Pope Francis Orders Trial of Archbishop Viganò for Schism

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Conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò says he is accused of splitting the church and denying the pontiff’s legitimacy.

Former papal nuncio to the United States, Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, announced that he has been charged with schism by the Vatican’s doctrinal office after a six-year period in which he called for Pope Francis to resign and labeled him a “false prophet.”

He Will Be Put on Trial

On June 20, the archbishop posted on his own website a two-page decree from the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith ordering him to appear for a trial regarding “public statements that show a denial of points necessary for the preservation of communion with the Catholic Church.”

The decree is dated June 11 and is signed by Msgr. John Kennedy, secretary of the doctrinal office’s disciplinary section. He requested that Viganò present himself on June 20 at 15:30 to receive the accusation and evidence against him formally.

In 2018, Viganò penned an 11-page letter alleging a widespread Vatican cover-up of allegations against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and called on Francis to resign. Since then, many of the claims he alleged have been discredited, but the Italian archbishop has support from some right-wing Catholics for his support of former U.S. President Donald Trump, opposition to the COVID-19 vaccines, alleged spreading of conspiracy theories, and his outright rejection of the Second Vatican Council.

Carlo Maria Viganò, 83, was the Vatican’s ambassador to the US from 2011 to 2016. He said the powerful department of doctrine had summoned him on Thursday to hear the charges.

He Is Accused of Schism

Viganò said the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith accused him “of having committed the crime of schism.”  Schism is splitting the Catholic church. He posted in several languages on X.

He was also charged with “having denied the legitimacy of ‘Pope Francis’, of having broken communion ‘with Him’, and of having rejected the Second Vatican Council” in the 1960s, which set the church on a modernzing path, Viganò wrote.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

The retired Italian archbishop said he was facing an “extrajudicial penal trial,” an accelerated process.

Archbishop Vigano’s Reaction

“I regard the accusations against me as an honor,” he said before launching into a lengthy criticism of the pope.

He argued against Francis’s welcome for undocumented migrants, his “delirious encyclicals” about climate change, and the authorization of blessings for same-sex couples and accused him of promoting his allies.

Archbishop Vigano said, “I repudiate, reject, and condemn the scandals, errors, and heresies of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He added that Pope Francis manifests an absolutely tyrannical management of power.”

He called for Francis to resign. He accused him notably of having ignored sexual assault allegations against a then-top US cardinal, Theodore McCarrick. McCarrick was defrocked by Francis the following year.

Viganò complained in leaked letters to the pope that he was being hounded out for stamping out fraud.

They should get Judge Merchan. I’m sure he can get Pope Francis the verdict he wants.


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