Whilst in Rome before the 2005 papal conclave, the cardinals who were members of the Saint Gallen Group sent their host Ivo Fürer a card saying: ‘We are here together in the spirit of Saint Gallen,’ and before the conclave they came together for a talk over dinner. According to an anonymous cardinal’s excerpts from whose diary were published by (Lucio) Brunelli, two of them, Lehmann and Danneels, were ‘the thinking core’ of the reformisti during the conclave. These reformisti did not want to vote for Joseph Ratzinger, and tried to prevent his election by giving all their votes to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who thus might achieve a blocking minority. They succeeded, but Bergoglio, ‘almost in tears,’ begged not to be elected. Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI.” —A brief summary of the actions taken by members of the “St. Gallen Group” to try to elect Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) as Pope in 2005. The effort was repeated, and did succeed, in 2013. (link) Did Theodore McCarrick have some connection with this St. Gallen group? The answer is not clarified by the Vatican’s just released 400+-page “McCarrick Report.” Such a connection, if established, would seem to be of importance in understanding McCarrick’s career, and how he was treated by the Vatican hierarchy over the decades. But the “McCarrick Report” authors do not seem to think this question of any importance…    ”It is clear that the beginning of McCarrick’s climb… coincided with that visit to Switzerland [Note: in 1951, when McCarrick was just 21 years old], to a monastery that was later the site of the meetings of the conspirators of the so-called “St. Gallen mafia.” —Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, speaking yesterday, November 12, to Raymond Arroyo in an interview on EWTN. (link to the video; well worth watching; you may follow the interview by reading, while listening, the written text of the interview which follows below, at the bottom)    ”Who convinced John Paul II and Benedict XVI not to take into account the serious accusations against McCarrick? Who had an interest in getting McCarrick promoted, so that he could gain an advantage in terms of power and money?” —Archbishop Viganò, from the same interview===============================    And Once Again, Sankt Gallen…    ”Archbishop Viganò Replies to the Vatican’s McCarrick Report”     (Raymond Arroyo-Carlo Maria Viganò interview, aired on EWTN on November 12, 2020, yesterday: link)***    First Interview    Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 79, in his first interview since the dramatic publication of the Vatican’s massive McCarrick Report three days ago on November 10, has cast doubt on the thoroughness of the Vatican’s 2-year-old investigation aimed at bringing closure regarding the “McCarrick affair,” suggesting it leaves many questions unanswered.     (Note: To read the entire text of the lengthy McCarrick Report, click here.)     In fact, Viganò — the clerical “whistleblower” who in August 2018 accused dozens of Catholic leaders, including Pope Francis himself, of “covering for” and even “promoting” over decades serial abuser Theodore McCarrick (1930-present, now living in an unknown location at age 90) — is, in a dramatic reversal, himself faulted in the Vatican’s new Report as one of those chiefly to blame for not “reining in” McCarrick toward the end of McCarrick’s prestigious career of public Church leader and private molester and abuser (sometimes psychologically, sometimes spiritually, sometimes physically) of his own seminarians.     (Note: McCarrick, it must be noted, has to this day proclaimed his innocence of these charges against him; here is a link to his most recent protestation of his innocence, link.)     In this context, Viganò — as one directly accused in the Report of not doing enough to halt McCarrick’s activity — on Thursday, November 12 (yesterday), while being interviewed by the leading Catholic TV network in the world, EWTN, by the network’s lead news anchor, Raymond Arroyo, hit back swiftly, and hard.     (Note: Here is a link to the video of the Arroyo-Viganò interview: well worth watching: you may hear Vigano’s voice, speaking in English: again, the link.)     (Note: The entire text originally prepared for this Arroyo-Viganò interview is below in its entirety; the broadcast interview does not have the complete prepared text, because some prepared sections were omitted from the broadcast interview.)    Viganò does not condemn the Vatican’s quite praiseworthy publication of dozens and dozens of pages of previously unknown material.     No, because that publication does admittedly help to set this case in much clearer context than ever before.    But Viganò does condemn a central flaw that vitiates this Report at its heart.    Viganò contends the Vatican has, yes, labored mightily for more than two years, interviewing dozens and dozens of witnesses, to prepare an impressive “tell all” and “explain all” McCarrick Report, but Viganò concludes that, despite the Report‘s expressed intentions, it nevertheless seems finally to keep hidden the most important matter of all: Who in the Church hierarchy in the US, and in Rome, and indeed who outside of the Church, in the US government or elsewhere, perhaps even in Switzerland(!), really favored McCarrick’s rise? And why?    