Why was Archbp. Viganò publicly polite to disgraced ex-Card McCarrick? Answered.

DailyWire has a piece with 7 points in reference to Francis and Viganò and what they knew and if they are telling the truth.

In that piece the writer rightly points out a weak point in Viganò’s claims:

If there is perhaps one Achilles heel to Viganó’s testimony on this, it is the video of him attending the Pontifical Mission Societies gala in 2012, six months after the supposed sanctions were allegedly known to him, in which he expressly honored McCarrick in a speech, even going as far to say that the Cardinal was “very much loved by us all.” See below:

In his defense, Viganó has stated he was strictly following protocol as Nuncio, which gave him no authority to enforce the sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick. Such actions were in the jurisdiction of D.C. Cardinal Wuerl, whom Viganó says undermined Pope Benedict’s order.

“I was just at the beginning of my mission and no one knew about the measure,” the former Nuncio told NCR. “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.

Remember that Viganò was a long time diplomat. Remember too that he is Italian.

When I working in a Curial office I was at first rather taken aback by the style of letters I had to write, with flowery – to American ears – phrases and formulae. Why not just get to the point? What’s with acknowledging receipt of “Your Excellency’s is most esteemed letter under date of…”?

I eventually figured it out. The elaborate courtesy and formulae allowed people to sincerely disliked each other and vehemently disagreed to continue to communicate and get things done.

That Viganò treated me ex-Card. McDisgrace as he did reflects his training and his Curial experience.

Also, imagine what was going through ex-Card’s mind as he listened to the polite words from Viganò!

There’s a verse in Holy Writ about heaping hot coals on foreheads.

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  1. veritas vincit says:

    Father Z, I think you nailed it.

  2. Lisieux says:

    I imagine that Viganò would have had quite a bit on his conscience (haven’t we all?) – and his testimony is quite clearly presented as an attempt (among other things) to clear his conscience in preparation for facing his Maker. I don’t see why the linked speech can possibly be used to discredit him: it seems to support what he’s now done.

  3. Gerard Plourde says:

    I’m confused. The gala was held in New York where the Pontifical Mission Society of the US is headquartered. Does that implicate Cardinal Dolan as well, since at the time he was not only Archbishop of New York, but also president of the national bishops’ conference (his term ran from 2010 to 2013)?

  4. crjs1 says:

    When politeness and etiquette supersedes the need for public condemnation of a sexual predator we really are in very dark times.

    While I understand the incredibly difficult position Viganò was in back in 2011 and I would no doubt do the same, it still doesn’t sit well at all.

  5. Archlaic says:

    I am very encouraged that Abp. Viganò has been able to present a logical and (where possible) well-documented rationale for just about everything his detractors have thrown at his “testimony”:
    – “quashed the Nienstedt investigation” – NOPE!
    – “snuck Kim Davis into a group audience with no prior notice or approval” – NOPE!
    – “see he was really OK with McCarrick…” – NOPE!
    – “was mad he wasn’t in line for a red hat” – NOPE!

    However I am discouraged by the fact that – despite the transparent and expeditious manner in which these items have been corrected – so far, these corrections do not seem to be making it into the MSM (and “catholic” media) coverage except perhaps in the barest terms e.g “Viganò has denied this…”

    Talk about controlling the narrative!

  6. fmsb78 says:

    It’s quite natural in the Latin world (Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Latin America colonized by these countries) to be kind and show a smiley face to people you want to kill with a pyroclastic flow out of one’s eyes lol.

    It’s awful that the only resource here is that of killing the messenger. Regardless cultural differences, if a person is not guilty, he denies and presents the evidence to support it. That’s it, that simple.

  7. Gab says:

    What was Vigano supposed to do in that situation? Booo him?

  8. Dan says:

    I have to admit, sometimes Romans 12:20 gets me through the day and keeps my tongue in check.

