4th Letter from Archbishop Viganò

From the Lepanto Foundation, I have the text of a 4th letter made public by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

It is addressed to McCarrick.

Letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

We today publish a fourth document by His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò, dated Sunday January 13th, released on the occasion of the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and of St. Hilary of Poitiers, the indomitable French bishop who, together with Saint Athanasius, kept the faith during the 4th century Aryan heresy. The document is an open letter to Cardinal McCarrick to urge him to repent.

Dear Archbishop McCarrick,

As has been reported as a news by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the accusations against you for crimes against minors and abuses against seminarians are going to be examined and judged very soon with an administrative procedure.

No matter what decision the supreme authority of the Church takes in your case, what really matters and what has saddened those who love you and pray for you is the fact that throughout these months you haven’t given any sign of repentance. I am among those who are praying for your conversion, that you may repent and ask pardon of your victims and the Church.

Time is running out, but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly, since they have themselves become public. Your eternal salvation is at stake.

But something else of great importance is also at stake. You, paradoxically, have at your disposal an immense offer of great hope for you from the Lord Jesus; you are in a position to do great good for the Church. In fact, you are now in a position to do something that has become more important for the Church than all of the good things you did for her throughout your entire life. A public repentance on your part would bring a significant measure of healing to a gravely wounded and suffering Church. Are you willing to offer her that gift? Christ died for us all when we were still sinners (Rom. 5: 8). He only asks that we respond by repenting and doing the good that we are given to do. The good that you are in a position to do now is to offer the Church your sincere and public repentance. Will you give the Church that gift?

I implore you, repent publicly of your sins, so as to make the Church rejoice and present yourself before the tribunal of Our Lord cleansed by His blood. Please, do not make His sacrifice on the cross void for you. Christ, Our Good Lord, continues to love you. Put your entire trust in His Sacred Heart. And pray to Mary, as I and many others are doing, asking her to intercede for the salvation of your soul.

“Maria Mater Gratiae, Mater Misericordiae, Tu nos ab hoste protege et mortis hora suscipe?. Mary Mother of the Grace, Mother of Mercy, protect us from the enemy and welcome us in the hour of death.
Your brother in Christ,

+ Carlo Maria Viganò

Sunday, January 13, 2019
The Baptism of the Lord
Saint Hilary of Poitiers

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  1. Therese says:

    The magnificent and saintly archbishop is in hiding for his life, yet he willingly risks betrayal to write these letters. Such good and holy priests we have, even now.

  2. PostCatholic says:

    To me as an outsider, this seems like the sort of letter that should be endorsed “Personal” rather than an open letter shared with the media. Planks and splinters.

  3. FrAnt says:

    I am not sure why this is an open letter to McCarrick.

  4. Lurker 59 says:

    @PostCatholic — Honestly, trying to keep everything “private” and “personal” is a good chunk of how the Church got into the mess that it is currently in.

    It is a very good thing to hear public calls for repentance of Mr. McCarrick and I am grateful to hear Archbishop Viganò letter. Too often we do not hear the consequences of sin and too often we do not hear of the solution offered by God in both the OT and NT: Repentance!

    St. John the Baptist was not afraid to tell King Herod to publically repent. May the Lord raise up more in the vein of Archbishop Viganò to publically call for the repentance of those abusers and enablers in princely places in the Church.

  5. McCarrick’s situation is public. Archbishop Viganò’s first three letters are public. It seems more than appropriate for this letter to also be public, and it provides us an example to strive toward. (It was not written like some of social media that can come off like “I told you so.”)

  6. Grant M says:

    Matt 18:15 But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.
    16 And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.
    17 And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.

  7. monstrance says:

    Also – I’m guesssing that this is not Viganò’s first correspondence with McCarrick on the matter.
    But, it is probably his last.
    He is not show boating here.
    This is true charity and a genuine concern for a brother.

  8. JustaSinner says:

    Check mate, Cardinal, sir.

  9. Gab says:

    What a beautiful, heartfelt open letter. Hopefully it will also encourage others in the Church, not just McCarrick, to repent and take the state of their soul seriously and not give up hope of God’s mercy. There is something in that letter for all of us sinners, big and small.

  10. teomatteo says:

    I have mixed emotions about such a letter made public and yet… for the love of our sons that we encouraged to enter seminaries a public apology would begin the healing. These men have given so much and they had to endure McCarrick’s disordered advances. I trust Archbishop Vigano.

  11. tho says:

    We are a fortunate people to have Archbishop Vigano. That is a beautiful letter from a man who has been vilified by the Vatican. There is hope for us in our struggles as long as we remember that Jesus suffered and died for each and every one of us.

  12. The Egyptian says:

    wonderful, and kindly, not harsh, needed to be said publicly
    Now Archbishop, keep your head down and keep on the lookout for those albino monk death squads
    May God bless him and keep him safe, from “you know who”

  13. OldProfK says:

    This passage:

    You, paradoxically, have at your disposal an immense offer of great hope for you from the Lord Jesus; you are in a position to do great good for the Church. In fact, you are now in a position to do something that has become more important for the Church than all of the good things you did for her throughout your entire life. A public repentance on your part would bring a significant measure of healing to a gravely wounded and suffering Church.

    reminds me quite a bit of the following passage, from The Two Towers:

    Then I gave him a last choice and a fair one: to renounce both Mordor and his private schemes, and make amends by helping us in our need. He knows our need, none better. Great service he could have rendered.

