I am not surprised that in calling attention to these plagues I am charged with disloyalty to the Holy Father and with fomenting an open and scandalous rebellion. Yet rebellion would entail urging others to topple the papacy. I am urging no such thing. I pray every day for Pope Francis -- more than I have ever done for the other popes. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano 10/19/18Archbishop Vigano has responded to Cardinal Ouellet's October 7 open letter [HERE] with a third testimony [HERE].
Vigano is still standing by his basic accusations against Pope Francis in regard to McCarrick, namely:
As with his first two testimonies, Vigano gives no corroborating documentary evidence to support these allegations.
- McCarrick was part of a network of bishops promoting homosexuality who, exploiting their favor with Pope Francis, manipulated episcopal appointments so as to protect themselves from justice and to strengthen the homosexual network in the hierarchy and in the Church at large.
- Pope Francis himself has either colluded in this corruption, or, knowing what he does, is gravely negligent in failing to oppose it and uproot it.
However, there are two very notable departures made by Vigano from his first testimony.
First, Vigano makes a major concession by admitting that there were no formal sanctions against McCarrick as he claimed in his first testimony.
Secondly, and of greatest importance, Vigano has ceased to call for the resignation of Pope Francis.
Regarding the sanctions questions, Vigano wrote in his original testimony from August:
In any case, what is certain is that Pope Benedict imposed the above canonical sanctions [emphasis mine] on McCarrick and that they were communicated to him by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Pietro Sambi.Cardinal Ouellet responded with this statement:
The former Cardinal, who had retired in May 2006, had been strongly advised not to travel and not to appear in public, so as not to provoke additional rumors in his regard. It is false to present the measures taken in his regard as “sanctions” decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and revoked by Pope Francis. After re-examining the archives, I can ascertain that there are no corresponding documents signed by either Pope, neither is there a note of an audience with my predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Re, giving Archbishop Emeritus McCarrick an obligatory mandate of silence and to retire to a private life, carrying canonical penalties.For an order or command to be canonical, it must be in writing and signed by the Pope. As Cardinal Ouellet confirms, McCarrick had been "strongly advised" not to travel or appear in public. According to Ouellet, and now conceded to by Vigano, there was never anything put in writing by either Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Francis.
But Vigano does continue to insist that there are other written documents regarding the "measures" taken against McCarrick and this somehow supports his claim that Benedict put McCarrick under "measures" similar to the "sanctions" imposed by Pope Francis and that Pope Francis lifted these "measures" imposed by Benedict upon McCarrick:
Cardinal Ouellet disputes the existence in his archives of letters signed by Pope Benedict or Pope Francis regarding sanctions on McCarrick. But this was not my testimony. My testimony was that he has in his archives key documents – irrespective of provenance – incriminating McCarrick and documenting the measures taken in his regard, and other proofs on the cover-up regarding his situation. And I confirm this again.
I cannot find anything in Vigano's first testimony about "key documents" in the archive regarding the "measures" taken against McCarrick. But even if Vigano's claim of written documentation is true, it makes no difference. Only documents signed by the Pope carry any real authority, and Vigano concedes there are no such papal documents.
However, Vigano insults our intelligence and attempts to wiggle out of the "sanctions" debate by saying there is no difference between being "strongly advised" and "canonically sanctioned".
Cardinal Ouellet disputes that it is false to present the measures taken against McCarrick as "sanctions" decreed by Pope Benedict and canceled by Pope Francis. True. They were not technically "sanctions" but provisions, "conditions and restrictions." To quibble whether they were sanctions or provisions or something else is pure legalism. From a pastoral point of view they are exactly the same thing. [Emphasis original]"Strongly advised" indicates verbal communication. The word "advised" could also be interpreted as a "strong request.". And as we now know, McCarrick completely ignored this "strong request" and did his own thing. No one, not Archbishop Vigano, and not even Pope Benedict XVI, did anything to enforce this "strong request."
"Canonical sanctions" indicates written commands signed by the Pope. Canonical sanctions were actually imposed upon McCarrick by Pope Francis this past summer, and the result is that McCarrick is now basically living the life of a cloistered monk. He will never be seen in public again. That was most definitely not the case under Pope Benedict.
