“Open and scandalous rebellion”

In scathing letter to Archbishop Vigano, Cardinal Marc Ouellett, prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, refutes charges against Pope Francis

Cardinal Marc Ouellet. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA

The Vatican’s prefect for the Congregation for Bishops released a letter Sunday morning refuting charges Pope Francis lifted sanctions against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and saying that charges made by a former Vatican ambassador are an “unjustified attack” on the pope “cannot come from the Spirit of God.”

“Your current position seems to me incomprehensible and extremely reprehensible, not only because of the confusion that sows in the people of God, but because your public accusations seriously damage the reputation of the Successors of the Apostles,” wrote Cardinal Marc Ouellett, in an Oct. 7 letter addressed to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

“I tell you frankly that to accuse Pope Francis of having covered with full knowledge of the facts this alleged sexual predator and therefore of being an accomplice of the corruption that is spreading in the Church, to the point of considering him unworthy of continuing his reform as the first pastor of the Church, is incredible and unlikely from all points of view,” Ouellett added.

The letter, released by the Vatican press office, was written in response to two letters from Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., which charged that the Vatican had ignored reports from him and others about sexual immorality on the part of McCarrick for several years, until Pope Benedict XVI imposed “sanctions” on McCarrick’s ministry in 2009 or 2010.

Vigano suggested that Ouellet had direct knowledge of the history of allegations and responses in McCarrick’s case, and urged him to “bear witness to the truth.”

The cardinal’s letter including some strong charges against Vigano’s letter. He wrote that Vigano’s accusation regarding Pope Francis is “a political set-up without a real foundation that can incriminate the Pope, and I reiterate that it deeply hurts the communion of the Church.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

Related: Vatican announces it will conduct a review of its files pertaining to the McCarrick case.

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  1. Sol Casey says:

    Your Eminence Cardinal Ouellet,

    Before making a statement like this, it might be more prudent to learn from one of your brother members of the Sacred College and former head of the CDF:


  2. Anonymous says:

    Be sure to read the whole letter.

  3. Thank you Cardinal Ouellet: Not only Viganò, but all those who have anonymously, cowardly, irreverently denounced the Holy Father are just as culpable of inciting division in the Church and even hatred against the Pope! Shameful they are.

    • My poor fellow, Vigano may be risking his life to tell the truth. But if he dies, or rather when he dies, I believe he dies with a clear conscience, which is why he came forth in the first place. Remember, he was/is in a position to know and chose to speak out at great personal cost to himself. That we should have such courage!

      • I agree and pray for Vigano. I admire his courage to stand up to those, who are persecuting him. Many are out of fear and retaliation from higher ups. So many priests and clergy are in fear of this retaliation. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for our Church.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        If you read Ouellet’s letter you will see that there is nothing truthful about Vigano’s allegations. And if memory serves, Vigano himself said Ouellet should know the truth.

        • A more superficial reading of Ouellet’s letter I have yet to see. Sorry YFC, you should read more carefully, and see what Oullet doesn’t say, which is far more important than what he does say.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            He says that MCCarrick wasn’t sanctioned until Francis took his hat, though it was recommended that he not travel or appear in public. He said that copious Vatican files prove this. What you suggest dear Dan, is not that I should read more carefully, but that I pretend that outlet wrote things that he didn’t actually write.

    • Nothing cowardly about speaking Truth to Power…. the corruption must end….if you deny it than you are part of the problem

      • Folks, what Viganó received from Cardinal Ouellet was a smackdown, and a rightful one too. I mean, just read Viganó’s letters—both of them. They sounded like the bitter grumblings of one who had been hanging around TOO long, and perhaps even bathing too much, in court intrigue. It sounded like the grousing of a veteran courtier who believed himself to have been unjustifiably passed over for some title or honor or position he thought was due to him.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          In fact he says it himself: he was upset that Francis bypassed him in the selection of American Bishops.

          • YFC, you and Jon have failed to notice that Ouellet avoids the very issue you are avoiding: is the corruption in the Vatican and in the higher echelons of church leadership elsewhere fact or fancy? Read Ed Feser (Sept 5) at his blog for an analysis deeper than the typical parking lot puddle drivel.

          • Dan: It seems that the “typical parking lot puddle drivel” is that Feser blog you’ve mentioned. For starters, Feser’s second point is wrong (that Benedict has been silent). Archbishop Georg Gänswein–Benedict’s own personal secretary– told German newspaper Die Tagepost on Aug. 28 that accounts that Benedict had “confirmed” Vigano’s testimony were “fake news.” Nice try Dan, but no cigar.

