Saturday, July 6, 2019

“Do you see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse? If not, what is missing?” —Question from the Washington Post this spring to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano (link)

“The signs I see are truly ominous. Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusersAnswer from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano (link)

“I received worrisome information about him.” —Archbishop Vigano, in his “Testimony” of August 25, 2018, speaking briefly and without details about Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Robinson Peña Parra. It was the first public indication of concerns about Peña Parra

Pope Francis is known to act decisively when he feels he has been betrayed. It would be ironic — but still very welcome — if this Pope’s gift to the Church should be the disclosure and elimination of the lavender mafia. Whatever the outcome, it is an article of faith that Divine Providence is never predictable, and cannot be contained. All things serve the purposes of the Lord.” —American Catholic writer Dr. Jeff Mirus, in an essay yesterday, July 5, entitled “The Peña Parra case: An excellent test of Archbishop Vigano’s credibility” (link)

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” —Proverbs 16

CNS photo/Paul Haring

CNS/Paul Haring

Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, 59 (top), since last fall the third-highest ranking official in the Vatican, and (bottom) retired Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 78

A Preliminary Attempt

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano recently issued a call for an investigation of allegations against Archbishop Edgar Robinson Pena Parra of homosexual misconduct, and an alleged cover-up of those allegations by high-ranking Church officials.

The call was published on July 3 by LifeSiteNews (link).

In much of the Roman Curia, however, the allegations are being dismissed as false, part of a politically-motivated attack on Pope Francis and his papacy, so there is a strong current against dignifying the charges in any way — including, against launching a full-scale investigation of the allegations…

This letter is an attempt to begin to get at the truth of the matter.

Allegations of a Cover-up

Less than a year ago, Archbishop Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, 59 (he was born in 1960) was named by Pope Francis to be the Substitute (“Sostituto“) for the Holy See’s Secretariat of State.

But soon after the announcement of his appointment, there began to be reports that there was “worrisome information” in the dossier the Vatican had compiled on him.

And, in October 2018, documents began to appear in the Italian press attacking his character and making allegations against him.

The appointment was made on August 15, 2018 (just in the days after the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by priests over the past half century), to become effective on October 15, 2018.

The appointment made Peña Parra the third-highest ranking official in the Roman Curia, after Pope Francis himself and Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Peña Parra had joined the diplomatic corps of the Holy See in 1993. He had served as Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan from 2011 to 2015 and to Mozambique from 2015 to 2018.

Notably, he had also served for several years, 2002 to 2005, in Honduras, where he came to know well one of the Pope’s closest advisors, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., a Salesian and the current Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the nation’s capital. Maradiaga had been President of the Latin American Episcopal Conference from 1995 to 1999, and had been elevated to the cardinalate in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

There have in recent months been many complaints from seminarians about homosexual immorality in the seminary of the capital city (link), and other worrisome accusations of financial improprieties (and link)

Peña Parra is the first Venezuelan to serve as an Apostolic Nuncio. He is fluent in Spanish, Italian, English, French, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian.

Until the time of Pius XII the role of the Substitute was important but not central. Giovanni Battista Montini, holding that position, thanks to his great capacity for work and the trust given him by Pope Pacelli, made the office of the Substitute more decisive. More than the successive reforms of the Curia, the personality of the men who held the position determined the weight and the ever-increasing influence of the role, as happened in the decade 1967-1977 at the time of the powerful Substitute Archbishop Giovanni Benelli. The Substitute of the Secretariat of State is a sort of “minister of internal affairs,” who is in charge of coordinating all the offices of the Holy See and has constant and direct access to the Pope. He also coordinates the activity of the pontiff’s apostolic journeys and deals with of the administration of all the Vatican’s nunciatures.

(1) The first public allegation against Peña Parra: Vigano’s “Testimony,” August 25, 2018: “I received worrisome information about him” (link)

The first public suggestion of any concern about Peña Parra came in Archbishop Vigano’s famous 11-page “Testimony,” made public on the night of August 25, 2018.

The text may be found in several places on the internet, including in PDF format (which keeps the page numbers of the original) here. But the Lifesitenews link is useful because the text is not a PDF and so may be copied and pasted (link).

