A growing number of American Catholics are calling for an investigation into the allegations that Pope Francis ignored Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s record of sexually abusing priests, seminarians, and laypeople, including minors. Some Catholics are even calling for the pope to resign.
The calls from Catholic bishops, organizations, and media outlets for Pope Francis to be investigated and/or resign have come after the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, released an 11-page affidavit Saturday alleging that Pope Francis turned a blind eye to McCarrick’s behavior.
Viganò’s affidavit specifically claimed that Pope Francis lifted Pope Benedict’s “canonical sanctions” on the disgraced cardinal imposed between 2009-2010 that forbade him from interacting with the public in an official capacity, and Viganò alleged Francis did this despite knowing of the serious allegations against McCarrick.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), released a statement Sunday calling for an impartial investigation into the allegations against Pope Francis.
“The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination,” Cardinal DiNardo wrote in a statement posted Sunday on the USCCB website.
Other bishops throughout the U.S. soon followed, with bishops from Oklahoma, Texas. Wisconsin, and California releasing statements calling for an investigation into the pope. All the bishops said the allegations from the former Vatican nuncio to the U.S. were credible.
Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, who serves as the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and was formerly the prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, said in an interview with local Italian media published Wednesday that Viganò’s calls for Pope Francis’ resignation are “not wrong” and that an investigation into the allegations against the Pope is “necessary.”
Some Catholic organizations are also voicing their agreement with Viganò’s call for Pope Francis to resign his office as the bishop of Rome.
LifeSiteNews, a pro-life Catholic news site, started a petition calling the faithful to support Viganò’s expose of Pope Francis and other high-ranking members of the church. As of Wednesday evening, the petition gained more than 6,000 signatures.
Louis Murray, president of the board of Boston Catholic Radio, penned an op-ed in the Boston Herald Monday calling on Pope Francis and Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley to resign.
“What I now say to both Pope Francis and Cardinal Sean is, for the good of the Church, please resign,” Murray said.
Michael Voris, the founder of St. Michael’s Media—a media company that runs the conservative Catholic outlet, Church Militant, released an eight-and-a-half minute video statement on Monday calling the holy father to resign for the sake of the Catholic Church.
The statement read, in part:
You still have time, Holiness. Admit your tremendous failings, sweep the wicked hirelings from the College of Cardinals, resign your office and give us back the Holy Church that we love and your sycophantic minions loathe.
Holy Father, your friends, your advisors, have raped men and boys. They destroy truth and innocence and lives and souls. You are covering for them.
After you have resigned and they have been forced from office by you, the first thing your successor should do is prosecute the entire lot to demonstrate to the world that change has indeed come to the Church. It will go much better for you that you face justice now, rather than after you die.
For the good of your soul, Holy Father, so as not to be subject to the tortures of demons for eternity, step down.
A group of anonymous Catholic laymen also started a website called Complicit Clergy, which started a petition calling for the resignation of Pope Francis and other Catholic bishops involved in the sexual abuse scandal cover-ups.
Despite the calls from many Catholics urging Pope Francis to resign, he does not appear at all interested in commenting on the scandal engulfing him.
Pope Francis dodged questions from reporters on Monday about allegedly lifting Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick and told them to look at the allegations and make their own judgments.