The Vatican’s prefect for the Congregation for Bishops has confirmed that, in response to Theodore McCarrick’s serial sexual predation of young men and boys, Pope Benedict XVI imposed punitive measures against the former Washington, D.C. cardinal — and that Pope Francis lifted them.
In an open letter published Sunday, Cdl. Marc Ouellet slammed Vatican whistleblower Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò’s claims of sex abuse cover-up as a “blasphemous” attack on Francis. To “accuse Pope Francis of having covered with full knowledge of the facts this alleged predator and therefore of being an accomplice of the corruption that is spreading in the Church … is incredible,” he said.
Some observers are suggesting Francis is responding to Abp. Viganò’s allegations vicariously through Ouellet, noting that, as the cardinal himself indicated, his letter was published with “due pontifical permission.”
Though asserting the measures were improperly termed “sanctions,” as Viganò described them, Cdl. Ouellet corroborated the former papal nuncio’s assertion that McCarrick was under penalty — banned from traveling and making public appearances — by order of Pope Benedict. He also conceded Pope Francis “invalidated them.”
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