Contrary to Vigano's ridiculous assertion, "strongly advise" and "canonical sanctions" are emphatically NOT equal in force or imposition.
The second major departure from Vigano's first testimony, and the most important, is that Vigano is no longer calling for the resignation of Pope Francis. This is huge.
Vigano's supporters, such as Michael Voris, John Zuhlsdorf and Taylor Marshall, make no note of this change in direction whatsoever. These enemies of Pope Francis continue to concentrate on statements such as these from Vigano:
I have been accused of creating confusion and division in the Church through my testimony. To those who believe such confusion and division were negligible prior to August 2018, perhaps such a claim is plausible. Most impartial observers, however, will have been aware of a longstanding excess of both, as is inevitable when the successor of Peter is negligent in exercising his principal mission, which is to confirm the brothers in the faith and in sound moral doctrine. When he then exacerbates the crisis by contradictory or perplexing statements about these doctrines, the confusion is worsened.This is what Zuhsldorf writes:
. . .
I am asking, indeed earnestly begging, the Holy Father to face up to the commitments he himself made in assuming his office as successor of Peter. He took upon himself the mission of confirming his brothers and guiding all souls in following Christ, in the spiritual combat, along the way of the cross. Let him admit his errors, repent, show his willingness to follow the mandate given to Peter and, once converted let him confirm his brothers (Lk 22:32).
Archbp. Viganò, offered a credible testimony before. He has, once again offered a credible testimony. A credible testimony calls for a credible response, a serious response that corresponds to the weight of the matter. In this case, the matter is as grave as anything we have heard about in the Church. The Present Crisis is not just a blip.
. . .
Do make regular prayer for Archbp. Viganò part of your daily routine.I find it incredible that Zuhlsdorf tells us to pray for Vigano, but not one word about prayer or support for Pope Francis. In fact, the only time Zuhlsdorf has ever hinted at praying for Pope Francis is when someone asked if it is okay to pray for the death of the Holy Father. Zuhlsdorf had no problem with that whatsoever.
And if Michael Voris really wants to support and follow Vigano as a "hero", then Voris must stop calling for the resignation of Pope Francis.
Somehow I don't think that will happen.
I think it would be a great idea for the Pope's enemies to read an encyclical of another pope, Pope Leo XIII, entitled, "SATIS COGNITUM (On the Unity of the Church).:" You can read the entire document HERE.
This document discusses how unity is achieved in the Church. Pope Leo states the problem:
7. The heavenly doctrine of Christ, although for the most part committed to writing by divine inspiration, could not unite the minds of men if left to the human intellect alone. It would, for this very reason, be subject to various and contradictory interpretations. This is so, not only because of the nature of the doctrine itself and of the mysteries it involves, but also because of the divergencies of the human mind and of the disturbing element of conflicting passions.In other words, unity will never be achieved by each person deciding for him or herself what it means to follow Jesus Christ. There has to be another way to unite people to Jesus Christ. This obviously meant the creation of the Church and of a single teaching authority, which we now call the Magesterium. As Catholics, we believe the Magesterium is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit and cannot mislead us in faith and morals.
Pope Leo then speaks of a "supreme authority":
11. The nature of this supreme authority, which all Christians are bound to obey, can be ascertained only by finding out what was the evident and positive will of Christ. Certainly Christ is a King for ever; and though invisible, He continues unto the end of time to govern and guard His church from Heaven. But since He willed that His kingdom should be visible He was obliged, when He ascended into Heaven, to designate a vice-gerent on earth.Now comes a most important paragraph:
. . .
Jesus Christ, therefore, appointed Peter to be that head of the Church; and He also determined that the authority instituted in perpetuity for the salvation of all should be inherited by His successors, in whom the same permanent authority of Peter himself should continue. And so He made that remarkable promise to Peter and to no one else: "Thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Matt. xvi., 18).
12. From this text it is clear that by the will and command of God the Church rests upon St. Peter, just as a building rests on its foundation. Now the proper nature of a foundation is to be a principle of cohesion for the various parts of the building. It must be the necessary condition of stability and strength. Remove it and the whole building falls. It is consequently the office of St. Peter to support the Church, and to guard it in all its strength and indestructible unity.
