Fatima Perspectives #1228
By now the whole world is aware of the “atomic bomb” dropped on the Vatican in the form of the written testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the United States (2011 to 2016). Marking a true turning point in Church history, Viganò — who has since been joined by voices around the Catholic world — calls upon the Pope himself to resign because of his role in perpetuating the cover-up of ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s decades of sexual predation of boys and young men, the evidence of which Francis ignored for five years until worldwide condemnation in the press forced him to act, including McCarrick’s removal from the College of Cardinals.
To quote Viganò’s testimony, given in the aftermath of Francis’ belated and inadequate punishment of the ex-Cardinal in July:
“At the Angelus on Sunday, August 12, 2018 Pope Francis said these words: ‘Everyone is guilty for the good he could have done and did not do … If we do not oppose evil, we tacitly feed it. We need to intervene where evil is spreading; for evil spreads where daring Christians who oppose evil with good are lacking.’ [emphasis in original]
“If this is rightly to be considered a serious moral responsibility for every believer, how much graver is it for the Church’s supreme pastor, who in the case of McCarrick not only did not oppose evil but associated himself in doing evil with someone he knew to be deeply corrupt. He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert, thus multiplying exponentially with his supreme authority the evil done by McCarrick. And how many other evil pastors is Francis still continuing to prop up in their active destruction of the Church! [my emphasis]
“Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren. Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock.
“In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.” [emphasis in original]
While I will have much more to say about this providential development in future columns and on the pages of Catholic Family News, from this Fatima perspective I cannot fail to note immediately the remarkable parallel between the role of the successive Vatican Secretaries of State, Angelo Sodano and Tarcisio Bertone, in the McCarrick cover-up and their role in the cover-up of the integral Third Secret of Fatima, as I detail in my book The Secret Still Hidden. As to Bertone and Sodano, Viganò testifies as follows:
“Nuncio Sambi’s report [on McCarrick’s sexual abuse], with all the attachments, was sent to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, as Secretary of State. My two above-mentioned memos of December 6, 2006 and May 25, 2008, were also presumably handed over to him by the Substitute. As already mentioned, the Cardinal had no difficulty in insistently presenting for the episcopate candidates known to be active homosexuals — I cite only the well-known case of Vincenzo de Mauro, who was appointed Archbishop-Bishop of Vigevano and later removed because he was undermining his seminarians — and in filtering and manipulating the information he conveyed to Pope Benedict….
“Cardinal Angelo Sodano was Secretary of State until September 2006: all information [concerning McCarrick] was communicated to him. In November 2000, Nunzio Montalvo sent him his report, passing on to him the aforementioned letter from Father Boniface Ramsey in which he denounced the serious abuses committed by McCarrick.
“It is known that Sodano tried to cover up the Father Maciel scandal to the end. He even removed the Nuncio in Mexico City, Justo Mullor, who refused to be an accomplice in his scheme to cover Maciel, and in his place appointed Sandri, then-Nuncio to Venezuela, who was willing to collaborate in the cover-up. Sodano even went so far as to issue a statement to the Vatican press office in which a falsehood was affirmed, that is, that Pope Benedict had decided that the Maciel case should be considered closed. Benedict reacted, despite Sodano’s strenuous defense, and Maciel was found guilty and irrevocably condemned.”
It is no coincidence that Sodano and Bertone were, as my book shows, instrumental in suppressing the entirety of the Third Secret while promoting a Vatican narrative reducing the Message of Fatima to a generic prescription for personal piety, stripped of its prophetic and admonitory content regarding the epochal malfeasance and corruption of the upper hierarchy which they themselves exemplify.
But there is another remarkable coincidence highlighted by Archbishop Viganò’s historic testimony. One of the heroes in his account is Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Viganò’s predecessor as Nuncio in Washington, whom Viganò credits with diligently reporting McCarrick’s crimes to the Vatican and conveying Benedict’s sanctions of McCarrick (essentially ordering him to a life of prayer and penance out of public view) to the now ex-Cardinal — sanctions Francis ignored until the worldwide media storm made it impossible to sustain his corrupt support for this criminal.
It was none other than Archbishop Sambi who expressed approval of my exposé of the role of Cardinal Bertone in particular in the Third Secret cover-up. To quote Robert Moynihan’s interview of Sambi, published posthumously six years ago in Inside the Vatican:
“We were discussing the Third Secret of Fatima, the allegations that the Vatican has not published the entire text of the Third Secret as revealed to Sister Lucia, and the response of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, in a book where Bertone states that there is nothing more to be revealed. Sambi said, ‘Excuse me.’ He got up, went out of the room, and came back with a book. ‘Here,’ he said. ‘Do you know this book? You should read it.’ It was Christopher Ferrara’s The Secret Still Hidden.
“‘Wait,’ I said. ‘You are the Pope’s representative in the US, and you are urging me to read a book that questions what the secretary of state wrote?’ Sambi replied, ‘All I am saying is that there are interesting things worth reading in this book. And in the end, we are all after the truth, aren’t we? The truth is the important thing…’”
The truth is indeed the important thing. And Archbishop Viganò’s precious testimony is a sign that Heaven itself is now responding to the need for the truth at last in a Church whose human element is now so widely corrupted, as the integral Third Secret doubtless predicts. To quote the Archbishop once again:
“To restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ, which is terribly disfigured by so many abominable crimes, and if we truly want to free the Church from the fetid swamp into which she has fallen, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truths we have kept hidden. We must tear down the conspiracy of silence with which bishops and priests have protected themselves at the expense of their faithful, a conspiracy of silence that in the eyes of the world risks making the Church look like a sect, a conspiracy of silence not so dissimilar from the one that prevails in the mafia. ‘Whatever you have said in the dark … shall be proclaimed from the housetops’ (Lk. 12:3).”
May God bless and protect Archbishop Viganò. And may many more prelates who know the truth, inspired by his example, respond as he has done to the promptings of conscience and the certainty of God’s judgment.