Pope faces backlash

Vatican reacts to grand jury report, Vigano

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons | Pope Francis visited Ireland this weekend, the first Pope to visit since John Paull II in 1979. There he responded to scandals around the Church. Francis has also been accused of covering up abuse allegations since 2013. 

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, stated in a letter on Sunday that he informed Pope Francis about the allegations of sex abuse against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013. McCarrick resigned from his role as cardinal on July 28 of this year, but Vigano states that the Pope ignored his claims and allowed him to serve publicly for another five years.

The letter comes out less than two weeks after a grand jury report found that more than 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children over 70 years. The jury identified priests in six dioceses across Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says he sent the Pope a letter in July in warning him that the investigation discovered “widespread sexual abuse of children and a systematic cover-up by leaders of the Catholic Church.”

Vigano’s letter also came out at the same time the Pope was visiting Ireland for the weekend to address the abuse scandal there that goes back to the 1990s. The scandals have resulted in church attendance dropping from 79 percent in 1979 to 35 percent today. During that same time span, Irish voters have legalized same-sex marriage and abortion, both against church doctrine.

“The failure of ecclesiastical authorities — bishops, religious superiors, priests and others — to adequately address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community,” the Pope told the Irish. “I myself share these sentiments.”

Pope Francis refused to directly respond to Vigano’s letter when asked by reporters as he was leaving Ireland. “Read the document carefully and judge it for yourselves,” the Pope said.

By: Jack Dunn | U.S. & World News Editor