On page 9 of the August 2018 document, in the context of several sentences expressing concerns about homosexual activity in the diocesan seminary of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, which 50 seminarians protested against, Vigano writes (and I have bold-faced the key sentence, toward the end):

The latter [Cardinal Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa] is so confident of the Pope’s protection that he can dismiss as “gossip” the heartfelt appeals of dozens of his seminarians, who found the courage to write to him after one of them tried to commit suicide over homosexual abuse in the seminary.


In the case of the former Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda, after the article published in the [Italian] weekly L’Espresso last February, Maradiaga stated in the newspaper Avvenire: “It was my auxiliary bishop Pineda who asked for the visitation, so as to ‘clear’ his name after being subjected to much slander.” Now, regarding Pineda the only thing that has been made public is that his resignation has simply been accepted, thus making any possible responsibility of his and Maradiaga vanish into nowhere.

In the name of the transparency so hailed by the Pope, the report that the Visitator, Argentine bishop Alcides Casaretto, delivered more than a year ago only and directly to the Pope, must be made public.

Finally, the recent appointment as Substitute of Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra is also connected with Honduras, that is, with Maradiaga. From 2003 to 2007 Peña Parra worked as Counselor at the Tegucigalpa Nunciature. As Delegate for Pontifical Representations I received worrisome information about him. [emphasis added]

In Honduras, a scandal as huge as the one in Chile is about to be repeated. The Pope defends his man, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, to the bitter end, as he had done in Chile with Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros, whom he himself had appointed Bishop of Osorno against the advice of the Chilean Bishops. First he insulted the abuse victims. Then, only when he was forced by the media, and a revolt by the Chilean victims and faithful, did he recognize his error and apologize, while stating that he had been misinformed, causing a disastrous situation for the Church in Chile, but continuing to protect the two Chilean Cardinals Errazuriz and Ezzati.

So in this first mention of Peña Parra, there are no details whatsoever, only an emphasis on his connection with Cardinal Maradiaga, and with Maradiaga’s auxiliary bishop, Juan José Pineda, now retired.

All that Archbishop Vigano said in August of 2018, a year ago, before Peña Parra began on October 15 to serve as “Sostituto,” is that “I received worrisome information about him.” Nothing more.

(2) First detailed press account of the allegations: October 18, 2018

Then, on October 18 last year — so, just as Peña Parra was beginning to serve in his post — serious allegations regarding his conduct as a young man appeared in an Italian secular magazine, l’Espresso. (link)

The article introduces a 25-page “Dossier” on Peña Parra, authored by a group of “Laity of the Archdiocese of Maracaibo.”

It is dated August 24, 2018.

The authors of this dossier say they believe Pope Francis appointed Pena Parra to such an important post because he was “deceived or ill-informed by his collaborators.”

We may, for convenience sake, call this dossier the “Maracaibo Dossier.” (I have obtained a copy.)

The l’Espresso piece was authored by an Italian investigative journalist, Emiliano Fittipaldi, who has focused particularly on financial corruption, in the city of Rome and in the Vatican. His work contains evidence that he has one or more well-informed “sources” inside the Vatican…

Fittipaldi was one of the two book-authors at the time of the “Vatileaks II” affair in 2015-2016. In 2015, he published Avarizia, on the economic scandals of the Vatican, at the same time as Gianluigi Nuzzi‘s Via Crucis.

Fittipaldi’s investigation into waste and financial management in the Vatican and his scoop on the costly renovation of the top-floor Vatican apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone were picked up by media all over the world. (For that book, the Vatican put him on trial, together with his colleague Nuzzi, but he was acquitted for lack of jurisdiction.)

In 2017, Fittipaldi published Lussuria, which denounced the phenomenon of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the protections he argued were “guaranteed” by the Vatican hierarchy.

His October 18, 2018 article on the Peña Parra case is entitled “Darkness in the Vatican: Behold the latest scandal” and subtitled “Accusations of ‘immoral conduct’ against the new Number Two of the Secretariat of State. And the Pope says: ‘It’s an attack against me.'” (link)

The article says that the “Maracaibo Dossier” was sent via email to a number of monsignors and cardinals in the Vatican.

If this is true — and it seems likely that it is — then the information in this “Maracaibo Dossier” has been known by many Church leaders since October 2018, nine months now.

