Ex-Vatican official issues call for Pope Francis' resignation

Vigano, who was Vatican ambassador from 2011-2016, said he had been told that Benedict imposed sanctions on McCarrick starting in 2009 or 2010, after a decade's worth of allegations of misconduct had reached the Vatican.

Some Catholic scholars question the motives behind Vigano's inflammatory accusations, but also say the claims are deeply serious as scandal continues to wrack the Catholic Church.

The coverup accusation, which Vigano denied, concerned accusations he tried to quash an investigation into a former archbishop accused of misconduct.

Pope Francis allegedly removed those sanctions and made McCarrick "his trusted counsellor" despite knowing him to be a "serial predator".

In an unprecedented move by a Church insider against the Pope, Mr Vigano accused the current and previous Vatican of covering up the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington DC.

McCarrick, 88, resigned last month in disgrace and was stripped of his title after allegations that he had abused a minor almost 50 years ago and also forced adult male seminarians to share his bed.

Vigano, who was posted to the US from 2011 to 2016, said his two predecessors had told the Holy See about the claims against McCarrick and that Vigano himself sent at least two memos. The accusations have created a crisis of confidence in the US and Vatican hierarchy, because it was apparently an open secret that McCarrick regularly invited seminarians to his New Jersey beach house, and into his bed.

Vigano claimed Francis asked him about McCarrick when he took office in June 2013, but that the pope ignored his warnings. "He must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests". Wuerl has said he did not know of them.

Vigano also mentioned in his letter "two documents from the same Littleton, in which he recounted his tragic story of sexual abuse by (McCarrick)".

His letter also contained a lengthy diatribe about homosexuality and liberals in the Catholic Church.

He also alleged that several USA prelates were aware or should have known about then-Cardinal McCarrick's behavior, including retired Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen; retired Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark; Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, head of the Vatican office for laity and family and former auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., and Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults.

Since then, another man has come forward saying McCarrick began molesting him starting when he was 11, and several former seminarians have said McCarrick abused and harassed them when they were in seminary. "Further, the confidential settlements involving acts by Archbishop McCarrick in the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark were not known previously to Cardinal Wuerl or the Archdiocese".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Saturday urged the pope to take action against abuses and ensure justice for abuse victims worldwide.

But Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Texas found the allegations in Vigano's letter "credible", and called for a "thorough investigation", into the pope, according to LifeSiteNews.com.

The document claimed the pope's exhortation caused "ever increasing confusion among the faithful" and stated that the admission of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics is "a discipline alien to the entire tradition of the Catholic and apostolic faith".

  • Rogelio Becker