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US Catholic hierarchs try to shift responsibility for child abuse cases to Pope — source

Roman Catholic media call for taking a cautious stance on Vigano’s assertions, as they contain many discrepancies

ROME, August 30. /TASS/. Roman Catholic hierarchs in the US are trying to relegate responsibility for sex-related offenses committed by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, to Pope Francis I as they accuse him of covering up a pedophile, a well-informed diplomatic source in the Vatican told TASS on Thursday.

The whole story revolves around the documents made public last Sunday by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former papal nuncio in the US. The revelations produced a big stir in the Roman Catholic community, particularly in the US.

Monsignor Vigano claimed the Church officials were fully aware as of 2000 of the with child abuse brought on against McCarrick and Pope Francis I received information on the case after election to the See of Rome in 2013 but he did not take any measures.

"This is a yet another wave flowing out of the US and targeting Pope Frances," the source said. "The case in hand is a deep-rooted problem of American society. The US-based hierarchs are trying to tone down their own guilt [for the problems related to pedophiliac clergymen - TASS] and to apportion all blame for the situation to the Pope."

The interlocutor said experts in the Vatican - and far beyond it - had uneasy questions about who was steering the actions of the dismissed and aggrieved Monsignor Vigano.

"There’s no forgetting the relations between the Vatican and the US are rather knotty now and the Pope has questions to ask the American elite on a whole range of issues," the source said.

The majority of followers of the Roman Catholic Church and hierarchs rose to the defense of Pope Francis. The Pontiff himself refrained from commenting on Vigano’s charges after return from Ireland where the problem had come up, too. He made it clear in unambiguous terms the former nuncio’s claims were groundless.

Roman Catholic media call for taking a cautious stance on Vigano’s assertions, as they contain many discrepancies. Also, he is viewed as a member of the antipapal conservative wing of the Catholic hierarchy.

In the past, Vigano’s name surfaced in a resounding scandal known as VatiLeaks - a leakage of confidential documents that occurred during the reign of Pope Benedict the Sixteenth. Vigano had a position at the Vatican City State Secretariat and he exposed corruption in the city-state.

The scandal around pedophiliac priests burst out during the papacy of Pope Benedict and might have become a tentative cause for his retirement from the Holy See.

Francis I has admitted on a number of occasions the Catholic Church leadership’s responsibility for the offenses committed by robed pedophiles. He has instituted a special commission for protection of the rights of underage individuals that investigates the case of pedophilia in the Church.

Cardinal McCarrick, 88, is accused of sexually abusing a minor and indulging in sexual relationships with grownup seminary students 45 years ago, when he was an ordinary priest, resigned at the end of July under pressure from American bishops.