Irish primate says Viganò hijacked World Meeting of Families

Irish primate Archbishop Eamon Martin says Archbishop Carlo Mario Viganò hijacked the World Meeting of Families in August.

Viganò achieved this by releasing an 11-page letter accusing Pope Francis of mishandling sexual abuse claims on the final day of his visit to Ireland.

In the letter, Viganò claims Francis was aware of sexual misconduct concerns about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and did not act on the information.

“It was on the last day of the event and we were actually flying out to Knock, the national Marian Shrine of Ireland, and we became aware of the fact that overnight in the States this news had broken.

“I have to say, personally, I was very saddened. I was saddened that this was overshadowing what was otherwise a really important celebration of family and the importance of families in the new evangelisation of the faith.

“In some ways, I felt our World Meeting of Families had been hijacked in a way by this particular letter.”

Martin says he thinks Francis dealt with the matter “very quietly and with great serenity.”

“You may remember that it was that morning when he arrived at the shrine in Knock, the first thing he did was he went into the shrine chapel and we had a full five minutes of silence where he was clearly, I imagine, placing this very grave situation at the feet of Our Lady and asking for her intercession and her guidance.

“There was an amazing feeling in Knock, I was there myself, to have tens of thousands of people go silent.

“What was very beautiful about that for me was the fact that the apparition of Our Lady at Knock is quite unique – when she appeared at Knock she said nothing, she was silent before the lamb, before the altar, with the presence of St Joseph and St John.

“I felt Pope Francis was entering into that silent space of contemplation. No doubt within his mind was all of this stuff swirling around about the Viganò letter, but perhaps he was placing it all at the feet of Our Lady, the Queen of Ireland and asking for her protection and her intercession.”


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