Another Vatican Cover-up Unravels: Tosatti Exposes Censored “I Don’t Remember” in Vatican Text of Papal Interview
Fatima Perspectives #1307
In my last column I discussed the problematic responses Pope Francis gave to journalist Valentina Alazraki, who had pressed him on his original refusal to comment on the accusation by Archbishop Viganò, last year, that he had told Francis all about the long history of sexual predation of seminarians by ex-Cardinal McCarrick. I noted that during this interview Francis declared: “And when he [Viganò] says that he spoke to me on the day that he came – and I don’t remember if he spoke to me about this, whether it’s true or not. I have no idea.”
What I did not know at the time was that the Vatican’s publication of the interview in what was supposed be a complete text had censored Francis’ dubious claim of memory lapse while leaving in his declaration: “I knew nothing, naturally, nothing. I have said it many different times, I did not know anything.”
The stealthy omission was uncovered by Marco Tosatti, in an article entitled “Did the Pope lie? The Vatican censors him by ‘cleaning up’ his statement on Vigano.” Tosatti published the crucial passage from the uncensored interview, whose full text was made available to him by Alazraki, alongside the expurgated Vatican version expunging the embarrassing claim of memory lapse. Writes Tosatti (my translation): “The ‘I don’t remember’ is certainly an incredible and embarrassing response. So embarrassing that it was not reported in the FIRST [his emphasis] version of the interview published by Vatican News. That phrase was expunged. Evidently someone, and we can imagine who, who could not have cared less about journalism, realized that that response was hardly tenable and thought it best to hide it.”
Even the liberal journal Crux is constrained to comment on the brazenness of the deception in a story from the Associated Press by Nicole Winfield headlined “Vatican omitted part of pope’s crucial quote about McCarrick.”
Winfield reports that “The initial Italian version omitted Francis’s reference to not remembering if Vigano told him about McCarrick, and only quoted Francis as saying he knew nothing about McCarrick.” But now that the concealed text has been revealed — forcing a Vatican “correction” of its original doctored publication — Francis’ belated defense of “I knew nothing” has been demolished.
Writes Winfield: “…Francis’s claim not to remember if Vigano told him about McCarrick now amounts to his defense against such criticism.” In other words: “I don’t remember,” not “I knew nothing,” is now Francis’ only defense to the claim that he knowingly rehabilitated a clerical monster and sent him on important missions, including the negotiated betrayal of the Underground Church in China.
Winfield was quick to link this Vatican deception to another: “Vigano’s allegations have been used by Francis’s conservative critics to attack him, since they seemingly show Francis disregarded information that McCarrick preyed on seminarians and rehabilitated him from restrictions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008… Last year, the Vatican communications office published a doctored photograph and a partial quote from a letter penned by retired Pope Benedict XVI that misrepresented its complete meaning. The then-prefect of the communications office had to resign as a result.”
In one of her several attempts to press Francis for an answer about what he knew and when he knew it, Alazraki told him that his original refusal to comment on Viganò’s accusation (my translation): “weighed heavily, because for the press and for most people, when one is silent it is like between a husband and wife, no? You peck your wife on the cheek and do not answer her and she says: ‘Something is not right here.’ Why, then, that silence? The moment has come to respond to the question they put to you on the airplane [last year]; more than eight months have passed, Pope Francis.”
Yes, the moment has come for the Pope to answer the question. But the answer he gave was yet another self-incriminating evasion — so much so that the Vatican attempted to censor it. The truth, however, came out. And as the title of another piece by Tosatti archly observes: “Concerning Pope Bergoglio on McCarrick, it might have been better — for him — to keep silent.”