Archbp. Viganò offers thoughts on The Present Crisis before the Rome “Summit”

At the National Catholic Register, there is a series of op-ed pieces by well-known figures.

Today they published one by Archbp. Carlo Maria Viganò.

Despite Grave Problems, the Lord Will Never Abandon His Church
REGISTER SYMPOSIUM: I continue to have hope, because the Lord will never abandon his Church.

Archbishop Carlo Viganò

I thank you for inviting me to take part in this symposium on “Abuse and the Way to Healing” in anticipation of the upcoming bishops’ summit at the Vatican. My contribution will draw on my personal experience of 51 years of priesthood.

It is evident to all that a primary cause of the present terrible crisis of sexual abuse committed by ordained clergy, including bishops, is the lack of proper spiritual formation of candidates to the priesthood. That lack, in turn, is largely explained by the doctrinal and moral corruption of many seminary formators, corruption that increased exponentially beginning in the 1960s.

I entered a pontifical seminary in Rome and began my studies at the Gregorian University when I was 25 years old. It was 1965, just months before the end of Vatican II. I couldn’t help but notice, not only in my own college but also in many others in Rome, that some seminarians were very immature and that these houses of formation were marked by a general and very serious lack of discipline.

A few examples will suffice. Seminarians sometimes spent the night outside my seminary, as the supervision was woefully inadequate. Our spiritual director was in favor of priestly ordination ad tempus — the idea that ordained priesthood could be a merely temporary status.  [We got that, too.  We got a lot of Schillebeeckx and that sort of rubbish from a heretic who eventually quit… thanks be to God.]

At the Gregorian, one of the professors of moral theology favored situation ethics. [ditto… and Curran and McCormick, etc.  There was one good prof, however.] And some classmates confided to me that their spiritual directors had no objection to their presenting themselves for priestly ordination despite their unresolved and continual grave sins against chastity.

Certainly, those who suffer from deep-seated same-sex attraction should never be admitted to seminary. [This was a huge problem at SPS in my day.] Moreover, before any seminarian is accepted for ordination, he must not only strive for chastity but actually achieve it. He must already be living chaste celibacy peacefully and for a prolonged period of time, for if this is lacking, the seminarian and his formators cannot have the requisite confidence that he is called to the celibate life.

Bishops have the paramount responsibility for the formation of their candidates to the priesthood. Any bishop who has covered up abuse or seduction of minors, vulnerable adults or adults under a priest’s pastoral care, including seminarians, is not fit for that responsibility or for any episcopal ministry and should be removed from his office.

I am praying intensely for the success of the February summit. Although I would rejoice greatly if the summit were successful, the following questions reveal that there is no sign of a genuine willingness to attend to the real causes of the present situation:

  • Why will the meeting focus exclusively on the abuse of minors? [The reason is obvious.] These crimes are indeed the most horrific, but the crises in the United States and Chile that have largely precipitated the upcoming summit have to do with abuses committed against young adults, including seminarians, not only against minors. Almost nothing has been said about sexual misconduct with adults, which is itself a grave abuse of pastoral authority, whether or not the relationship was “consensual.”
  • Why does the word “homosexuality” never appear in recent official documents of the Holy See? [The reason is obvious.] This is by no means to suggest that most of those with a homosexual inclination are abusers, but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of abuse has been inflicted on post-pubescent boys by homosexual clerics. It is mere hypocrisy to condemn the abuse and claim to sympathize with the victims without facing up to this fact honestly. A spiritual revitalization of the clergy is necessary, but it will be ultimately ineffectual if it does not address this problem.
  • Why does Pope Francis keep and even call as his close collaborators people who are notorious homosexuals? [They are easily controlled.] Why has he refused to answer legitimate and sincere questions about these appointments? In doing so he has lost credibility on his real will to reform the Curia and fight the corruption.

In my third testimony, I begged the Holy Father to face up to the commitments he himself made in assuming his office as Successor of Peter. I pointed out that he took upon himself the mission of confirming his brothers and guiding all souls in following Christ along the way of the cross. I urged him then, and I now urge him again, to tell the truth, repent, show his willingness to follow the mandate given to Peter and, once converted, to confirm his brothers (Luke 22:32).

I pray that the bishops gathered in Rome will remember the Holy Spirit, whom they received with the imposition of hands, and carry out their responsibility to represent their particular Churches by firmly asking for, and insisting on, an answer to the above questions during the summit.

Indeed, I pray that they will not return to their countries without proper answers to these questions, for to fail in this regard would mean abandoning their own flocks to the wolves and allowing the entire Church to suffer dreadful consequences.

Despite the problems I have described, I continue to have hope, because the Lord will never abandon his Church.

Archbishop Carlo Viganò is the former apostolic nuncio to the United States.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Johann says:

    God bless his Grace Archbishop Vigano. He is proof that there are still shepherds who want to propagate the faith, because he has sacrificed so much, including a comfortable retirement and his pension, in defence of our Church that he loves. I will continue to pray for his safety and that he will be vindicated.