  9. mike cliffson says:

    Spain is less flowery than it was : you used to end official requests for the most mundane official actions in many flowery ways, such as verbally kissing the hand of the higher official, (usually referred to as most excellent or most illustrious gentleman , or may be for Franco a simple excellency sufficed.) of the department you were adressing, let alone referring to yourself in the third person. . In the (brit) house of commons you must at least refer to other M.P. s as the honourable member for (constituency, eg central back-of-beyond, wales), and” my honourable friend ” is often enunciated in such a way and with a pause and a look that give a lie to the formality. ( all on TV for some time now and available by internet I expect) Surely American assemblies have some protocol also ?
    Beyond that my opinion is the contrary , that it would have been scandalous on such an official but not liturgical occassion, for a nuncio to refer to anything untoward, very, in the church, yet legal in the country concerned . Even had there been guilty verdicts found under American law against a person,( had there been ? or had they been avoided by prepayouts with silence clauses before any open trial? which prominent people not in fact guilty may well acceed to to avoid hassle and scandal, after all) many such verdicts have been less than just , that would still have been neither the time nor the place to give them diplomatic credence, in effect saying, not just my opinion, or even my personal knowledge , but in the view of the Holy See , a foreign state, accusations against this American citizen have been deemed well founded despite no American court ever saying anything.
    Do the guilty hide behind such things? Yes.What are the words the playwright puts in St Thomas More’s mouth when defending such with his future son inlaw Roper, in a “man for all seasons”?

  10. edm says:

    Mike Cliffson,
    Yes, love the formalities.
    I have a style book from the 1970s in Spain which still had as a closing for formal letters as “Kissing the foot…” etc.
    I would not read much into this video clip. Mere official expectations and formalities.

  11. WmHesch says:

    One of Paul VI’s achievements was pruning the flowers on Curial correspondence. I, for one, couldn’t stomach concluding a letter “KISSING THE SACRED PURPLE…”

  12. benedetta says:

    Some years ago, I was told a direct quote from Theodore McCarrick from someone who knew him well: “Where two or three are gathered, there are politics”. Looking back, it makes sense that someone with his profile would also bastardize scripture in that way.

  13. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I dont think anyone owes anyone any explanation for why they were publicly polite to someone else. I think if we must interact even with an enemy in public, we should attempt to be polite…

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    To me the lack of such civility can be no better expressed than today’s hearing for SCOTUS candidate Brett Kavanaugh. It was rightly called mob rule. The Left are nothing but obstructionists and violent hooligans. We need to rediscover genteel language and politeness. We are in moral free fall. Hey thanks Church!

  15. Charles E Flynn says:


    We can hope that the surname “Kavanaugh” is not turned into a verb, as was “Bork”.

  16. Charivari Rob says:

    If an explanation for politeness and decorum in public conduct is so widely needed, we’re in even worse trouble than we though.

  17. cajunpower says:

    I don’t find this explanation to be satisfactory. Either McCarrick had been sanctioned by the Pope for sexually abusing seminarians, or he hadn’t. And if he had, and Vigano knew, then there’s really no need for that kind of flattery. Papering over sins with pleasantries is the very reason why we’re in the mess we’re in.

    But that’s really beside the point. Either Vigano’s testimony is true or it’s not. And McCarrick is but one in a long series of degenerate prelates and priests rehabilitated and/or promoted by Pope Francis (Daneels, Ricca, Barros, &c.). It’s hard to believe that not one Bishop has pointed out that, to the extent there are any questions about whether Vigano’s testimony is true, it is incontrovertible that Pope Francis rehabilitated Daneels with knowledge of his many heinous sins, that Pope Francis repeatedly insulted Chilean Catholics who were horrified that Bishop Barros had been foisted upon them by Pope Francis, etc., etc.

    What if Benedict XVI had been accompanied onto the loggia at St. Peter’s Basilica by someone with Daneels’ record? What if he had allowed someone with Daneels’ record to read aloud the formal prayer for the new Pope at his inauguration Mass? What if he had also appointed someone with Daneels’ record to a position of power and honor at the Synod on the Family? We can be sure that any silence on the part of Benedict XVI would not have been deemed virtuous.

  18. Pingback: Viganò Watch: VVednesday Edition – Big Pulpit

  19. Malta says:

    I use flowery language towards those I can’t stand. “Hold your friends close, but hold your enemies closer.”