    The speaker is Gandalf, referring to Saruman.

  14. Joe in Canada says:

    do we know as a fact that McCarrick is guilty of what he is accused of?

  15. TonyO says:

    Joe in Canada, this is exactly what I was thinking about.

    On the one hand: we have accusations of extremely evil acts, not just of crimes against young men but of corrupting them and corrupting (derivatively) all that they subsequently cover up or hide from the Church’s correction. The accusations are bolstered with a very good set of details that strongly support their validity… but that’s not proof. That’s one of the reasons the Church has official rules for investigating such allegations. And, in addition, there is a (possible) sin of rash judgment, where persons who don’t have reasonable basis for concluding that “X has done Y crimes” asserts that he has. We are obliged to avoid rash judgment.

    On the other hand: mathematical proof of guilt is not the only reasonable basis for holding and asserting a position about whether person X has done Y crimes. Canon Law 1741 provides the following reason for the removal of a pastor:

    3 loss of a good reputation among upright and responsible parishioners or an aversion to the pastor which it appears will not cease in a brief time;

    By specifying that the parishioners are “upright and responsible” the canon excludes those making rash judgments. Yet if the pastor is proven to be guilty of the delicts by which he has lost their good reputation, then article 1 would apply and there would be no reason to get to article 3. The canon is envisioning situations where people in general “know” that the pastor is engaging in wrongful behavior (say, an ongoing relationship with a woman) not by knowledge that would stand as proof in a court of law but by the general knowledge which people have in their communities, or by circumstantial evidence that is (rightly) convincing though not definitive.

    Even more importantly, though sometimes lost in the shuffle of information: unlike civil law, canon law (as far as I understand it) provides no official license to the accused that he need not admit his own guilt (i.e. no 5th amendment against testifying against oneself). Indeed, a Catholic priest would (in some sense) have a positive obligation to make his delicts known to his superiors who are investigating same, at least to the extent of answering truthfully if they ask “did you do X action of which you are accused by Z witness?” I believe that there is no room for the permission under civil law by which a guilty defendant is allowed to plead “not guilty” wherein he engages in the (understood) mental addition of “not for purposes of the law, by which I assert that it is at least ‘not proven’ “.

    In addition, we may reasonably presume that as a result of the year 2000 civil settlement and other events, which came to the attention of the Vatican under Benedict’s reign, and for which McCarrick’s actions were considered and were the subject reprimand, that those officials were themselves acting on the basis of a reasonable assurance of the validity of the actions alleged.

    Therefore, even before there is a conclusion to an official investigation into the allegations, it is not impossible that upright persons can assert that McCarrick has done things that are worthy of grave censure. And when one examines the nature of the evidence and supports for the allegations, and the nature of the “defenses” issued on McCarrick’s behalf, it becomes obvious that even his defenders do not think he is innocent of the allegations.

  16. TonyO says:

    That said, I am puzzled about why Archbishop Vigano would think this letter calls for being made public. Yes, it is true that McC does owe a public apology in order to help offset the scandal he caused. And yes, ANY good Catholic could express to McC his hope that McC will man up to his obligations (including those that are obligations to the public). But that McC owes public apology and that any of us can ask him to do the right thing, that does not mean Vigano’s letter belongs in the public forum. Why should it? (Nor does it mean that the letter is “secret” in any special sense: it doesn’t divulge secret information.) But by what pathway do we arrive at the conclusion that Archbishop Vigano specially has a place in _publicly_ calling on McC to repent. Vigano is not in any sense a superior to McC or one with authority in the matter, why is it his place to make this appeal public?

    Is it only because Vigano doesn’t have personal and direct access to McC? So send him a letter to his current address.

  17. Charivari Rob says:

    It is a personal admonition, made public. No, that it isn’t quite correct. It’s what could have been a personal admonition, made publicly – “Look, everyone! See what I am saying to him!”

    There is little benefit and much harm in doing it that way.

    He could have appealed to and/or admonished McCarrick in personal, private communication (recently). Perhaps he did. We wouldn’t know – that’s the point of “private”. Whether or not he did, however, broadcasting the message torpedoes the idea.

    He could have published a public letter with his thoughts about episcopal responsibility for souls. He did not, instead choosing to hammer away at McCarrick.

    With each additional dramatic statement after the first, +Vigano tends more and more to “diminishing returns” (at best).

  18. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    Can anyone actually confirm the letter was really written by Vigano?

    Some have commented on the oddities of such a public letter. It actually makes Vigano look bad to demand such a thing – and that could easily be the intent of someone purporting to be Vigano.

    Remember, he’s in “hiding”, which makes it easier for others to forge/fake written letters, emails, etc.

    In the digital age, be cautious to believe such things. The first letter(s) by Vigano seemed to be genuine and real. This last one? It seems to be a bit of a change from previous letters.

  19. Semper Gumby says:

    Lurker 59, Grant M, et al: Good points.

    Fr. Murray wrote an open letter to McCarrick, Fr. Z posted it on 19 September.

  20. MrsMacD says:

    To those who wonder why this needs to be public, consider that many do not have a firm grounding in their Faith and many might wonder what the true Catholic attitude is. He’s leading the charge. Pray for McCarrick, he needs to repent!

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