Cardinal Marc Ouellet today called "political assembly lacking a real foundation" the accusations that the Pope knew since 2013 the allegations of sexual abuse against the ex-archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick.
Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, responded with an open letter to the former US archbishop, Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who publicly accused the pope of knowing the denunciations against McCarrick and came to ask for his resignation.
After an investigation, last July the Vatican announced that the pope had expelled from the College of Cardinal McCarrick, 88, had removed him from his duties and arranged his detention until the canonical trial on his alleged sexual abuse of priests and seminarians.
"In response to your unjust and unjustified attack on the facts, dear Viganò, I conclude that the accusation is a political assembly lacking a real foundation that could incriminate the pope," the cardinal and prefect points out in his letter.
In his letter of August the ex-officer (diplomat of the Holy See) said that he had sent several reports on the conduct of the then archbishop of Washington but they were ignored by the respective secretaries of State of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Tarcisio Bertone.
Ouellet affirms that Cardinal McCarrick had been "strongly exhorted not to travel and not to appear in public to avoid provoking rumors" already in the times of Benedict XVI, but points out that they can not be considered "sanctions".
In this way he denies the words of Viganò, who accused Francisco of having raised alleged sanctions imposed by Benedict XVI.
In this sense he assures that after reviewing his archives "there are no documents signed by the popes stipulating McCarrick's obligation to silence and private life, under canonical penalties."
The reason, says the prefect, is that "at that time there was not available, unlike today, sufficient evidence of his alleged guilt."
His case, he says, would have prompted further disciplinary action if the Washington Nunciature or another source "had provided recent and decisive information" about his behavior.
The Pope – it was learned yesterday Saturday – has arranged that, in addition to the investigation in the United States, the archives of the Holy See be investigated on this controversial case and Ouellet expressed his desire that this way "there is finally a critical vision and together of the procedures and circumstances of this painful case. "
The prefect and collaborator of Jorge Bergoglio recognizes the "incoherence" that McCarrick has reached the highest positions in the Catholic Church throughout his long life, before what is said "astonished", and assumed "defects in the procedure of selection".
But he warns that "it must be understood that the decisions of the Supreme Pontiff – when appointing positions – are based on the information that is available at a precise moment and constitute the factor of a prudential judgment that is not infallible."
"I tell you frankly to accuse the pope of having consciously concealed this alleged sexual predator, and therefore of being an accomplice of corruption in the Church, to the point of deeming him unworthy of continuing with his reform as the first pastor of the Church, it is incredible and implausible, "says Ouellet.
And he continues expressing his surprise at his denunciation: "I do not understand how you could let yourself be convinced of this monstrous accusation that does not stand up, Francisco had nothing to do with his promotion in New York, Metuchen, Newark and Washington."
Ouellet concludes his letter lamenting "the open and scandalous rebellion" of Viganò and asks him to leave "the underground", he regrets his revolt and returns with "the best feelings" before the Pope, instead of "increasing hostility against he".