Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, appointed prefect of Congregation for Bishops a little over two months before Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was appointed to Washington D.C., has so far been unwilling to speak to the press about Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony.

He joins many other cardinals and Vatican officials unwilling to speak to the media on this issue, despite Pope Francis call on journalists to investigate the allegations made in the testimony.

“The Vatican is shut as hard and as tight as an unshucked oyster,” said the American columnist and author Rod Dreher.

Cardinal Re’s unwillingness to speak is particularly regrettable as he probably knows more than most about the McCarrick case, why and how he came to be archbishop of Washington D.C., and the precise nature of the sanctions or measures imposed on him.

The Italian cardinal was prefect at the time of McCarrick’s nomination, but also, according to Archbishop Viganò’s testimony, was opposed to the appointment.

“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,” Archbishop Viganò wrote.

He also pointed out it was through Cardinal Re, in 2009 or 2010, that he had learned Pope Benedict “had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis.”

Before Pope St. John Paul II appointed him to the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Re had held the key position of Sostituto (Substitute) for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, responsible for much of the day-to-day running of the Roman Curia and where much sensitive information would have crossed his desk.

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