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The storm-tossed Barque of Peter

The storm-tossed Barque of Peter
The growing American cry for Pope Francis to abdicate his position

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
August 30, 2018

The Roman Catholic Church has not been shaken to her roots since the 16th Century Protestant Reformation which gave birth to Lutheranism in Europe and Anglicanism in England.

Now the Church of Rome is seeing another time of radical purgation which is shaking her to her roots and threatens to topple the pope and unleash a Department of Justice RICO investigation which is designed to root out the corruption which seems to be infecting the church to the very top -- the papacy.

And Catholics, who are usually loyal to the pope come what may, are calling for his resignation. And every day that call gets louder, especially in America.

In 2001, as the Boston Globe was rooting out the systematic coverups of the burgeoning priests' sex scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston under the very nose of Bernard Cardinal Law, then Phil Saviano, founder of the New England chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), predicted that the Catholic Church cover-up goes straight to Rome.

"You guys have got to understand this is big!" an impassioned Saviano told the Globe's Spotlight team. "This is not just Boston. It's the whole country, it's the whole world, and it goes right up to the Vatican."

Now 18 years later there is credible evidence, from deep within the inner sanctum of the Vatican itself, that Pope Francis, himself, was briefed on the American sexual scandal shortly after his elevation to the papacy but failed to act.

Blowing the whistle, pointing fingers, and naming names was Archbishop Carlo Viganò, the previous (2011-2016) Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

On Aug. 25, Archbishop Viganò released an explosive 11-page letter which detailed warnings he issued to both Pope Benedict XVI and then Pope Francis -- Benedict's successor -- about then Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's "gravely immoral behaviour with seminarians and priests." Allegedly the Vatican was first informed of McCarrick's homosexual proclivities on Nov. 22, 2000, the day after he was appointed to be the archbishop of the prestigious Washington archdiocese and before Pope John Paul II elevated him to the cardinalate in February 2001.

The 2000 letter was written by Fr. Boniface Ramsey, OP, with the knowledge of Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, the Papal Nuncio in 2000. At the time, Fr. Ramsey was a professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, New Jersey and the Dominican priest was aware of McCarrick's sexual misconduct and abuse at the seminary. From 1986, the now disgraced cardinal was the IV Archbishop of Newark until his relocation as the V Archbishop of Washington, DC.

Archbishop Viganò's revelations sent shock waves coursing through the Catholic Church and dogging the Pope, who was attending the World Meeting of Families in Ireland. The retired Papal Nuncio explained in his letter that he personally told Pope Francis on June 23, 2013, three months after Francis became pope, that McCarrick had "corrupted generations of seminarians and priests ..." The Pope sat on that information and drew McCarrick into his inner circle travelling for the Vatican, Catholic Relief Services and even the US State Department.

The pièce de resistance of Archbishop Viganò's blistering letter is that he is calling for Pope Francis to step down as the Vicar of Christ.

"Now in the United States a chorus of voices is rising especially from the lay faithful, and has recently been joined by several bishops and priests, asking that all those who, by their silence, covered up McCarrick's criminal behavior, or who used him to advance their career or promote their intentions, ambitions and power in the Church, should resign," he wrote. And the Archbishop means that the reigning pope should be included in that number. "Pope Francis must be the first to set an example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick's abuses and resign along with all of them."

Even after the fact that McCarrick was stripped of his red hat and put out to pasture by Pope Francis, the American church was devastated by Archbishop Viganò's detailed exposure of the former cardinal's sins, crimes and misdemeanors and a litany of those who helped to cover it all up from the eyes of the faithful and more importantly from the reach of the long arm of the law. Journalists are having a field day with the clarion call for Pope Francis to resign. Headlines are popping up in both the Catholic press and mainstream media.

However, it is basically conservative Catholics who are calling for the Pope's resignation. This is highly unusual, since orthodox Catholics are known for their ardent support of the papacy. However, for a long time, traditionalists have been uneasy about Pope Francis's many questionable and off-the-cuff comments, liberal leanings and unclear theological stances.

Church Militant, an ultraconservative Internet news apostolate, seems to be leading the media's charge in beating the drum for Pope Francis to resign.

When the McCarrick scandal first broke, Church Militant started an investigative series called EPISCOPAL SODOMY to look deeply into the background which allowed McCarrick to advance in the Catholic hierarchy and remain protected from outside disclosure of his predatorial homosexual lifestyle.

Then on Aug. 15, another shoe dropped. The Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, released a massive grand jury report which outed more than 300 Roman Catholic priests who had sexually abused more than one thousand children, spanning three-quarters of a century.

Church Militant went into hyperdrive. It suspended all normal news operations and daily programing -- The Vortex, Church Militant Headlines, and The Download -- to focus total time, all staff and extra resources to the Catholic Church's widening priestly sex abuse crisis which Michael Voris, Church, Militant's founder and driving force, says is caused from a proliferation of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's grand jury report implicated McCarrick's successor as Archbishop of Washington Donald Cardinal Wuerl. Church Militant is also calling for Cardinal Wuerl's immediate resignation for his mishandling and cover-up of priestly sex abuse cases as the XII Bishop of Pittsburgh (1988-2006). The cardinal was specifically named by the Attorney General Shapiro as being complacent in the cover-up within his western Keystone State diocese.

Cardinal Wuerl, a known ultra-liberal, doesn't consider the breaking news about McCarrick as being a "massive, massive crisis" within the Catholic Church. However, since Shapiro's calling him out, the Washington cardinal, considered the kingpin of the American hierarchy, has gone into hiding. He failed to show up for the opening Mass of the new school year and has announced he will not be celebrating Mass at his cathedral this Sunday. Rumors are that he might have gone to Rome. However, it is not known if he was called to Rome by Pope Francis or went on his own to confer with the Pontiff.

Church Militant's EPISCOPAL SODOMY series includes: EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Gay Seminarian Pipeline; EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Wuerl Gone?; EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Wuerl Defiant; EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Exposing the Enablers; EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Communist Homosexual Infiltrators; EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Exposing Cardinal Edwin O'Brien; EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Two Lives Destroyed; and EPISCOPAL SODOMY: Pope Francis Must Resign.

Once Archbishop Viganò called for Pope Francis' resignation, Church Militant switched its focus from Cardinal Wuerl to the Pope and the EPISCOPAL SODOMY series became the on-going POPE FRANCIS MUST RESIGN special reports which include: POPE FRANCIS MUST RESIGN: Church Militant Statement on the Pope; POPE FRANCIS MUST RESIGN: A Conspiracy of Silence; POPE FRANCIS MUST RESIGN: Zero Tolerance; POPE FRANCIS MUST RESIGN: Digging In; POPE FRANCIS MUST RESIGN ...

Church Militant isn't the only news organization, laity or church officials calling for the toppling of the Bishop of Rome.

Recently, a group of Catholic laymen have launched a website (complicitclergy.com) calling for Pope Francis to deal with the "sorrow, frustration, anger, disappointment and disgust" over McCarrick's moral failure and the culture of secrecy which allowed it to continue. The website is spearheading three separate petitions: 1) Asking Pope Francis to Hold the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Accountable; 2) Asking Pope Francis to Accept Cardinal Wuerl's Resignation -- who has previously submitted his resignation upon turning 75 as required by canon law; and 3) Asking Pope Francis to Set the Example and Resign if Viganò's Allegations are True.

Pope Francis and Raymond Cardinal Burke have crossed theological swords in the past over deeply-held theological differences. Differences so sharp that Pope Francis bounced Cardinal Burke as The Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Earlier this week in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica, Cardinal Burke apparently hinted that the call for Pope Francis' resignation was "legitimate" and "licit" if Archbishop Viganò's multiple allegations proved to be true.

In another interview with the Italian newspaper La Verità, Cardinal Burke is quoted as saying that the "homosexual culture [had found] roots inside the church and can be connected to the drama of abuses perpetrated on adolescents and young adults."

Liberal gay-friendly Jesuit, Fr. James Martin tried to debunk Cardinal Burke's statement on the infiltration of the homosexual culture into the Catholic Church.

"A lot of this is homophobia. I think they're using abuse to beat up on gays," he said.

Fr. Martin was a featured breakout speaker at last week's World Meeting of Families in Dublin. There he introduced the topic Showing Welcome and Respect in our Parishes for 'LGBT' People and their Families in an attempt to legitimize the homosexual lifestyle and mainstream it within the local parish setting, stating that "most LGBT Catholics feel like lepers in the church."

While Cardinal Burke may not have come right out and called for Pope Francis' resignation, others have. Mostly the American news media make the call, while some in the secular press are also serving up cardinals as an appetizer.

Hugh Hewett emphatically said in the Washington Post that Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign, then he hinted at Pope Francis doing the same thing.

"Every day that Wuerl continues in his job injures every victim and every Catholic. Wuerl needs to resign," Hewett penned. "And the church would be better off with two retired popes and a new man absolutely dedicated to supporting the reformers, not suppressing them."

While Hewett is calling for the Pope and Cardinal Wuerl to resign, Louis Murray at the Boston Herald is calling for the Pope Francis and Seán Cardinal O'Malley to turn in their papers.

Cardinal O'Malley, a Capuchin Franciscan, followed Cardinal Law as the Archbishop of Boston after Cardinal Law was forced to resign following the 2002 Boston sex abuse cover-up uncovered by the Boston Globe in a Pulitzer Prize winning journalistic effort which eventually named 249 offending priests.

In 2015 Fr. Ramsey sent a letter to the Archdiocese of Boston detailing McCarrick's sexual predation on seminarians and priests. Cardinal O'Malley denied getting the missive. The Boston cardinal hosted McCarrick in a lavish fund-raiser, then accompanied him to Cuba for Pope Francis' papal visit. Fifteen years earlier, Fr. Ramsey wrote the letter to the Vatican outing McCarrick and his sex games.

"What I now say to both Pope Francis and Cardinal Seán is, for the good of the Church, please resign," Murray writes.

The Chicago Tribune took a swipe at another American cardinal -- Blase Cardinal Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago.

"Cupich said he knew nothing about the allegations against McCarrick," John Kass explained. "He told NBC (WMAQ) 5's Mary Ann Ahern that Francis' critics oppose him because he's Latino."

"'The pope has a bigger agenda,' Cupich told Ahern. 'He's got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We're not going to go down a rabbit hole on this,'" Kass continues. "A rabbit hole? You mean, like some crazy conspiracy theory?"

Canon lawyer Ed. Peters is having none of it. He is calling for Cupich's red hat.

"With these words Cardinal Cupich demeans all clergy sexual abuse victims as ranking behind environmental issues and insults as racists all persons asking for the simple truth about what Pope Francis might have known concerning his cardinals," Peters tweeted. "Cupich should resign. Immediately."

In The American Spectator, Emmitt Tyrrell questions: "Should the Pope resign?"

"Yet there is a problem with the Pope. The Pope himself is under suspicion of having protected known predators," Tyrrell writes. "If he (Viganò) speaks the truth, the pope should be treated like any other prelate who has aided in the cover-up of sexual predators and of the practitioners of sacrilege: he should resign his papacy."

Over at FOX, Laura Ingraham is also calling for Pope Francis' red hat on a platter.

Responding to the Pope's mea culpa in Ireland she tweeted: "Too little, too late from Pope Francis in Ireland -- I stand with Archbishop Carlo Viganò. Time for the laity to demand a new Shepherd."

Fr. Martin, a Jesuit, is wholeheartedly defending Pope Francis, who is a fellow Jesuit.

""Unfortunately, some Catholics are using the suffering of children to advance some of their own ecclesial agendas, such as attacking Francis," Fr. Martin said in The New York Times. "They are rightly angry at sexual abuse. But all Catholics are angry at sexual abuse. Cardinal McCarrick was active under John Paul II and Benedict. Their ire is only on Francis."

Currently there are a couple of polls running on calling the question of Pope Francis' resignation.

In Detroit, ABC affiliate WXYZ current events poll is showing that 63% think that Pope Francis should not give up his papal office, with 37% believing he should.

Church Militant's poll results are a total flip from the secular sampling. The conservative Catholic Internet news organization is in Ferndale, a Detroit suburb. That poll shows 88% are in favor of Pope Francis stepping down, a mere 3% say stay put and the remaining 9% are not sure.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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