  2. Unwilling says:

    Although what Archbp. Vigano says is true including his identification of poor spiritual formation as a cause of the current disorder, rectifying the contextual situation would/will be beyond the powers of man. It is a gobsmacking mystery to me what is meant (Providentially) by the fact that Pope Francis does all these things and yet recommends and even distributes A. Tanqueray’s The Spiritual Life. [Fr Z. 20181222]

  3. Amerikaner says:

    In addition to all this, I am sure Archbishop Vigano is praying for McCarrick’s conversion and repentance. While laicization was appropriate, I am shocked that there has been no peep of apology or repentance from McCarrick. I am worried that he is mired in obstinance and self-delusion, especially dangerous considering his age. May he still truly repent and ask for God’s mercy. Despite his evil sins, I wish he would still be saved eventually.

    And that leads me to the upcoming meeting. I predict that not only will homosexuality discussions be avoided but that the talks will not reach a proper spiritual level. It will only rely on the human. And with that only, it will fail.

  4. Malta says:


    The sad thing is most of this money came from pensioners not Walls Street brokers. And what we have seen is still only the tip of the iceberg. In my line of work–and I deal with sex abuse–only a small minority of victims come forward. Is God sleeping? The thing with sexually abusing minors is you take a part of them, and they NEVER fully recover. Their suicide rate is twice as high as the general population, for instance. And then you have fat-cow bishops and cardinals yucking it up, eating and drinking with glee who don’t–in their hearts–give a shite about our most vulnerable ones.

  5. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    This is another good op-ed by the Great Archbishop Vigano.

    The problem, as many have already noted, is the individuals leading the so-called “Summit”. It is essentially the “inmates running the asylum” – similar to the “Dallas Charter”, which was apparently run in part by McCarrick.

    Many of the homosexuals involved in abuse and cover-up appear to support the heresy (or a variation of the heresy) that “everyone goes to heaven”. It is basically presumption, which is a sin against the Holy Spirit, and there appear to be many clergy and laity that are blinded by this presumption.

    The McCarrick-Vatican scandal was a direct result of that false mercy.

    As Archbishop Vigano also notes, the bishops were given the gift of the Holy Spirit. And, as God says, the Holy Spirit will “convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”. What is needed most at the present time is for clergy to convince the world concerning sin.

    Very few clergy are willing convince the world concerning sin and rebuke the evil-doer, and the “Summit” could address this need to return to rebuking sin – particularly the sin of homosexuality.

    Those that do rebuke the evil-doer should focus on Matthew 7 and Luke 13, which both clearly state that “many” people, including false Christians, think (assume, presume) they are going to heaven, but when they stand before Jesus, they will be condemned to hell. Jesus clearly states that many people think they are Christians and friends of Jesus, when in reality they are not. Why? In many instances it is because they have altered His Words – particularly His words on “mercy” and sin.

    Very few people seem to realize the gravity of those Gospel verses -particularly duplicitous clergy and laity, and particularly those that propagate false accusations.

    And, to that end, the “Summit” should also discuss foreseeable false accusations that will arise in the future. One particular American bishop appears to have been a victim of an absurd false accusation, and the false accusation appears to have gravely harmed his good name and his ministry, even though he was not guilty.

  6. RichR says:

    This Bishop makes me want to strive for holiness. How much grace is being showered down on this brave soul?

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    Thank you to Abp. Vigano for stating the truth and asking the questions the poor laity might ask if given the opportunity.
    One point, and it doesn’t seem minor. He said the church should not be ordaining men “with deep seated homosexual attractions”. It should be obvious we should never ordain a man with any homosexual attractions whatsoever. None. Zero.

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    When an image from the works of Gustave Doré is used to introduce an article, you know that ahead lies at least one weighty theme.

  9. robtbrown says:


    Recommending Tanqueray is another strike against Francis, as far as I am concerned. It represents much of what was wrong during the Counter Reformation Church.

    Read Garrigou’s Three Ages, Arintero’s Mystical Evolution, or the two volumes of Pere Marie Eugene OCD (I Want to See God and I Am A Daughter of the Church).

    Or Aumann’s books–they are not the quality of the above but worth reading.

  10. robtbrown says:

    Bellarmino says

    It is essentially the inmate running the asylum

    Perhaps better: The monkeys running the zoo*

    * With a grateful nod to HLMencken

  11. robtbrown says:

    Abp Vigano’ is of course correct about the shoddy theological formation involved in all the problems of priests and religious.

    The problem is that the liturgy continues to reflect that theological garbage.

  12. Gab says:

    I think I could use a tipple of Tanqueray right about now. No ice, of course.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless Abp. Vigano.

    Bellarmino Vianney: Good point about the gravity of the Gospel. Some clergy and laity insist on building their foundation on sand, however: There is a Heaven, there is a Hell, neither is empty.

Comments are closed.