Vigano, Public Repentance and an Inquisition to Investigate McCarrick and Others

January 14, 2019 (Steven O’Reilly) – Archbishop Viganó has released a new letter. In this latest epistle, Viganó calls upon the ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick to repent publicly of his sins. Archbishop Viganó says in part:

“Time is running out, but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly, since they have themselves become public. Your eternal salvation is at stake.”

The full text of Archbishop Viganó’s recent letter may be found here. The current track of the investigation seems to be an administrative one, as mentioned by Archbishop Viganó  in his letter and as reported by Ed Condon in his article in the Washington Post, which outlined the matter as follows:

“But instead of conducting a full-blown trial, complete with procedural niceties and room for legal back-and-forth between prosecution and defense lawyers, sources at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed that McCarrick’s case is being handled via a stripped-down administrative process, expected to conclude within the next few weeks.

Such an “administrative penal process,” which in canon law is reserved for cases where the evidence is so strong that a full trial is deemed unnecessary, suggests that the chances of a conviction are very high indeed. But even with a quick “result” that strips McCarrick of his clerical status, the case could still cast a shadow over the Vatican’s next phase of reform efforts on sexual abuse in the church.”  (Washington Post: “McCarrick won’t get a full trial. Here’s why you should care” by Ed Condon.  January 9, 2019)

The current Vatican process involving McCarrick’s crimes appears–to me at least–designed to bring the McCarrick story to a quick and neat conclusion. Its apparent focus is only on three cases of McCarrick’s abuse of minors, but excludes cases involving at least eight seminarians. McCarrick’s sexual abuse of minors and of seminarians was and is a great evil. Thus, while this administrative procedure may bring some justice for these few, it is superficial in that it treats only of these cases, but apparently ignores all else of what McCarrick has done that has harmed the lives of other potential victims, as well as that harm done to the Church. It is unfortunate that McCarrick’s case will seemingly deep-six a more thorough investigation of his crimes against other potential victims (e.g., seminarians). That said, there is reason to believe that–beyond these great sins and crimes–there is much more of McCarrick’s deeds which have yet to be uncovered and brought to the light of day–and which need to be, for the good of the Church. in order to uproot great corruption in the episcopacy.

While a thorough and complete trial and conviction of McCarrick’s sexual abuse crimes is important for the victims and for the wider Church, what is also needed is something more than a trial. That is, there ought to be a commission, a tribunal or (better yet) an inquisition (e.g.,  Bring Back the Inquisition!) to investigate the complete depth of McCarrick’s perfidy–roots and branches–and to uncover other sins and crimes, as well as who else was involved, either in covering his crimes or participating in them. For example, there has been reporting of McCarrick handing out envelopes of cash whenever he visited Rome (see Of McCarrick and Past and Future Conclaves). Who did he corrupt with such payments and what was expected by him in return? What was McCarrick’s agenda–and who shared it? Who was the mysterious “italian gentleman” who met with McCarrick before the 2013 conclave, who pushed the election of Jorge Bergoglio?

Therefore, an inquisition should follow the threads of McCarrick’s agenda, appointments and influence in the Church to other similarly-minded and similarly-behaved prelates with whom he was known to be close over the years. We know some of McCarrick’s agenda, e.g., opposing efforts to restrict communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians (see here). McCarrick was close to Cardinal Bernardin (e.g., see this interview of interview of James Grein) who shared a similar view of the question which dimmed the Church’s witness in the United States. Furthermore, Cardinal Bernardin is yet another prelate around whom there has been much smoke over the years (see hereherehereherehere and here).  The average Catholic is not in the position to determine the truth of such claims or rumors, nor is he in a position to dispel or reject them as baseless. They need to be addressed. Therefore, it is undoubtedly true, as with the case of McCarrick, that the Church in the United States would benefit greatly from a complete, in depth public investigation of the memory of the late Cardinal Bernardin.  This inquisition should follow the evidence wherever it leads and it should publish its findings–whether it be to fully exonerate  Bernardin’s name from various rumors about him (vicious if untrue) or to bring any evil associated with him (horrendous if true) to the disinfecting light of day.

But, do not expect much interest on the part of the American bishops for such a project–whether it be focused on McCarrick or Bernardin and others–because many of them owe their episcopal chairs to the aid of such men. They will not want to linger on the question of whether corrupted cardinals and bishops have influenced their appointments and the course of the American Church for the last fifty years. Leadership which has led to a collapse of the American Church, closing schools and parishes, as well as dubious innovations [e.g., communion in the hands, so-called “altar girls,” and other theological nonsense (e.g., here and here), etc].

Archbishop Viganó is correct. McCarrick, should he publicly repent, could yet do much good for the Church–for example, identifying his co-conspirators in a homosexual network, their plans, etc., and thereby helping to uproot it. The truth is, what Archbishop Viganó urges of McCarrick in his letter is something Pope Francis–as Vicar of Christ–should have demanded of the disgraced ex-cardinal months ago. However, given McCarrick’s involvement in the advancement of a liberal agenda in the Catholic Church (shared by Francis) and his St. Gallen mafia ties–and that group’s involvement in the election of Jorge Bergoglio–I doubt very much that Francis and good many cardinals and bishops would ever want or allow McCarrick to speak publicly about what he knows. Therefore–should we ever hear rumors that McCarrick might want to publicly repent–my hunch is that Pope Francis will instead order McCarrick’s silent and private penitence. Still, if McCarrick were to publicly repent, I strongly suspect that he–knowing where the bodies are buried involving St. Gallen and the homosexual infiltration of the Church, etc.–will be asking Viganó on ideas for a safe hiding place.

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives near Atlanta with his wife Margaret. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).





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