Satan has been unleashed against the bishops of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said Tuesday in a veiled reference to the former Vatican nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, as Breitbart reported.
Pope Francis, calling Satan “the great accuser” in his remarks, appeared to take aim at the man who has blown the whistle on the pope’s knowledge of sex abuse within the church.
Formerly the Vatican ambassador to the United States (2011-2016), the archbishop published an open letter on a pair of Catholic websites — National Catholic Register and LifeSiteNews — claiming the pope knew of allegations made against the former archbishop of Washington (2001-2006), Theodore McCarrick.
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The ex-cardinal was reportedly sexually active with seminarians; Pope Benedict XVI had punished him.
In his 11-page testimony published on August 25, Viganò alleged that he had personally informed Pope Francis back in 2013 of the serial homosexual abuse Cardinal McCarrick had perpetrated.
He had also informed him of sanctions Pope Benedict XVI had imposed on McCarrick’s ministry — but the current pope lifted those sanctions and involved McCarrick in the naming of future bishops.
The pope seemed to strike back in his remarks on Tuesday.
“The Great Accuser, as he himself tells God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, roams around the earth looking for someone to accuse,” Francis said in his morning homily at Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.
In these times, “It seems that the Great Accuser has been unleashed and has it in for the bishops,” the pope said.
“It is true, we are all sinners, we bishops,” he said — but Satan “seeks to unveil sins so that they may be seen, to scandalize the people.”
Despite the pope’s frequent calls for transparency and accountability for those responsible for committing or covering up sex abuse (see the video below), he seemed to suggest Tuesday that the former nuncio had acted like Satan by becoming a whistleblower regarding his brother bishops.
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When asked about these allegations shortly after their publication, Pope Francis avoided reporters’ questions, telling them to read the accusations and make their own assessment of their credibility, Breitbart reported.
On the papal plane while he was returning from Ireland in August, a journalist asked the pope if it were true that the papal nuncio clearly and directly informed him back in 2013 of sexual abuse Cardinal McCarrick perpetrated and the sanctions Pope Benedict XVI had imposed on him.
Pope Francis refused to confirm or deny those allegations.
“I won’t say a word about this,” he said.
Since then, some bishops have criticized the pope’s “no comment” strategy, insisting the allegations are very serious and that Francis has a duty to clarify the facts to provide the “accountability” for which he himself has called.
See the pope’s remarks on sexual abuse and sin in the video below.