Reporter says he persuaded archbishop to pen claims against pope

ROME — An Italian journalist who says he helped a former Vatican diplomat pen his bombshell allegation of sex abuse cover-up against Pope Francis says he persuaded the archbishop to go public after the U.S. church was thrown into turmoil by sex abuse revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report. Marco Tosatti said he helped Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano write and edit his 11-page testimony, saying the two sat side-by-side at a wooden table in Tosatti’s living room for three hours on Aug. 22.

Tosatti told The Associated Press that Vigano, a previous acquaintance, had called him a few weeks ago asking to meet. He then proceeded to tell Tosatti the stories that became the basis of his testimony against the pope.

Vigano’s allegations, and his call for Francis to resign over them, have thrown the pope’s 5-year papacy into crisis. Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, a CBS News consultant on the Catholic Church, told CBS News correspondent Seth Doane this week that the allegation “is like an earthquake for the Church.”

When asked about Archbishop Vigano’s reputation, Figueiredo said he knows him “personally.”

“I know him as a man of great integrity, honest to the core. He’s worked for three different popes, and (was) sent to a Vatican position, a diplomatic position as big as the United States, which means he’s a trusted man,” said Figueiredo.

CBS News has spoken with Vigano to confirm he stands by his letter. As of Monday, two prominent U.S. cardinals had disputed some of Vigano’s claims, while a Vatican official who worked with Vigano has reportedly also questioned the letter’s accuracy.

Two U.S. bishops have called for an investigation.

Pope Francis himself has thus far refused to respond to the accusations that he knew about alleged sex abuse by a former cardinal, and allowed him to serve unpunished.

The pope was in Ireland, meeting sex abuse victims, when Vigano, the former Vatican Ambassador to the U.S., made the claims. It came less than two weeks after a scathing grand jury report in Pennsylvania detailed sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Vigano’s 11-page letter claims that in 2013 he told Pope Francis of the allegations of sex abuse against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. But, he writes, the pontiff ignored that, and allowed McCarrick to continue to publicly serve the church for another five years. 

The explosive letter called on Pope Francis to resign.

“I will not say a word about this,” Pope Francis told reporters. “I believe the document speaks for itself.”

The 88-year-old McCarrick resigned from his role as cardinal earlier this summer amid a wave of sex abuse allegations, including many involving seminarians.

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Categories: International News, US & World News

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