So, citing this “Maracaibo Dossier,” for the first time, actual documentary evidence was published in a widely-read venue, though still, only in Italian, not in English.

Of course, as with any dossier, everything depends on whether the documents included are authentic.

If they are altered, or invented, or somehow faked, then they are, obviously, of no value — except to provide evidence of a campaign of defamation which will stop at nothing to defame a targeted person.

And, we are told by Fittipaldi, some in the Vatican — including, allegedly, Pope Francis himself, who is said to be aware of the dossier — believe that the documents in the “Maracaibo Dossier” have been, or at least may have been, falsified in some way, and so are of no value in judging the character and action of Peña Parra.

(But then, it would seem, this might be one more reason to have a full, exhaustive investigation by competent experts to examine these alleged documents…)

The first key document is a letter dated February 26, 1985, written in Spanish. (A PDF copy of the letter is included in Fittipaldi’s story, and can be viewed here.)

The letter purports to be written by the then-archbishop of Maracaibo, Venezuela, Domingo Roa Perez, and discusses the character and career of Pena Parra. (Perez died in the year 2000, so he is not available to confirm or deny his authorship of this letter.)

The letter is addressed to the rector of the first seminary attended by Peña Parra, the Seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in San Cristobal, Venezuela. The rector’s name: Monsignor Pio Leon Cardenas. (I do not know whether he is still alive.)

Pena Parra, born in 1960, was, in February 1985, 24 years old, about to turn 25. His ordination as a priest is scheduled for six months from the time of the writing of this letter, for August 23, 1985.

Archbishop Roa Pérez tells the seminary rector Leon Cardenas that he has had doubts about the candidate for some time, and has just received an anonymous letter.

“Dear Monsignor,” Archbishop Roa Perez writes, “in this beloved seminary, the young Edgar Robinson Peña Parra studied philosophy. The reports concerning his habits were quite negative, so the management decided not to let him continue. Thinking that the error was perhaps not so serious as to exclude him definitively from the seminary… I decided to send him to the seminary of Caracas, where he studied theology and is about to receive the diaconate and soon the priesthood. Inter-diocesan seminary reports are generally positive. Indeed good. Now I get an anonymous letter from Caracas, which says that he (Peña Parra, ed) was expelled from the St. Thomas Aquinas seminary at the end of his third year as a homosexual.”

The letter affirms that this “was verified in reality by his assistant father of that year of study, Father Leye,” and that Roa Perez did not come to know of it “because a priest of this archdiocese falsified the report.”

The anonymous letter claims that the priest who falsified the report was Roberto Lückert Leon — now archbishop emeritus of Coro and powerful president of the Social Communications Commission of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference.

So Roa Perez never knew that Pena Parra had been dismissed from the seminary. (Luckert Leon is still alive, now 79 years old. He organized the meeting between Pope Francis and Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in 2016. So it would seem that he could be asked to comment on the claims of the “Maracaibo Dossier.”)

According to the laity who compiled the “Maracaibo Dossier,” it was Lückert “who indicated to Peña Parra the path of the priesthood, and later advised him and protected him as a son,” Fittipaldi writes.

“I don’t know if it is a matter of intrigues,” concludes Roa Perez. “It certainly seems that they (Peña Parra and Lückert, ed) know each other well enough… Your lordship may imagine the anguish that now assails me. I have a great need for priests, but I cannot be ‘a pitiful impious’ as a saint of the Church states, referring to the ordination of those who are clearly unworthy. As I said, perhaps there are intrigues, or perhaps what the anonymous person says so firmly is true. I beg you vehemently to review the reports and listen to Father Leger to see if he remembers the case.”

In the end, Pena Parra was ordained. The (alleged) anonymous letter described in the letter (allegedly) composed in February 1985 by Archbishop Roa Perez did not have any evident effect on the ordination carried out in August of 1985.

Fittipaldi says he asked “for light” at the Holy See press office. He sought for many days to have a comment on the dossier, and especially on the authenticity or not of the letter from Roa Perez, but he says he did not receive any reply.

He concludes (and again, he is writing in October 2018): “It is a fact, however, that the Pope — after having been informed of the matter — resolutely explained that he did not believe at all in the validity of the accusations. ‘The Pope maintains that this is another attack against him, after that of Viganò,’ say those close to him, hypothesizing that it is once again the conservative front that is trying to discredit his teaching authority.”

Fittipaldi says that Pope Francis, before promoting the Venezuelan monsignor, asked the Secretariat of State if there were reports or information that hindered the appointment, but nothing emerged from the archives.

When the (alleged) letter of Archbishop Roa Perez emerged in the “Maracaibo Dossier,” Fittipaldi says, it was subjected to an analysis by some internal experts, to understand if it was truly a photocopy of the original (as it seemed to be) or a well-executed fake.

“As we go to press,” Fittipaldi wrote in October 2018, “despite repeated requests, no one has denied its authenticity.”

Vatican officials stressed, Fittipaldi says, that whatever concerns Roa Perez may have had about the behavior of the new Substitute, they stemmed from information from an anonymous source, that is, information that was not reliable.

So the Archbishop of Maracaibo, on August 23, 1985, did ordain Peña Parra.

“The truth is that the arrival of Peña Parra shook potentates of the Roman clergy who wanted for themselves that key post, and all those who want to block the Pope’s reforms,” a Vatican source told Fittipaldi. “This is the reason for the serious and unverifiable slanders,” the source said, noting that accusations of homosexuality are used in the Church to settle accounts internally.

3) More detailed allegations from Archbishop Vigano

In the spring of 2019, Archbishop Vigano agreed to answer a series of questions from the Washington Post — a major international press organ — over a period of two months. The interview was carried out via email.

1) The article.

The Post published an article on June 10 based on Vigano’s answers to the questions, entitled “He called on the Pope to resign. Now this archbishop is in an undisclosed location.” The article was signed by Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli. The article may be read here: link.

The last three sentences of the article are:

He said a “gay mafia” among bishops, intent on protecting themselves, was “sabotaging all efforts at reform.”

Viganò referenced only two regrets about his letter last summer. He said that he wished he had spoken out sooner. He also said that, “in retrospect,” he would have softened the call for Francis to resign — a demand that even Viganò’s supporters said was far-fetched and distracting.

Viganò now leaves open the possibility that Francis could repent, and says the pope should step down “if he refuses to admit his mistakes and ask for forgiveness.”

2) The text of the interview.

The Post also published on June 10 a nearly complete transcript of the interview with Vigano under the title “Carlo Maria Vigano gives his first extended interview since calling on the pope to resign.”

There were nearly 40 questions and some 8,000 words (about 32 pages of type-written text) of responses written by Vigano.

Vigano himself dates the interview to May 2, 2019.

That text may be read here: link.

The very end of the interview is interesting in that Vigano suggests — or does not exclude — that he is in possession of documents which he could at some future time make public. Here are those passages of the interview, which make up the very end of the long interview:

In your testimony, you provided many details, but there was no additional documentation — which would prove helpful in corroborating your testimony. Do you have any of the documents and letters you reference in your testimony? And, do you have any additional documentation that would show the Vatican’s preexisting knowledge about McCarrick’s behavior? If you are in possession of such documents, can you please share them with us, as they would be immeasurably helpful.

VIGANO: The time has not yet come for me to release anything. I suggest you ask Pope Francis and the prelates I named in my testimony to release the relevant documentation, some of which is quite incriminating, assuming they have not yet destroyed it.

Specifically, do you have the letter you wrote to Cardinal Parolin asking if the sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI are still in place? If so, could you please share it with us?

VIGANO: See the previous question.

VIGANÒ: In conclusion, I wish to point out that the current crisis is not a power struggle between progressive and conservatives, between left and right.

Neither is it primarily about the sexual misbehavior of the clergy, or the prevalence of active homosexuals in the clergy, though these grave problems, which are perennial in the Church, are especially severe now.

The crisis is about the fact that a corrupt “mafia” has taken control of many institutions of the Church, from the top down, and is exploiting the Church and the faithful for its own immoral purposes.

As I noted above, this coalition is bound together not by shared sexual intimacy but by a shared interest in protecting and advancing one another professionally and in sabotaging every effort to reform the sexual corruption.

Yet the members of this alliance, and those who fear its wrath, are the only ones with the authority to correct the problem through proper judicial procedures, the imposition of discipline and the reaffirmation of sound teaching.

This is causing an institutional paralysis that is immensely demoralizing for the faithful.

That said, we should be neither entirely surprised nor overly disturbed by this desperate state of affairs, given the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s promise to come again and establish his definitive kingdom.

I conclude by quoting a sobering passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which seems to be verified in our own age:

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. (CCC, 675)

+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop of Ulpiana Apostolic Nuncio

May 2, 2019 Feast of St. Athanasius Bishop and Doctor of the Church

3) The text left out

However, the Post did not published the entire 8,000 words of the interview they conducted with Vigano.

The Post left out a chunk of text in which Vigano spoke of two scandals: the case of Pena Parra, and the case of the Vatican pre-seminary.

The Post had asked Vigano:

“Do you see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse? If not, what is missing?”

In his answer to this question, Vigano said he did not see any signs that the Vatican under Pope Francis is taking proper steps to address the serious issue of abuse.

Vigano said there were two specific cases that led him to say this:

1) The first involved accusations of sexual abuse in the Vatican’s own “pre-seminary”

2) the second involved accusations of sexual misconduct made 20 years ago against Pena Parra, which were made part of the Vatican’s own dossier on him. Vigano added that, unless the allegations had been removed from that dossier, Vatican officials at the highest level, including Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, would have had to have come across the allegations as Parra was weighed for the promotion he received last summer.

The Post did not publish that part of Vigano’s interview.

After waiting several weeks, Vigano released the text of his interview, including the unpublished passages, to several Catholic media outlets.

One of those outlets was LifeSiteNews. Here is their report on this “missing” part of Vigano’s interview with the Post.

New Viganò testimony: Vatican covered up allegations of sexual abuse of Pope’s altar boys (link)

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Editor’s Note: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s interview with the Washington Post, published June 10, contained an answer that the Post decided to expurgate from the interview.

This answer contained important information regarding unaddressed accusations of sex abuse against a high official of the Holy See, as well as the coverup of a former seminarian, now a priest, accused of the sexual abuse of pre-seminarian adolescents who acted as the Pope’s altar boys.

The full text of Viganò’s unpublished answers to the Washington Post follows. The text has been slightly modified to include capitalizations normally used in English. The name of one individual has been removed by LifeSite because LifeSite was unable to find sufficient support for the accusation against him at this point.

Do you see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse? If not, what is missing?

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano: The signs I see are truly ominous. Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusers.

Just to cite one example: Cardinal Wuerl, who covered up the abuses of McCarrick and others for decades, and whose repeated and blatant lies have been made manifest to everyone who has been paying attention (for those who have not been paying attention, see, had to resign in disgrace due to popular outrage. Yet, in accepting his resignation, Pope Francis praised him for his “nobility.” What credibility has the pope left after this kind of statement?

But such behavior is by no means the worst. Going back to the summit and its focus on the abuse of minors, I now wish to bring to your attention two recent and truly horrifying cases involving allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure. The pope and many prelates in the Curia are well aware of these allegations, but in neither case was an open and thorough investigation permitted. An objective observer cannot help but suspect that horrible deeds are being covered up.

1. The first is said to have occurred inside the very walls of the Vatican, at the Pre-Seminary Pius X, which is located just a short walk from the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. That seminary trains minors who serve as altar boys in St. Peter’s Basilica and at papal ceremonies.

One of the seminarians, Kamil Jarzembowski, a roommate of one of the victims, claims to have witnessed dozens of incidents of sexual aggression. Along with two other seminarians, he denounced the aggressor, first in person to his pre-seminary superiors, then in writing to cardinals, and finally in 2014, again in writing, to Pope Francis himself. One of the victims was a boy, allegedly abused for five consecutive years, starting at age 13. The alleged aggressor was a 21-year- old seminarian, Gabriele Martinelli.

That pre-seminary is under the responsibility of the diocese of Como, and is run by the Don Folci Association. A preliminary investigation was entrusted to the judicial vicar of Como, don Andrea Stabellini, who found elements of evidence that warranted further investigation. I received firsthand information indicating that his superiors prohibited his continuing the investigation. He can testify for himself, and I urge you to go and interview him. I pray that he will find the courage to share with you what he so courageously shared with me.

Along with the above, I learned how the authorities of the Holy See dealt with this case. After evidence was collected by Don Stabellini, the case was immediately covered up by the then-bishop of Como, Diego Coletti, together with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis for Vatican City. In addition, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who was consulted by Don Stabellini, strongly admonished him to stop the investigation.

You might wonder how this horrible case was closed. The Bishop of Como removed Don Stabellini from the post of Judicial Vicar; the whistleblower, the seminarian Kamil Jarzembowski, was expelled from the seminary; the two fellow seminarians who had joined him in the denunciation left the seminary; and the alleged abuser, Gabriele Martinelli, was ordained priest in July 2017. All this happened within the Vatican walls, and not a word of it came out during the summit.

The summit was therefore terribly disappointing, for it is hypocrisy to condemn abuses against minors and claim to sympathize with the victims while refusing to face up to the facts honestly. A spiritual revitalization of the clergy is most urgent, but it will ultimately be ineffectual if there is no willingness to address the real problem.

2. The second case involves Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, whom Pope Francis has chosen to be the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State, making him the third most powerful person in the curia.  In doing so, the pope essentially ignored a terrifying dossier sent to him by a group of faithful from Maracaibo, entitled “¿Quién es verdaderamente Monseñor Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, Nuevo Sustituto de la Secretarîa de Estado del Vaticano?” (“Who really is Msgr. Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State of the Vatican” – LifeSite) The dossier is signed by Dr. Enrique W. Lagunillas Machado, in the name of the “Grupo de Laicos de la Arquidiócesis de Maracaibo por una Iglesia y un Clero según el Corazón de Cristo” (“Group of Laity of the Archdiocese of Maracaibo for a Church and a Clergy in accordance with the Heart of Christ” – LifeSite). These faithful accused Peña Parra of terrible immorality, describing in detail his alleged crimes. This might even be a scandal surpassing that of McCarrick, and it must not be allowed to be covered by silence.

Some facts have already been published in the media, notably in the Italian weekly L’Espresso (see I will now add facts known by the Secretariat of State in the Vatican since 2002, which I learned when I served as the Delegate for Pontifical Representations.

Furthermore, Cardinal Parolin knows the names of a number of priests in the Curia who are sexually unchaste, violating the laws of God that they solemnly committed themselves to teach and practice, and he continues to look the other way.

If Cardinal Parolin’s responsibilities are grave, even more so are those of Pope Francis for having chosen for an extremely important position in the Church a man accused of such serious crimes, without first insisting on an open and thorough investigation.

There is one more scandalous aspect to this horrific story. Peña Parra is closely connected with Honduras, and more precisely with Cardinal Maradiaga and Bishop Juan José Pineda. Between 2003 and 2007, Peña Parra served in the nunciature in Tegucigalpa, and while there he was very close to Juan José Pineda, who in 2005 was ordained auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa, becoming the right-hand man of Cardinal Maradiaga.

Juan José Pineda resigned from his post of auxiliary bishop in July 2018, without any reason given to the faithful of Tegucicalpa. Pope Francis has not released the results of the report that the Apostolic Visitor, the Argentine bishop Alcides Casaretto, delivered directly and only to him more than a year ago.

How can one interpret Pope Francis’ firm decision not to talk about or answer any question about this matter except as a cover up of the facts and protection of a homosexual network? Such decisions reveal a terrible truth: rather than allowing open and serious investigations of those accused of grave offenses against the Church, the pope is allowing the Church herself to suffer.

Coming back to your question. You ask me if I see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse.

My answer is simple: Pope Francis himself is covering up abuse right now, as he did for McCarrick. I say this with great sorrow. When King David pronounced the greedy rich man in Nathan’s parable worthy of death, the prophet told him bluntly, “You are the man” (2 Sam 12:1-7). I had hoped my testimony might be received like Nathan’s, but it was instead received like that of Micaiah (1Kings 22:15-27). I pray that this will change.

[end, Vigano interview, previously unpublished parts]

An Investigation Needed?

At least one American bishop, Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, is calling on Pope Francis to conduct a thorough investigation.

US bishop demands investigation into Viganò’s latest accusations of Vatican sex-abuse cover-up (link)

TYLER, Texas, July 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An American Catholic bishop is calling for an investigation into a Vatican whistleblower’s most recent allegations concerning the Vatican and Pope Francis covering up of clerical sexual abuse.

Bishop Joseph Strickland, the ordinary of Tyler, Texas linked on Twitter to a recent LifeSiteNews article containing material cut from an interview Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò gave the Washington Post.

“Faithful Catholics who believe in the Eucharist & pray the rosary need to demand an investigation of this & a clear reporting of the truth,” Strickland tweeted.

—Bishop J. Strickland


Twitter users responded with both agreement and disagreement, some indicating that they believe Viganò and others strongly expressing antipathy for the former papal nuncio.

The bishop responded to one Twitter user who demanded to know how ordinary Catholics could demand an investigation into Viganò’s allegations.

“How do sheep demand it?” asked John Lewandowski. “Our bishops do nothing to get to the truth and our Pope remains silent,” he continued, adding: “Faithful shepherds, bishops who believe in the Eucharist & pray the rosary need to join and together force the truth be shared while preaching the Christ’s Gospel, not another gospel.”

Strickland replied by saying that Lewandowski was right, but that the faithful also have “a strong voice.”

Like others who responded to the Bishop of Tyler, Lewandowski asked for suggestions for concrete action.

“First pray, then write letters: keep them brief and to the point,” Strickland answered.


After LifeSiteNews published Viganò’s first testimony last August, Bishop Strickland wrote to all the priests of his diocese saying that he found the allegations against Pope Francis and some senior cardinals to be “credible,” and called for a “thorough investigation” (…)

“I do not have the authority to launch such an investigation but I will lend my voice in whatever way necessary to call for this investigation and urge that it’s findings demand accountability of all found to be culpable even at the highest levels of the Church,” he added.

(end, Letter #39: Allegations)

Guarding the Flame: A Conversation with Cardinal Peter Erdo

A book containing several days of interviews I conducted with Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary has just been published by TAN (Thomas A. Nelson) Books, which specializes in the important work of reprinting traditional Catholic works now out of print. To purchase a copy of my new book with Cardinal Erdo, you may do one of three things:

(1) Go to the publisher’s website (link)

(2) Go to the Amazon website and order the book there: (link)

(3) Write back to me by return email, including a complete mailing address and phone number, tell me how many copies you would like, and I will send you one or more signed copies at the cover price of $27.95, plus shipping and handling (about $5 inside the US, but considerably more, up to $26 or more, outside of the US).—R




Where is the Catholic Church going?

Guarding the Flame: The Challenges Facing the Church in the Twenty-First Century: A Conversation With Cardinal Peter Erdő

By Robert Moynihan and Viktoria Somogyi

How will the Church face the challenges of the 21st century? Do the recent advances in modern technology pose a threat to the human soul?

In this wide-ranging, candid conversation, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Budapest, Hungary, one of the most respected cardinals in the Catholic Church, speaks with Dr. Robert Moynihan, founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, about the Catholic Church’s place in an increasingly secularized world.

As the two-time president of the Council of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe, Erdő is the leading bishop of Europe. And as Europe has descended into a deep secularism—more pronounced and rapid even than in the United States—Erdő is uniquely positioned and qualified to identify and tackle the issues that secularism presents.

Here, for the first time in in one place, the cardinal speaks forthrightly about the need to “guard the flame” of the traditional Christian faith in the face of all temptations and obstacles. Guarding the Flame is a courageous call to remain faithful to the faith handed down from the Apostles, whatever the cost.

Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and Primate of Hungary, was born in Budapest on 25 June 1952, the first of six children. He was created Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003. He has published more 250 articles and 25 books on Canon Law, as well as other spiritual works.

Robert Moynihan (Harvard College, B.A.,1977 and Yale University, Ph.D., 1988) founded Inside the Vatican magazine in 1993. He has covered the Vatican and Church affairs for more than 30 years and is the author of books on Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Viktoria Somogyi, born in Hungary, has lived and worked in Rome at the Hungarian language desk of Vatican Radio. She studied International Relations at the University of Rome.

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