Vatican excommunicates Archbishop Viganò for refusing to acknowledge pope | EUROtoday

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ROME — The Vatican on Friday excommunicated Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, exacting a extreme punishment on probably the most vociferous inner critic of Pope Francis for refusing to acknowledge the authority of the pope and liberal reforms made by the Roman Catholic Church because the Second Vatican Council within the Sixties.

Such drastic steps are exceedingly uncommon within the church and illustrated the extent to which Viganò — the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States — is perceived to have crossed a line. He has referred to as on the pope to resign and excoriated him in harsh phrases, together with calling him “a servant of Satan.”

Viganò’s punishment means that Francis, who has confronted conservative criticism since early in his papacy, could also be dropping endurance together with his sharpest critics within the church hierarchy who’ve challenged his papal authority in generally surprising and irreverent phrases. It can be a sign of how Viganò has morphed over time from a being a critic of the pope and the church’s shortcomings on coping with clerical abuse right into a fringe conservative firebrand who has embraced conspiracy theories and just lately retweeted a publish from Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), claiming that “the covid vaccines are killing people.”

The Vatican’s determination got here after its disciplinary physique, the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, had issued a proper decree June 20, assigning the senior cleric to a penal canon trial for the “crime of schism” and “denial of the legitimacy of Pope Francis.”

“His public statements manifesting his refusal to recognize and submit to the Supreme Pontiff, his rejection of communion with the members of the Church subject to him, and of the legitimacy and magisterial authority of the Second Vatican Council are well known,” the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith mentioned in assertion. “At the conclusion of the penal process, the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò was found guilty of the reserved delict of schism.”

The abstract judgment by the Vatican can solely be undone by a ruling of the pope or the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith performing in his identify. The excommunication signifies that Viganò can’t formally settle for Catholic sacraments together with Communion, ordain monks or officiate Mass.

He doesn’t instantly lose his clerical title, although such a step — often called defrocking — may observe if he’s deemed to be unrepentant, specialists say. In 2006, for example, the Vatican below Pope Benedict XVI excommunicated Emmanuel Milingo, a Zambian archbishop, who married a South Korean acupuncturist in a ceremony contained in the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, carried out unauthorized exorcisms and established a motion for married monks. Three years later, he was defrocked.

That step was in all probability not taken now “in the hopes that [Viganò] may repent,” mentioned Davide Cito, a canon lawyer and deputy rector at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

For Viganò, repentance, not less than for now, appears unlikely. The 83-year previous Italian prelate didn’t even seem at his personal trial, arguing that he didn’t acknowledge the authority of Francis or the Vatican officers below him to carry him accountable. On Friday, he posted on X that, as he does each month, he would say Mass for supporters in defiance of the Vatican’s ruling. He additionally referred to as for “donations” to his Exsurge Domine basis, which is providing “traditional training” to 6 seminarians, he mentioned.

The crime of schism is outlined as a rupture with the church’s “unity” below the pope. The Vatican cited Viganò’s public statements which have “resulted in a denial of the elements necessary to maintain communion with the Catholic Church,” in addition to his rejection of Francis’s “legitimacy” and the reforms laid out by the Second Vatican Council of the Sixties.

Though church codes require clerical fealty, Francis has largely tolerated dissent for years. That, nevertheless, has begun to vary, particularly because the pope’s appointment final yr of Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández — a fellow Argentine and a longtime ally of Francis — as the brand new head of the Vatican’s disciplinary arm.

Since Fernandez’s appointment final summer time, the Holy See has acted extra swiftly to defend the pope. A serious Francis critic, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Tex., was stripped of his diocese, whereas one other longtime critic, American Cardinal Raymond Burke, misplaced his pension and Rome house.

Among the pope’s critics, although, Viganò was in a league of his personal.

He was recalled as U.S. ambassador, or apostolic nuncio, in 2016 amid allegations that he’d gotten caught up within the political struggle towards same-sex marriage. Two years later, he made headlines with a bombshell letter that latched on to a vulnerability of the church — its file of coping with sexual abuse instances — to accuse Francis of misconduct. Francis, he asserted, had ignored early warnings about Cardinal Theodore McCar­rick, the previous archbishop of Washington, D.C., who had simply resigned from the College of Cardinals.

Three weeks earlier than the Vatican introduced Viganò’s trial, he printed recent allegations on X claiming that Francis had dedicated the “same abuses” as McCar­rick when serving in a senior church place in Argentina. He once more provided no proof.

Viganò appeared to escalate his missives after a December ruling, licensed by Francis, permitting Catholic monks to conduct brief blessings of individuals in same-sex relationships. He referenced the ruling in his prolonged response to the trial, writing, “Bergoglio authorizes the blessing of same-sex couples and imposes on the faithful the acceptance of homosexualism, while covering up the scandals of his protégés and promoting them to the highest positions of responsibility.”