  4. Ambrosio de Milano says:

    Let us commend the Church into the care of Our Blessed Mother. The words “I”, “me” etc. have been replaced with the plural, as this is an intention meant to have Our Blessed Mother hear all of the faithful:

    “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

    Inspired by this confidence, [we] fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, [our] mother; to thee do [we] come, before thee [we] stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not [our] petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer [us].”


  5. St. Christopher says:

    Actually, “jon,” neither C. Ouellet nor you have said anything to refute Abp. Vigano’s two letters. Merely saying, “no, no” does not provide any proof to counter the dates and events discussed by Abp. Vigano. In fact, the absence of any detail makes the blather of C. Ouellet more supportive of Abp. Vigano than an effective rebuttal.

    Few seem to believe Francis in any event. What a shock.

    • “Absence of any detail”?? “SChristophr’s” comment there is totally wrong. Ouellet’s smackdown contained enough details as to discount Viganò’s letters. First is that the Cardinal admitted to having recently checked the archives himself and found NO documentation supporting Viganò’s allegation that there were official sanctions against McCormick and that the present Pope lifted them. WRONG! Second detail is that Francis didn’t care much about McCarrick, that Francis wasn’t even “interested” in the retired Cardinal nor in his case, again contrary to what Viganò would have the world believe: that Francis was eager “cover up” McCarrick’s faults. WRONG! But the one detail Viganò did say he cannot reveal elaborate on at…

      • the moment is how McCarrick ascended to the cardinalate. But that would have been way before Francis was elected to the pontificate.

  6. The Watchman says:

    Brothers and sisters in Christ remember what scripture says that not even the gates of hell will prevail against the Church. Right now there is a massive deception going on so do not be quick to judge and do not get involved in any negative discourse. Jesus Christ King of Kings Lord of Lords True God and True Man is coming back in the not too distant future like a thief in the night. Repent and convert! Until then like Saint Padre Pio said, “do not fear, do not worry, and pray.” Pray Pray Pray!

  7. Linda Maria says:

    Well– who knows the truth, of who is right– Cdl, Oullett, or Abp. Vigano?? Regardless– does anyone care about the poor, suffering victims of clergy child sex abuse?? And how their lives were totally destroyed?? And do any big, famous prelates in the Vatican, have big, serious plans– to STOP all of these evil, filthy criminal clerics who commit sex abuse crimes, and STOP their criminal superiors, with their Satanic lying, and cover-ups — FOREVER?? How serious are they, in the Vatican?? How safe is our Church, for altar boys, and seminarians, and Catholic school children?? Let’s hear it!! Answers, please!

  8. On August 30, 1568 — 450 years ago — Pope St. Pius V issued the bull Horrendum Illud Scelus (“That Horrible Crime”) which, among other things, stripped religious and clerics of the impunity they otherwise enjoyed for committing acts “by which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation[.]” Knowing that the sin of Sodom would only spread if stronger measures were not taken, Pius V decreed that “any priest or member of the clergy . . . who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefice, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority[.]”

    • Pius v ruled duding the success of the battle of lepanto.it fell to him to punish 6 french bishops for heresy.his intercession may prove wortwhile in this great battle facing the church

  9. Elizabeth T. says:

    I believe that Cardinal Ouellett has been ‘beaten down’ and he caved!
    SO VERY SAD!!!

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      “Beaten down”? Seriously? More made up accusations. Cardinal Ouellett is citing official records. Vigano is citing his “impressions” of brief meetings.

      • St. Christopher says:

        Actually, “YFC,” your reading of Ouellett’s letter is entirely superficial and incorrect. The Cardinal’s response is nothing more than, “nah-nah-nah” and “trust Francis.” See, e.g.: “However, and without entering here into details, it must be understood that the decisions taken by the Supreme Pontiff are based on the information available to him at the time and that they are the object of a prudential judgment which is not infallible.” He never enters into details but Ouellett does offer lots of opinion: “I strongly doubt that the Pope had such interest in McCarrick, as you would like us to believe.” He also argues that there was no information on McCarrick and that homosexuals are not to be attacked, per se.

        • “StChristopher” is totally wrong. Do please read Ouellet’s letter MORE CAREFULLY because your quotation is wrong! In your first quotation, Ouellet is not talking about Pope Francis, but about Pope John Paul II. The paragraph from which you took that quotation was preceded by: “How is it possible that this man of the Church, whose incoherence has now been revealed, was promoted many times, and was nominated to such a high position as Archbishop of Washington and Cardinal?….” Ouellet was talking about how Pope John Paul II could have promoted him.

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