On August 25, 2018, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former Papal Nuncio to the United States, released an 11-page bombshell statement accusing Pope Francis and other Vatican officials of having known of allegations of sex abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for years and called for Pope Francis to resign. In remarkably blunt language, Vigano said alleged cover-ups in the Church were making it look like “a conspiracy of silence not so dissimilar from the one that prevails in the mafia”. Vigano stated that he had personally told Francis about the accusations against McCarrick in June 2013.
The next day, Pope Francis said that he will not comment on claims by a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. that the Pope knew about allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and reinstated him in ministry. The Pope said people should make up their own minds about the claims.
Asked whether it was true that Archbishop Carlo Viganò, the statement’s author, had informed him in 2013 about Archbishop McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct with priests and seminarians, and if it was true Benedict XVI had previously imposed sanctions on the former cardinal, the Pope said he was distracted by the previous question and would have preferred to talk about the trip. “I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment,” he answered. “I will not say a single word on this.”
On September 28, 2018, Archbishop Viganò released a second “testimony” that responded some of the accusations being leveled against him by Pope Francis’ allies and indicated which documents the Holy See needs to release to discover the truth about Theodore McCarrick.
Viganò’s claims appear to have been substantiated by a number of corroborating statements from others, including some of his critics.