ROME, January 14, 2019
With a tone of fraternal and priestly charity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open letter to former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, encouraging him to publicly repent of his sins and thus to save his soul.
In the brief letter, dated January 13, 2019 and published in English and Italian (see full text below), Archbishop Viganò has also sought to persuade McCarrick that he has a unique opportunity to greatly benefit the Church with a public act of repentance.
“Time is running out, but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly, since they have themselves become public. Your eternal salvation is at stake,” Archbishop Viganò writes.
“A public repentance on your part would bring a significant measure of healing to a gravely wounded and suffering Church. Are you willing to offer her that gift?,” he adds.
The former U.S. Nuncio’s open letter comes after reported disclosures from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that McCarrick’s case is being handled via a stripped-down administrative process — called an “administrative penal process” — that is expected to conclude before the Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse in February.
Such an “administrative penal process,” which canon law reserves for cases where the evidence is so strong that a full trial is deemed unnecessary, suggests that the odds of a conviction are very high.
Theodore McCarrick is accused of molesting three boys — the youngest beginning at age 11 — and at least eight seminarians in dioceses he formerly led. If convicted, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C. would be removed from the clerical state.
In June 2018, following reports of alleged sexual abuse of a minor, McCarrick, 88, issued a statement saying: “While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.”
McCarrick is currently residing at the St. Fidelis Capuchin Franciscan Friary in Victoria, Kansas.
Letter to McCarrick
Dear Archbishop McCarrick,
As has been reported as a news by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the accusations against you for crimes against minors and abuses against seminarians are going to be examined and judged very soon with an administrative procedure.
No matter what decision the supreme authority of the Church takes in your case, what really matters and what has saddened those who love you and pray for you is the fact that throughout these months you haven’t given any sign of repentance. I am among those who are praying for your conversion, that you may repent and ask pardon of your victims and the Church.
Time is running out, but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly, since they have themselves become public. Your eternal salvation is at stake.
But something else of great importance is also at stake. You, paradoxically, have at your disposal an immense offer of great hope for you from the Lord Jesus; you are in a position to do great good for the Church. In fact, you are now in a position to do something that has become more important for the Church than all of the good things you did for her throughout your entire life. A public repentance on your part would bring a significant measure of healing to a gravely wounded and suffering Church. Are you willing to offer her that gift? Christ died for us all when we were still sinners (Rom. 5: 8). He only asks that we respond by repenting and doing the good that we are given to do. The good that you are in a position to do now is to offer the Church your sincere and public repentance. Will you give the Church that gift?
I implore you, repent publicly of your sins, so as to make the Church rejoice and present yourself before the tribunal of Our Lord cleansed by His blood. Please, do not make His sacrifice on the cross void for you. Christ, Our Good Lord, continues to love you. Put your entire trust in His Sacred Heart. And pray to Mary, as I and many others are doing, asking her to intercede for the salvation of your soul.
“Maria Mater Gratiae, Mater Misericordiae, Tu nos ab hoste protege et mortis hora suscipe”. Mary Mother of the Grace, Mother of Mercy, protect us from the enemy and welcome us in the hour of death.
Your brother in Christ,
+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Sunday, January 13, 2019
The Baptism of the Lord
Saint Hilary of Poitiers