Read this post from Fr James Martin SJ
Dear friends: The most shocking aspect of last week’s coordinated attack on Pope Francis (thanks to Archbishop Vigano’s “testimony,” which is being discredited by the hour) is how many former champions of the papacy rushed to attack, condemn and attempt to delegitimize Pope Francis.
It caused immense pain among the faithful, and among clergy and religious, at a time when many, if not most, were profoundly demoralized by the horrors of the sex abuse crisis.
Some US Catholics, even some bishops, who under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI acted as if any disagreement whatsoever with a Pope was tantamount to dissent (or heresy), immediately heaped scorn on Francis, called for his resignation, and publicly side with his accuser, based on unsubstantiated charges.
But now what will they do? Because the Vigano “testimony” is being discredited hour by hour, piece by piece.
The latest reports (see the post from Crux below) show that Vigano’s much-touted “sanctions” against the former Cardinal McCarrick appear to have been “private,” never formalized by Benedict, and were more of a recommendation, which blows the bottom out of Vigano’s central charge against Francis.
If they were not formalized, and were not applied even under Benedict (as Mike O’Loughlin of America has shown), this undercuts, if not entirely destroys, Vigano’s “testimony” against Francis’s supposed role in “enabling” McCarrick.
That is, Vigano himself did not go out of his way to enforce the sanctions against someone whose conduct outraged him. How, then, does he explain that while blasting Francis for not doing so?
The question, then, ends up turning more on the oversight, or non-oversight, of an abuser not by Francis, but by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and other Curial officials at the time. Vigano’s “testimony” appears to invite scrutiny on some unintended people.
Here’s the sad point: Many Catholics, including bishops, who under John Paul and Benedict professed their lifelong fidelity to the office of Pope, viciously turned on a Pope that they didn’t like, based on one disgruntled former nuncio’s 11-page, unsubstantiated screed.
Compare one prelate’s previous comments about the papacy: “I express my deepest gratitude to His Holiness for the great confidence which he has placed in me, and I renew my commitment to serve Him, as Shepherd of the universal Church, in total fidelity and with all my being.”
That was after he was named a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. Last week, that same cardinal said publicly that it was “licit” to call for the Pope’s resignation.
Some US bishops immediately sided with Vigano, one calling him a “man of truth, faithfulness and integrity” while studiously avoiding the same words for Francis, heedlessly inching us closer to the possibility of schism, or at least more serious division, in the US.
And some of the same US bishops who, last week, suddenly professed their outrage over sex abuse as soon it seemed that it could be used to take down Francis, were, a few days before, completely quiet about the topic, even in the face of the damning Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.
It was the weaponization of the abuse crisis, using the suffering of children and young people to bring down Francis, to increase division among the faithful and to advance their own ecclesial agenda against, to quote that same cardinal, “The Shepherd of the Universal Church.”
All this darkness caused great pain, confusion and anger among the faithful, and among clergy and religious, and distracted us from the real work, which needs to be taken up again, of preventing abuse.
Together, united, as one body.