  20. Malta says:

    “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
    ? Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

    Sun Tzu also comes to mind. The Art of Deception is real in the Intelligence World, no less the Vatican. Tzu says when treading around wolves, you act like a fox. My guess is Vigano was trying to flatter McCarrick to take him off-guard. En garde, touche; and then the kill shot. But this time the arrow was also pointed at the ‘pope’ himself.

  21. tzabiega says:

    First of all, the Holy See’s diplomats are certainly the best in the world. On a regular basis around the world they have to be in touch and friendly terms with some of the worse murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc. you can imagine. But they are trained to deal with all of them in such a way as to get things done, including protecting Catholics and other, getting them out of jail, allowing Catholics to be able to worship, etc. This style has resulted in millions of lives saved (for example during the Holocaust) and has allowed the Holy See, for example, to block pro-abortion measures in the UN because they have such good relations with non-Christian countries around the world. And these Holy See diplomats know how to say things without lying. After all, we should all love Cardinal McCarrick, we should all love the ISIS and Taliban terrorists, etc., because as Catholic Christians we should love everyone (but not necessarily like them). So Cardinal Vigano said nothing wrong and could not have said anything else at the time. The fact is that until Cardinal Cupich was put into the Congregation of Bishops, Vigano was able to secure the appointment of many awesome orthodox and conservative American bishops. One of them (an energetic pro-life and orthodox bishop) whom I met talked to me about how much he loved Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, though he was appointed by Pope Francis who he didn’t mention even once! I am sure he knew his appointment was due thanks to Archbishop Vigano, who was a blessing to our country as Papal Nuncio.

  22. gretta says:

    So this is what I don’t understand about this.

    Abp. Vigano finds out that in 2012 he has been invited to attend the Pontifical Mission Societies gala, six months after the supposed sanctions were allegedly known to him. Not only is Abp Vigano invited to attend, but he is expected to give a speech in which he expressly honored McCarrick. But Abp Vigano is not just a diplomat, he is the diplomatic ambassador from the Holy See to the US. He is the direct representative of Pope Benedict, and diplomatically speaks with the Pope’s voice.

    So knowing about the unofficial penalties that McCarrick is supposed to be under, what is the logical thing a diplomat does? The logical thing to do is that he immediately consults with his “government” about what to do. Presumably, he would have had this invitation weeks before the event. This would not have been “sprung” on him. And he is new in the position. So isn’t the logical course of action that he would make the phone call or other communication to the Vatican asking for explicit instructions about what to do? Wouldn’t the logical thing be to contact Pope Benedict and see how the pope wants him to respond in this situation? So either Abp. Vigano consulted Pope Benedict about this and he isn’t saying so. Or he didn’t, which seems really strange given the gravity of the situation and the extremely awkward diplomatic position this puts him in. Under what circumstances (after having been expressly told about the penalties) does he not go back and say, “Holy Father, I’ve been put in this untenable situation. I directly represent you, your voice, and your authority in the US. You have exercised your authority to penalize a cardinal who is now being honored, he’s accepting the honor, and I have been asked to speak on your behalf and honor him in a public speech. What do you want me to do?”

    So…assuming that Vigano did what any competent ambassador would do, why didn’t Pope Benedict act? Why didn’t he (via his secretary) call Cardinal Wuerl and tell him to get the event cancelled? Why didn’t he contact McCarrick and tell him to refuse the honor? Why didn’t Pope Benedict have his ambassador/nuncio’s back on this? There are all kinds of options that Pope Benedict could have done to shut this event down, protect his ambassador, and get him out of this situation. But we know that didn’t happen, because Vigano gave the speech.

    This is breaking my heart, but it doesn’t make any sense to me why Pope Benedict would allow his local alter-ego to speak for him in this way if he was really serious that McCarrick was under penalty.

  23. NBW says:

    Vigano being polite to McCormick is the way a DIPLOMAT should act. This is what diplomats should do; be diplomatic and handle things politely. Being diplomatic is a foreign concept to most liberals; especially in the media. They just resort to name calling and insults.

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