Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington had been told by Vatican officials to withdraw from public life because of rumours about his sexual misconduct, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
However, because they were only rumours and not proof, then-Pope Benedict XVI never imposed formal sanctions on the retired Washington prelate, which means Pope Francis never lifted them, Cardinal Ouellet wrote on 7th October in an open letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican nuncio to the United States.
The archbishop had issued an open letter to Cardinal Ouellet in late September urging him to tell what he knew about now-Archbishop McCarrick. Archbishop Vigano’s letter followed a massive statement in mid-August calling on Pope Francis to resign because, he claimed, Pope Francis had known there were sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick and not only did he lift them, he allegedly made Cardinal McCarrick a trusted confidante and adviser on bishops’ appointments in the United States.
Addressing Archbishop Vigano as ‘dear brother’, Cardinal Ouellet said, ‘I understand how bitterness and disappointments have marked your path in the service of the Holy See, but you cannot conclude your priestly life this way, in an open and scandalous rebellion.’
Archbishop Vigano’s letters, he said, ‘inflict a very painful wound’ on the Church, ‘which you claim to serve better, aggravating divisions and the bewilderment of the people of God!’
‘Come out of hiding,’ Cardinal Ouellet told Archbishop Vigano, who left Rome as soon as his mid-August missive was published, claiming that it was for his own safety.
Picture: Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. (CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence).