of Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganòRuthlessness and transparency in detecting and in confessing the evils in the life of the Church will help to initiate an efficient process of spiritual and moral purification and renewal.
It is a rare and an extremely grave fact in Church History that a bishop accuses publicly and specifically a reigning Pope. In a recently published document (from Aug. 22, 2018) Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò testifies that since five years, Pope Francis had known two facts: that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick committed sex offenses against seminarians and against his subordinates, and that there are sanctions, which Pope Benedict XVI imposed on him. Furthermore, Archbishop Viganò confirmed his statement by a sacred oath invoking the name of God. There is, therefore, no reasonable and plausible cause to doubt the truth content of the document of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.
Catholics all over the world, the simple faithful, the “little ones,” are deeply shocked and scandalized about recently disclosed grave cases in which Church authorities covered and protected clerics who committed sexual offenses against minors and against their own subordinates. Such an historical situation, which the Church is experiencing in our days, requires absolute transparency on all levels of Church’s hierarchy, and in first place evidently on behalf of the Pope.
It is completely insufficient and unconvincing that Church authorities continue to formulate general appeals for a zero tolerance in the cases of clerical sexual abuses and for a stop of covering such cases. Equally insufficient are the stereotyped pleas for forgiveness on behalf of Church authorities. Such appeals for zero tolerance and pleas for forgiveness will become credible only if the authorities of the Roman Curia will lay the cards on the table, giving the names and surnames of all those in the Roman Curia – independent of their rank and title - who covered the cases of sexual abuse of minors and of subordinates.
From the document of Archbishop Viganò one can draw the following conclusions:
- That the Holy See and the Pope himself will start to cleanse uncompromisingly the Roman Curia and the episcopate from homosexual cliques and networks.
- That the Pope will proclaim unambiguously the Divine doctrine about the grievously sinful character of homosexual acts.
- That there will be issued peremptory and detailed norms, which will prevent the ordination of men with a homosexual tendency.
- That the Pope restores the purity and unambiguity of the entire Catholic doctrine in teaching and preaching.
- That there will be restored in the Church through papal and episcopal teaching and through practical norms the ever valid Christian ascesis: the exercises of fasting, of corporal penitence, of abnegations.
- That there will be restored in the Church the spirit and the praxis of reparation and expiation for sins committed.
- That there will start in the Church a securely guaranteed selection process of candidates to the episcopacy, who are demonstrably true men of God; and that it would be better to leave the dioceses several years without a bishop rather than to appoint a candidate who is not a true man of God in prayer, in doctrine and in moral life.
- That there will start in the Church a movement especially among cardinals, bishops and priests to renounce any compromise and any flirt with the world.
In midst of the spreading of Luther’s heresy and the deep moral crisis of a considerable part of the clergy and especially of the Roman Curia, Pope Adrian VI wrote the following astonishingly frank words, addressed to the Imperial Diet of Nuremberg in 1522: "We know that for some time many abominations, abuses in ecclesiastical affairs, and violations of rights have taken place in the Holy See; and that all things have been perverted into bad. From the head the corruption has passed to the limbs, from the Pope to the prelates: we have all departed; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Ruthlessness and transparency in detecting and in confessing the evils in the life of the Church will help to initiate an efficient process of spiritual and moral purification and renewal. Before condemning others, every clerical officeholder in the Church, regardless of rank and title, should ask himself in the presence of God, if he himself had in some way covered sexual abuses. Should he discover himself guilty, he should confess it publicly, for the Word of God admonishes him: “Be not ashamed to acknowledge your guilt” (Sirach 4:26). For, as Saint Peter, the first Pope, wrote, “the time has come for the judging, starting with the house (the Church) of God” (1 Peter 4:17).
+Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana