Pope victim of half-reported answers about McCarrick abuse

A transcript of Pope Francis’ comments about disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick only half-reported what he said, the Vatican Communications office says.

The truncated transcript of Francis’s lengthy interview with Mexico’s Televisa reporter, Valentina Alazaraki, claimed Francis said he didn’t know anything about accusations of McCarrick’s sexual abuse before the accusations became public last year.

What it omitted, was Francis’s claim that he didn’t remember former nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, telling him in 2013 of McCarrick’s penchant for sleeping with seminarians.

Communications coordinator Andrea Tornielli says the discrepancy was due to the quick turnaround time given to translating the interview from Spanish into Italian.

The original Spanish was considered the text of reference, he says.

Within minutes of being questioned about the Italian transcript, the full and corrected version of the quote appeared on the Italian site of the Vatican news portal, Vatican News.

In the interview Francis told Alazaraki he would have immediately spoken out if he had known about McCarrick.

When he did find out last year, he acted against McCarrick both before and after the Vatican process.

Before the process, he removed him from the College of Cardinals.

After it, when he was found guilty of solicitation in the Sacrament of Penance and “sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults,” he dismissed him from the clerical state.

Vigano’s allegations have been used by Francis’ conservative critics to attack him.

The allegations appear to show Francis disregarded information that McCarrick preyed on seminarians and instead rehabilitated him from the restrictions Pope Benedict XVI imposed in 2008.

As a result, Francis’ claim not to remember if Vigano told him about McCarrick now amounts to his defence against such criticism.

Last year, the Vatican communications office published a doctored photograph and a partial quote from a letter penned by retired Pope Benedict XVI that misrepresented its complete meaning. The then-prefect of the communications office had to resign as a result.


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