Why was McCarrick continually promoted even as many “rumors” about his imprudent and abusive activities circulated, leading even the esteemed Cardinal John O’Connor, for 16 years (1984-2000) Archbishop of New York (he died at age 80, living from January 15, 1920 to May 3, 2000), to recommend to Pope John Paul in 1999 not to promote McCarrick any further due to the “rumors” about his abusive activities (a recommendation John Paul did not, in the end, heed)?    What is the real story here?     (Here is a link to another important story on this question from Crisismagazine, well worth reading: link. Also, read the comments at the end of the Crisis piece.)    (And this Catholic World Report piece, written by a doctor named Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D., who treated a victim of McCarrick, adds still more context to this McCarrick Report: link. Also the comments at the end of this article are illuminating…)***    ”Deep Church” And “Deep State”    Viganò’s gives a surprising answer.     He says that there was a collaborative effort between what he calls the “Deep State” in the US, with alliances worldwide, and the “Deep Church,” in Rome and the US but also worldwide, an effort stemming from a shared a vision of a less conservative, less tradition-oriented, more doctrinally institutionally “progressive” Catholic Church working hand-in-hand with a “progressive” governing class in the United States.     (To see an article on McCarrick’s close relation with former US President Barack Obama and with then-Vice President Joe Biden, see this story, by Michael Haynes for Lifesitenews, which draws on a section of the Vatican’s official McCarrick Report.)    Viganò is telling us, therefore, that he sees the McCarrick Report —despite the fact that it is in some ways an unprecedented exercise in transparency — as another… coverup, to continue to protect a global agenda that goes far beyond the particular case of McCarrick…    And, indeed, the Report, in this process, attempts to shift the blame in McCarrick case away from those who actually supported him and onto the one man above all others (Viganò) who actually “blew the whistle” on the whole affair, in the process risking much — as is the fate of nearly all “whistle-blowers.”     (Note: What this cost Archbishop Viganò, emotionally and spiritually, is a central theme of a 375-page book I have just written about the archbishop. The book recounts my journey by plane, train, car and on foot to find Viganò “in hiding,” in order to speak with him in person over several days. Called Finding Viganò and due to be published in seven days, on November 20, the book is my effort to offer a unique glimpse into the heart and mind of this increasingly controversial archbishop. To order a copy of the book, click here. It would be gratifying to me, of course, if readers of this Moynihan Letter would consider ordering more than one copy of the book… I hope readers will find Finding Viganò the moving chronicle of a soul attempting to face and grapple with a profound crisis, a profound “moment of decision,” for the Church and for the world…—RM)    The McCarrick Report is right, of course, to treat Viganò as one of the central players in this ecclesial drama, citing the name “Viganò” more than 300 times (306 times is the precise count many have published).     This means that Vigano’s name appears in this Report more often than any other name.     (Viganò joked in his first, preliminary comment on the Report two days ago that this fact means the document might actually have rightly been entitled the “Viganò Report” rather than the “McCarrick Report.”)    But there really is a direct connection between Viganò and his career and McCarrick and his career.    Since McCarrick was an American citizen — arguably the single most important and influential American prelate for well over a decade, from the last years of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate (1978-2005) and into the first years of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate (2005-resignation in 2013) — and since Viganò was during the first years of that period a key, high-ranking official in the Roman Curia, receiving information about bishops from around the world, and was, for the last years of that period, from 2011 to 2016, precisely the Holy See’s “nuncio” or ambassador to the United States of America, Viganò was indeed for about 20 years in a responsible “intermediary position” between the US hierarchy, therefore, between McCarrick, arguably the US hierarchy’s most influential member, and the Holy See.     For this reason, Viganò says, he feels obliged to respond promptly to the Vatican’s McCarrick Report.    A Paradox, A Mystery…    And precisely here is a… paradox, a mystery.    Though Viganò is, of all living Church officials, the one who, arguably, was placed ex ufficio in two strategic posts from which he could observe the “McCarrick case” better than almost anyone else and so to observe “how things went down”… Viganò was never asked to give any testimonyto the authors of this McCarrick Report(!).     (Note: Both Emeritus Pope Benedict and Pope Francis werequestioned by the investigators who prepared the McCarrick Reportlink.)    Viganò says the fact that he was not asked to testify is “incredible,” and he seems to have a point.    Though Viganò’s name is mentioned throughout the text — a total of 306 times, as we said — the investigative team, over two years, never once asked to speak with him.    More than that: this Report in the end openly criticizes Viganò, saying Viganò “did not come forward” to contribute to the inquiry(!).    Viganò responds to this charge quite sharply: “It is completely incomprehensible and anomalous,” he says in the Arroyo interview, “that it was not considered opportune to call upon me to testify. But it is even more disturbing that this deliberate omission was then used against me.”    Another Mystery: What Happened in St. Gallen, Switzerland?    A second point: Viganò highlights in this Arroyo interview the complete absence — except for a tiny footnote near the very end of the report — of any testimony from, or even mention of, James Grein, the now-middle-aged American man who came forward to say McCarrick had molested him multiple times when he was a boy (here is a link to one overview story on Grein’s case).     This absence of Grein is notable, Viganò says in the Arroyo interview, because Grein “had the courage to denounce him (McCarrick) publicly” for his abusive behavior toward him, when none of McCarrick’s other victims would.    In this connection, Viganò, makes an interesting point that has up to now not been much noted.    Viganò says in this interview, regarding McCarrick and Grein: “From the public statements of James Grein, it is clear that the beginning of McCarrick’s climb — he was then a young, newly ordained priest — coincided with” a visit to Switzerland, “to a monastery that was later the site of the meetings of the conspirators of the so-called ‘St. Gallen mafia.’” (Sankt Gallen is the name of the town in German, San Gallen in Italian, and St. Gallen in English; it is a town tucked into the upper northeast corner of Switzerland, not far from Zurich, and not far from Switzerland’s borders with Germany and Austria.)     The “St. Gallen mafia” was the name given (in jest) in 2015 by the late Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels (1933-2019), one of the St. Gallen group’s members. The term referred to a group of influential, progressive Catholic prelates who met annually from 1996 to 2006 (some say the group was formed as early as 1991) in the Swiss town of St. Gallen to discuss how to “bring the Church up to date.” The group is said to have concluded that a key step would be… to elect Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy. The effort was first made, without success, in 2005. Pope Benedict was elected. The effort was made again, successfully, in 2013…    (Note: For background info on the “San Gallen ‘mafia'” see this quite simple, not exhaustive or definitive, but useful Wikipedia entry: link.)    (Note: See this video of Grein being interviewed by Dr. Taylor Marshall on this matter of McCarrick and St. Gallen, link.)    (Note: See this article on the video, link. Grein is quoted saying: “My grandfather was from Sankt Gallen, Switzerland.” Grein says McCarrick first traveled to Sankt Gallen to meet his grandfather’s friends. “Sankt Gallen is not a very large city. And my grandfather knew everybody. And so he introduced McCarrick to everybody. And in fact, he (McCarrick) went there on a regular basis – on a yearly basis – probably for 20 years.”(!) Grein further says that McCarrick went to visit a language school in Sankt Gallen in 1951 [note: McCarrick, born in 1930, would have been then just 21] and came back a different man – someone who wanted to be no longer a parish priest, but a power player within the hierarchy of the Church. When McCarrick came back, says Grein, his grandfather — a wealthy and influential man — introduced McCarrick to powerful members of the American episcopacy like Cardinals Spellman and Cooke.)***    A third point Viganò makes is to dispute the Report’s accusation that Viganò lied in his 2018 Testimony when he stated that “sanctions” had been placed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI, including restriction of movement in an official capacity.    The Vatican’s report seems to argue that, because McCarrick continued for another 10 years to travel and attend international events, there must have been no instructions for him to curtail this activity.     Viganò responds: “If this is so, it means that despite the cardinal’s reprehensible conduct, the Holy See did not consider it appropriate to take disciplinary measures against McCarrick, which confirms my denunciation of the corruption of the Curia,” Viganò said.***    Raymond Arroyo in the interview also asks Viganò about the claim the McCarrick Report makes that Vigano failed to investigate the credibility of another McCarrick accuser, “Priest 3.”     Viganò’s response: “It is the writers of the Report themselves who provide the evidence of the deception they have concocted in order to crush me and discredit me,” and he points out that the report itself confirms “there was a telephone communication between Bishop Bootkoski and me, about which I, in turn, informed Cardinal Ouellet.”    Asked about the apparent placement of blame on Pope John Paul II’s decision to promote McCarrick, Viganò said, “Someone probably made John Paul II believe that the accusations against McCarrick were fabricated, following the model of the discrediting operations that communist Poland had already carried out against good bishops and priests who opposed the regime.”    “In the case of John Paul II, the main party interested in the promotion of McCarrick was definitely Cardinal [Angelo] Sodano. He was Secretary of State until September 2006 — all information came to him. In November 2000, Nuncio [Gabriel] Montalvo sent him his report and the accusations of grave abuse committed by McCarrick,” he said.    With regard to Pope Benedict XVI, against whom the report also points an accusing finger, Viganò said, “…the ones who had daily, direct access to the pope were the Secretary of State [Tarcisio] Bertone and the Substitute Sandri, who were able to control and filter information about McCarrick and exert pressure on the Holy Father…Once again, the Report speaks for itself.”    Here below is the full text of Viganò’s November 12 interview.     The interview was prepared in advanced, in writing.     The text of the broadcast interview, that is, the transcription (link) is somewhat different from the text of the prepared, written interview (link).      Below, I have put in three dots within parentheses to show where the spoken interview breaks off, then placed brackets around passages in the prepared text not spoken in the broadcast interview. Those bracketed sections should be skipped over by anyone listening to the interview and following along with the text. —RM=====================    VIGANÒ: WHY DIDN’T THE VATICAN CALL ME TO TESTIFY?    Interview by Raymond Arroyo with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò (link to a transcript of what was actually said on the show; link to the full interview as it was originally intended, and has been published in several places: link).    Broadcast on EWTN on November 12, 2020Raymond Arroyo: Your Excellency, the report claims you “did not come forward” to present evidence for this Vatican inquiry: were you asked to provide information for this McCarrick Report? Did anyone reach out to you?    Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò: I am surprised to discover that a Report in which I am mentioned 306 times accuses me of not having presented myself to testify in this Vatican inquiry on Theodore McCarrick.     But according to the norm of canon law, the calling of witnesses is the responsibility of the one who is in charge of the process (…)     [ …on the basis of evidence gathered in the investigation phase.    My first intervention about McCarrick, which I made as Delegate for the Pontifical Representations in the Secretariat of State, goes back to December 6, 2006, following a report of the then-Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi. Subsequently, in 2008, I presented a second Memorandum that reported facts of such gravity and in such detail that it led me to recommend that McCarrick be deposed as Cardinal and that he be reduced to the lay state. My Testimony of August 2018 is known to everyone, as well as my subsequent declarations(…)    Raymond Arroyo: So archbishop, they never reached out to you then, to ask you to contribute to the Report, or to interview you?     Archbishop Viganò: It is completely incomprehensible and anomalous that it was not considered opportune to call upon me to testify, but even more disturbing that this deliberate omission was then used against me.     And let it not be said to me that I had made myself untraceable: because the Secretariat of State has my personal email address, which is still alive and never has been changed (…)    On the other hand, just as I was not consulted for the drafting of the McCarrick Report, so also in 2012, the three cardinals whom Benedict XVI placed in charge of the investigation of Vatileaks 1, did not call upon me to give testimony, even though I was also personally involved. Only after my explicit request, did Cardinal Julian Herranz, the head of the Commission, permit me to give a deposition, with these words: “If you really want to…!”    Furthermore (…) ]    It also seems significant to me that James Grein, the only victim of McCarrick’s sexual molestations who had the courage to denounce him publicly, does not appear in the Report, and that there is no trace of his testimony, in which he would have also reported the trip he made with McCarrick to St. Gallen at the end of the 1950s.    Raymond Arroyo: Hmmmm… Interesting… Go ahead…    Archbishop Viganò: From the public statements of James Grein, it is clear that the beginning of McCarrick’s climb — he was then a young, newly-ordained priest — coincided with that visit to Switzerland, to a monastery that was later the site of the meetings of the conspirators of the so-called “St. Gallen mafia.” And according to the declarations of the deceased Cardinal Godfried Danneels, that group of prelates decided to support the election of Bergoglio both after the death of John Paul II as well as during the conclave that followed the controversial resignation of Benedict XVI. (…)    [ I recall that during a conference at Villanova University on October 11, 2013 (…) ]    Then-Cardinal McCarrick admitted to having supported the election of Cardinal Bergoglio at the beginning of the General Congregations prior to the conclave that had been held a few months earlier [in March 2013].    I wonder what sort of reliability a judicial body can have that has such an obvious conflict of interest due to its past relationship with the accused.     