Editor’s Note: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s interview with the Washington Post, published June 10, contained an answer that the Post decided to expurgate from the interview. This answer contained important information regarding unaddressed accusations of sex abuse against a high official of the Holy See, as well as the coverup of a former seminarian, now a priest, accused of the sexual abuse of pre-seminarian adolescents who acted as the Pope’s altar boys. The full text of Viganò’s unpublished answers to the Washington Post follows. The text has been slightly modified to include capitalizations normally used in English. The name of one individual has been removed by LifeSite because LifeSite was unable to find sufficient support for the accusation against him at this point.
I.b. Do you see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse? If not, what is missing?
The signs I see are truly ominous. Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusers. Just to cite one example: Cardinal Wuerl, who covered up the abuses of McCarrick and others for decades, and whose repeated and blatant lies have been made manifest to everyone who has been paying attention (for those who have not been paying attention, see washingtonpost.com/opinions/cardinal-wuerl-knew-about-theodore-mccarrick-and-he-lied-about-it), had to resign in disgrace due to popular outrage. Yet, in accepting his resignation, Pope Francis praised him for his “nobility.” What credibility has the pope left after this kind of statement?
1. The first is said to have occurred inside the very walls of the Vatican, at the Pre-Seminary Pius X, which is located just a short walk from the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. That seminary trains minors who serve as altar boys in St. Peter’s Basilica and at papal ceremonies.
One of the seminarians, Kamil Jarzembowski, a roommate of one of the victims, claims to have witnessed dozens of incidents of sexual aggression. Along with two other seminarians, he denounced the aggressor, first in person to his pre-seminary superiors, then in writing to cardinals, and finally in 2014, again in writing, to Pope Francis himself. One of the victims was a boy, allegedly abused for five consecutive years, starting at age 13. The alleged aggressor was a 21-year- old seminarian, Gabriele Martinelli.
That pre-seminary is under the responsibility of the diocese of Como, and is run by the Don Folci Association. A preliminary investigation was entrusted to the judicial vicar of Como, don Andrea Stabellini, who found elements of evidence that warranted further investigation. I received firsthand information indicating that his superiors prohibited his continuing the investigation. He can testify for himself, and I urge you to go and interview him. I pray that he will find the courage to share with you what he so courageously shared with me.
Along with the above, I learned how the authorities of the Holy See dealt with this case. After evidence was collected by Don Stabellini, the case was immediately covered up by the then-bishop of Como, Diego Coletti, together with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis for Vatican City. In addition, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who was consulted by Don Stabellini, strongly admonished him to stop the investigation.
You might wonder how this horrible case was closed. The Bishop of Como removed Don Stabellini from the post of Judicial Vicar; the whistleblower, the seminarian Kamil Jarzembowski, was expelled from the seminary; the two fellow seminarians who had joined him in the denunciation left the seminary; and the alleged abuser, Gabriele Martinelli, was ordained priest in July 2017. All this happened within the Vatican walls, and not a word of it came out during the summit.
The summit was therefore terribly disappointing, for it is hypocrisy to condemn abuses against minors and claim to sympathize with the victims while refusing to face up to the facts honestly. A spiritual revitalization of the clergy is most urgent, but it will ultimately be ineffectual if there is no willingness to address the real problem.
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