. . .Therefore God confided His Church to Peter so that he might safely guard it with his unconquerable power. He invested him, therefore, with the needful authority; since the right to rule is absolutely required by him who has to guard human society really and effectively.
. . .
Wherefore when Christ promised to give to Peter the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, he promised to give him power and authority over the Church. "The Son committed to Peter the office of spreading the knowledge of His Father and Himself over the whole world. He who increased the Church in all the earth, and proclaimed it to be stronger than the heavens, gave to a mortal man all power in Heaven when He handed him the Keys" (S. Johannes Chrysostomus, Hom. liv., in Matt. v., 2).
In this same sense He says: "Whatsoever thou shall bind upon earth it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth it shall be loosed also in Heaven." This metaphorical expression of binding and loosing indicates the power of making laws, of judging and of punishing; and the power is said to be of such amplitude and force that God will ratify whatever is decreed by it. Thus it is supreme and absolutely independent, so that, having no other power on earth as its superior, it embraces the whole Church and all things committed to the Church.As can be seen in these statements from Pope Leo XIII, the Office of the Papacy cannot lead the Church astray, and therefore to be bound to the Church means to give total allegiance and loyalty to the Pope. This is one of the main reasons for the persecution suffered by the Church down through the centuries. Those outside the Church knew that Catholics would always give allegiance to the Pope above every human authority.
From Pope Leo XIII:
And since all Christians must be closely united in the communion of one immutable faith, Christ the Lord, in virtue of His prayers, obtained for Peter that in the fulfilment of his office he should never fall away from the faith. "But I have asked for thee that thy faith fail not" (Luke xxii., 32), and He furthermore commanded him to impart light and strength to his brethren as often as the need should arise: "Confirm thy brethren" (Ibid.). He willed then that he whom He had designated as the foundation of the Church should be the defence of its faith.Our Lord promised us that the one person on earth whom we could always trust would be Peter. He may not be our personal role model, but we can be assured with no doubt that Peter will never mislead us in the faith. That cannot be said of any other human being.
Pope Leo XIII also teaches in this document that no bishop has any authority unless he is in communion with Peter.
Above all things the need of union between the bishops and the successors of Peter is clear and undeniable. This bond once broken, Christians would be separated and scattered, and would in no wise form one body and one flock. "The safety of the Church depends on the dignity of the chief priest, to whom if an extraordinary and supreme power is not given, there are as many schisms to be expected in the Church as there are priests" (S. Hieronymus, Dialog, contra Luciferianos, n. 9). It is necessary, therefore, to bear this in mind, viz., that nothing was conferred on the apostles apart from Peter, but that several things were conferred upon Peter apart from the Apostles.Pope Leo XIII then makes this unequivocal statement:
15. From this it must be clearly understood that Bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling, if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors; because, by this secession, they are separated from the foundation on which the whole edifice must rest. They are therefore outside the edifice itself; and for this very reason they are separated from the fold, whose leader is the Chief Pastor; they are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone.It is made clear from the above statement that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano and all who follow him have separated themselves from Peter and thus have separated themselves from Christ Himself. "They are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone."
This is not a game of who scores more points against the other. This is about our eternal life. Jesus Christ is never on the side of rebellion and division. Rebellion can dress itself up however it wants, appearing as an angel of light, but that does not change the fundamental nature of what it is: the spirit of Satan.
If you are not with Peter, you are not with the Church and you are not with Christ. Archbishop Vigano seems to be slowly getting this message. I have hope that he will eventually repent of this rebellion against the Chair of Peter and come back into communion with the Church.
But in the meantime, Archbishop Vigano is in a state of schism and heresy, and all those who follow him are on the same road. Pope Francis has the right to formally excommunicate Vigano, just as St. John Paul II did with Marcel LeFebvre. But the Holy Father is showing great mercy by giving more time to Vigano, allowing him to repent and come back on his own.
If things are allowed to continue, and those supporting Vigano become more and more bold in their rebellion against the Holy See, it is inevitable that there will be a great schism in the Church, centered right here in the United States of America.
But if you stay with Peter, you will be with Our Lord because Jesus Christ will never leave His Vicar.
II Thes 2:3:
Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.