How can Bergoglio and the Secretariat of State that depends on him pretend to appear impartial when McCarrick went to the Vatican with an abnormal frequency; when in June 2013 he was tasked [by Bergoglio] with making a diplomatic trip to China?     And how can one not think that their repeated attempts at cover-up and denial of their responsibilities are the cause of the systematic effort to discredit me as a witness, in order not to bring to light the complicity and circumstances that exist between them and McCarrick himself?Raymond Arroyo: The Pope, according to the Report, maintains that you did not inform him of McCarrick’s activities or restrictions on McCarrick in June of 2013. The Pope was certain that “You as nuncio never told him that McCarrick had committed crimes against any person, whether adult or minor, or described McCarrick as a serial predator.” Your response?    Archbishop Viganò: Yes. This statement is absolutely false. First of all, it was Bergoglio himself, on June 23, 2013, who explicitly asked me my opinion of McCarrick. As I testified in my 2018 Memoir:    I answered him with complete frankness […]: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject. But then, what was the Pope’s purpose in asking me that question: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?”He clearly wanted to find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not. (Unquote.)    It should be noted that I had learned from McCarrick himself that Bergoglio had received him four days before my audience, and that Bergoglio had also authorized him to go to China. What was the point of asking me for an opinion, when Bergoglio already held McCarrick in the highest esteem? (…)    [ McCarrick meanwhile came quietly to Rome, received assignments from the Vatican, including official ones, and carried on with his activities as if nothing had happened. (…)    And in May 2014, I learned from the Washington Times of a trip made by McCarrick to the Central African Republic on behalf of the Department of State. (…)     [ (the Secretary of State was then John Kerry): this trip is also mentioned in the Report. We are talking about 2014. ]    In the beginning of 2008, Benedict XVI had ordered the American Cardinal to retire to a private life, not to celebrate or attend public events, and not to make trips.    For this reason (…) [ given the way that McCarrick was being treated ](…) I asked, I wrote to Cardinal Parolin to ask if the sanctions against McCarrick were still to be considered valid. But I received no response whatsoever.    Raymond Arroyo : And, Your Excellency, you saw, the Report says there is no documentation of this, they don’t have documentation, so therefore they dispute it… You would say what to that?    Archbishop Viganò: Yes. I was not able to go all along the 400 pages and all the documents. But you know, it is interesting that they didn’t produce, in order to cover up also, Cardinal Parolin, who did not answer to me…    At that point, having reported to the Pope in person, and having received no answer from the Secretary of State, what could I still do? To whom could I appeal? ]    And from the Report, I learn that McCarrick’s’ continuous assignments and travels abroad were considered by Archbishop Wuerl, Cardinal Wuerl, and even by Nuncio Sambi (deceased in 2011) as a “sufficient form of removal” (cf. footnote 1013 of the Report). And I remain sincerely shocked to learn from the Report that:    …the indications were not “sanctions”; they were not imposed by Pope Benedict XVI; McCarrick was never forbidden to celebrate Mass in public; McCarrick was not prohibited from giving lectures; Cardinal Re did not impose on McCarrick “the obligation” of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance; and McCarrick remained free to conduct activities, including travel, with the permission of the Holy See, including the Nuncio (cf. footnote 1006, ibidem).    If this is so, it means that despite the Cardinal’s reprehensible conduct, the Holy See did not consider it appropriate to take disciplinary measures against McCarrick, which confirms my denunciation of the corruption of the Curia.Raymond Arroyo: Your Excellency, the Report goes to great pains to attempt to paint you as somehow lax in investigating the claims of Priest 3. (They brush by the fact that it was you who brought these concerns to the Holy See, to Cardinal Ouellet, in the first place). Did you avoid placing yourself “in a position to ascertain the credibility of Priest 3”? They said you never contacted the priest, the Vicar General of Metuchen, or the bishop as instructed. Your reaction?    Archbishop Viganò: It is obvious what my role was in bringing McCarrick’s scandals to light, and that I have always taken steps to report any information that came into my possession to the Holy See.     I recall that we are talking about 2012, when I had just been appointed Nuncio to the United States.    In the Report, I am accused of not having followed up on the request for information regarding the accusations made by “Priest 3” (…) We will not mention his name. (…) [ against McCarrick. ] This is absolutely false! It is the writers of the Report themselves who provide the evidence of the deception they have concocted in order to strik

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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