A former Vatican diplomat says ex-papal ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò told "the truth" in his explosive allegation Pope Francis and a number of the Vatican's most powerful cardinals covered up sex abuse allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Catholic News Agency reported.
In an 11-page document posted by the National Catholic Register, Viganò states in either 2009 or 2010, Pope Benedict XVI imposed sanctions on McCarrick "similar to those now imposed upon him by Pope Francis" and McCarrick was forbidden from travelling and speaking in public.
Viganò states the restrictions were communicated to McCarrick in a stormy meeting in Washington, D.C., by the late Vatican diplomat Pietro Sambi, and Monsignor Jean-Francois Lantheaume — who succeeded Sambi after his death — told him about the fractious encounter.
"Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume . . . told me when I arrived in Washington — and he is ready to testify to it — about a stormy conversation, lasting over an hour, that Nuncio Sambi had with Cardinal McCarrick whom he had summoned to the Nunciature. Monsignor Lantheaume told me that 'the Nuncio's voice could be heard all the way out in the corridor,'" Lantheaume wrote.
Lantheaume, who now serves as a priest in France, declined to comment further, CNA reported.
"Viganò said the truth – that's all," he wrote to CNA, the Catholic news outlet reported.
The full text of Viganò’s statement lists numerous senior cardinals, during the past three pontificates, as being aware of McCarrick's alleged predatory behavior but either failing to act, or in some cases deliberately acting to cover-up McCarrick's alleged crimes, CNA reported.
But in the most stunning allegation, Viganò charges Pope Francis acted to lift the restrictions on McCarrick shortly after his election as pope, in 2013.
McCarrick is believed to still be residing within the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., under conditions of "prayer, penance, and seclusion" imposed by Pope Francis, CNA reported.
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