The pope is facing mounting pressure to quit as ultra-conservative members of the Catholic Church hierarchy continue to accuse him of covering for a cardinal in a sex abuse scandal.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to the US, dropped an 11-page bombshell at the weekend accusing Francis of ignoring abuse allegations against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Pope Francis ‘knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator,’ Vigano alleged. ‘He knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end.’
The timing of the letter’s release – right in the middle of Francis’s landmark trip to Ireland – immediately raised speculation about a possible plot against the Argentine pontiff.
Among some ultra-conservative Catholics, the pope is regarded as a dangerous progressive who is more interested in social issues than traditional Church matters.
But so far, Francis has remained silent, refusing to address the allegations and saying only that Vigano’s missive ‘speaks for itself’.
Since then, two of the pope’s fiercest critics have stepped forward to support the archbishop.
Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, who runs a conservative and staunchly anti-Francis blog, boasted Tuesday that he had helped Vigano craft and edit his testimony before translating it into Spanish and English.
Tosatti praised the ‘courage’ of Vigano, who was never made a cardinal and was exiled to Washington as the Holy See’s ambassador after blasting the Vatican for poor financial management.
On Wednesday, US cardinal Raymond Leo Burke – the pope’s fiercest critic within the Vatican – backed Vigano’s call for Francis to step down.
‘I cannot say if it is wrong to demand the resignation of the pope, I only say that to get to that, you have to investigate and act on what’s found,’ Burke in an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica.
‘A resignation request is legitimate regardless. Anyone can make it for any clergyman who has made a grave error.’
This is not the first time Burke has moved against the pontiff.
In 2016, he was one of four cardinals who wrote a letter to the pope saying that he should be sanctioned for confusing Catholics after permitting people who have divorced and remarried to take communion in certain circumstances.
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Source: Daily Mail