Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has responded to two videos published which some have argued shows that he is not giving an accurate recollection of events in his recent testimony.
In a first video, the former nuncio is seen greeting Pope Francis for the first time, at a meeting of all the Holy See’s nuncios in Rome on June 21, 2013:
In his recollection of the event in his testimony, Archbishop Viganò writes:
When it was my turn, I just had time to say to him, ‘I am the Nuncio to the United States.’ He immediately assailed me with a tone of reproach, using these words: ‘The Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized! They must be shepherds!’
Archbishop Viganò claimed that the Pope ‘upbraided’ him with the words and that he had hoped to extricate himself from an ‘extremely disconcerting and embarrassing situation.’
The video shows what appears to be the beginning of a polite and warm conversation but stops just after the introductions.
For Archbishop Viganò, what was left out was crucial: “It was cut just as the Pope’s face became severe with me,” he told the Register Aug. 30. “Why has it been cut at that particular moment?”
He said the Holy Father was smiling but “as soon as I told him I’m also a nuncio in the U.S., he immediately, started [pointing] a finger and gesticulating.” The cutting of the video at the crucial moment, he said, were reminiscent of a “Soviet Union system.”
In a second video, Archbishop Viganò is shown giving a speech at the Pontifical Mission Society in New York six months after taking up his post. He expresses warm words for then-Cardinal McCarrick, saying he was “very much loved by us all.”
Abp Carlo Maria Vigano at a gala honoring then-Cardinal McCarrick in May 2012, six months after the archbishop now says he was given instructions about Pope Benedict's supposed sanctioning of McCarrick. pic.twitter.com/x1XAc0qUlS— Cindy Wooden (@Cindy_Wooden) August 29, 2018
In response to that video, Viganò said: “I was just at the beginning of my mission and no one knew about the measure. [Cardinal] Wuerl and McCarrick knew, because I’d already told McCarrick repeatedly about this measure taken by Pope Benedict, but I couldn’t make the slightest impression that I had something against the cardinal in public.
“So as usual on these occasions, I made an appreciation, everybody loves you and so on, but this doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t prove anything,” he said.
This is something that many find problematic: that despite prelates having very serious concerns about some of their brother bishops, publicly they continue to give them the same courtesy afforded those without such failings.
It is of course easier to say in hindsight, but the inconsistency is something that continues to be a source of question and concern.