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The Art of the Pious Deception

Fatima Perspectives #1240

In an open letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Cardinal Marc Ouellet purports to rebut the charges Viganò has levelled against Pope Francis in his historic 11-page testimony on the crimes of McCarrick and the cover-up of the ex-cardinal’s long history of sexual predation of young men and boys.

Ouellet waxes indignant at the same time he heaps fulsome praise on Francis, who has trampled on the teaching of his immediate predecessors and all of Tradition in an outrageous attempt to accommodate divorce and “remarriage” in the sacramental life of the Church and to declare immoral the death penalty, contrary to two millennia of teaching on its moral legitimacy for very grave crimes. 

But a careful reading of Ouellet’s letter shows that he succeeds only in confirming the truth of Viganò’s indictment.  Writes Ouellet: 

“You said that on June 23, 2013, you provided Pope Francis with information about McCarrick in an audience he granted to you, as he also did for many pontifical representatives with whom he met for the first time that day. I can only imagine the amount of verbal and written information that was provided to the Holy Father on that occasion about so many persons and situations. I strongly doubt that the Pope had such interest in McCarrick, as you would like us to believe, given the fact that by then he was an 82-year-old Archbishop emeritus who had been without a role for seven years.”

Translation:  Francis does not deny that Viganò told him about the crimes of McCarrick on precisely the date he claimed.  Nor does Francis deny — facts Ouellet conveniently omits — that during the papal audience on that date Viganò pointed Francis to the “thick dossier” in the Congregation for Bishops on how McCarrick had “corrupted generations of priests and seminarians,” that Francis expressed no surprise but rather “appeared to have known of the matter for some time,” and that he “immediately changed the subject.” 

All admitted.  Ouellet merely notes, with evident guile, that he “strongly doubts” that Francis knew what Viganò attests he knew — meaning, of course, that Ouellet has conveniently avoided making any inquiry of Francis because he does not want to know the answer.  Or he does know the answer and does not wish to reveal it.

Writes Ouellet:

“Moreover, the written instructions given to you by the Congregation for Bishops at the beginning of your mission in 2011 did not say anything about McCarrick, except for what I mentioned to you verbally about his situation as Bishop emeritus and certain conditions and restrictions that he had to follow on account of some rumors about his past conduct.

“The former Cardinal, retired in May of 2006, had been requested not to travel or to make public appearances, in order to avoid new rumors about him. It is false, therefore, to present those measures as ‘sanctions’ formally imposed by Pope Benedict XVI and then invalidated by Pope Francis.

“After a review of the archives, I find that there are no documents signed by either Pope in this regard, and there are no audience notes from my predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Re, imposing on the retired Archbishop the obligation to lead a quiet and private life with the weight normally reserved to canonical penalties. The reason is that back then, unlike today, there was not sufficient proof of his alleged culpability. Thus, the Congregation’s decision was inspired by prudence, and the letters from my predecessor and my own letters urged him, first through the Apostolic Nuncio Pietro Sambi and then through you, to lead a life of prayer and penance, for his own good and for the good of the Church.”

Translation:  Ouellet admits that the restrictions on McCarrick from which he was freed under Francis did in fact exist.  He merely quibbles that Pope Benedict did not personally sign a document imposing the restrictions.  Yet Ouellet admits that the restrictions were imposed by a “decision of the Congregation.”  One can only laugh at Ouellet’s ridiculous claim that the Congregation for Bishops would unilaterally and without papal approval direct a cardinal to observe “certain conditions and restrictions,” including “not to travel or to make public appearances” and “to lead a life of prayer and penance, for his own good and for the good of the Church” because of mere “rumors” and to avoid “new rumors.”

What of Viganò’s allegation that Francis freed McCarrick from the said restrictions and made him a trusted advisor?  Here too Ouellet tries to pass off an admission as a denial:

“How is it possible that this man of the Church [McCarrick], whose incoherence has now [?] been revealed, was promoted many times, and was nominated to such a high position as Archbishop of Washington and Cardinal? I am personally very surprised, and I recognize that there were failures in the selection procedures implemented in his case….

“Dear pontifical representative emeritus, I tell you frankly that to accuse Pope Francis of having covered-up knowingly the case of an alleged sexual predator and, therefore, of being an accomplice to the corruption that afflicts the Church, to the point that he could no longer continue to carry out his reform as the first shepherd of the Church, appears to me from all viewpoints unbelievable and without any foundation….

“He stripped [McCarrick] of his Cardinal’s dignity as soon as there was a credible accusation of abuse of a minor. For a Pope who does not hide the trust that he places in certain prelates, I never heard him refer to this so-called great advisor for the pontificate for episcopal appointments in the United States….” 

Ouellet does not actually deny any element of Viganò’s testimony concerning Francis’ rehabilitation of the monster McCarrick and McCarrick’s subsequent role in the creation of new, pro-homosexual cardinals. Nor does he deny that Francis, having lifted the restriction on travel, sent McCarrick to China in connection with the pending sellout of the Underground Church — a fact McCarrick personally announced to Viganò with an air of triumph, as Viganò attests.   Ouellet merely quibbles that he never heard Francis mention McCarrick by name and — without ever inquiring of Francis about the facts — he huffs that what Viganò alleges is “unbelievable and without any foundation.”   And note the damning implicit admission:  Francis cared nothing about McCarrick’s long career of homosexual activity with young men, acting only when proof that he had raped a minor was presented.

Ouellet is clearly stung by Viganò’s second epistolary testimony, wherein he rightly deplores Ouellet’s surrender to Francis’ drive to admit public adulterers to Holy Communion in keeping with the disastrous Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, a betrayal of the true Magisterium that purports to overturn the teaching of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI in line with the Church’s bimillennial teaching and practice.  Ouellet merely asserts gratuitously that this attempted reversal is in “fidelity to the living tradition, of which Francis has given us an example through the recent modification of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the question of the death penalty.” 

In other words, according to Ouellet, Francis has the authority to declare morally permissible what the Church has always condemned as immoral and sacrilegious without exception — i.e., the reception of Holy Communion by people living in adultery — while declaring morally impermissible what the Church has always defended as morally permissible­ — i.e., the death penalty. To call such absurd “reversals” of Catholic doctrine examples of “living tradition” is to make a mockery of the very concept of Tradition.

Ouellet concludes his elaborate non-denial with the sly suggestion that Viganò is a schismatic merely because he has presented facts Ouellet cannot deny and about which he has conspicuously avoided consulting Francis: “Dear brother, how much I wish that I could help you return to communion with him who is the visible guarantor of communion in the Catholic Church.”  But what Ouellet has really produced, to quote a summary with which the respected Vaticanist Marco Tosatti agrees, is “a factual confirmation written in the form of a total denial. Very cunning text. But evasive and very weak from a careful reading. No serious person is going to buy it.”

But a distinct lack of serious persons in the Church is exactly what Ouellet is banking on in publishing his demagogic epistle, wherein he cloaks himself in a pious defense of the papacy while undermining its very credibility by defending the indefensible actions of this particular Pope. To recall the famous words of Melchior Cano, theologian of the Council of Trent: “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See — they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.”


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