Pope Francis blames devil for church sex abuse scandals

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Promising a thorough review of how the Vatican handled allegations of sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the Vatican acknowledged that what happened may fall short of the procedures that are in place today.

Allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy worldwide continue to affect the Church.

The archbishop had issued an open letter to Cardinal Ouellet in late September urging him to tell what he knew about now-Archbishop McCarrick.

And the resignation further exposes a rift within the Church between Francis and a conservative wing that has opposed his efforts to be more welcoming to divorced Catholics and homosexuals.

The Vatican announced a new investigation into McCarrick's case on Saturday and how he rose through the church's hierarchy, more than a month after Vigano's original accusations.

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The Vatican press office October 6 published a statement saying Pope Francis has decided that as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continues its investigations into the sex abuse allegations against Cardinal McCarrick, "a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the archives of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick" will take place.

After stepping down as archbishop of Washington in 2006, McCarrick "had been strongly advised not to travel and not to appear in public, so as not to provoke additional rumours in his regard". But Francis kept him on, as popes tend to do with able-bodied bishops who share their pastoral priorities.

Francis ordered McCarrick to retire to a life of prayer and penitence after American Church officials said as part of a separate investigation that allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy nearly 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.

Vigano claimed he told Francis during a June 23, 2013, meeting that Pope Benedict XVI had sanctioned McCarrick to a lifetime of penance and prayer for having "corrupted a generation of seminarians and priests".

And, unlike what Archbishop Vigano claimed, there are no documents from Cardinal Ouellet's predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, saying that then-Cardinal McCarrick was ordered to live a life of withdrawal and silence under the threat of canonical penalties. "The reason is that back then, unlike today, there was not sufficient proof of his alleged culpability". "He did not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him and made him his trusted counselor".

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Like many people in the church, Cardinal Ouellet asked: "How is it possible that this man of the church, whose incoherence has now been revealed, was promoted many times, and was nominated to such a high position as archbishop of Washington and cardinal?"

And yet another wrote simply, "Yes, and you are cooperating with that devil". As prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Ouellet meets weekly with Francis to discuss nominations, and presumably would have come to understand if McCarrick had Francis' ear.

Francis has refused to comment on the Vigano accusation.

Archbishop Vigano's letters, he said, "inflict a very painful wound" on the church, "which you claim to serve better, aggravating divisions and the bewilderment of the people of God!"

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