Denver Newsroom, Jul 1, 2020 / 10:35 am
When Archbishop Carlo Viganò made headlines in August 2018, it was for a sweeping open letter that accused Church officials of complicity and cover-up in the scandal surrounding sexual abuser Theodore McCarrick.
The pope’s response to the Viganò letter was direct: “I will not say a single word on this.”
Two years later, Archbishop Viganò is still speaking. But the archbishop has changed his topic, from the McCarrick affair to conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic, the Marian apparition at Fatima, and the Second Vatican Council. The archbishop’s audience has grown large in the last two years; it now includes even the president of the United States. And now his allegations have begun to teeter on a repudiation of the authority of the Church itself.
Still, neither Pope Francis nor the Vatican have said a word about Viganò or his growing pile of missives, even as prominent analysts say the archbishop is at the point of “breaking with the Church,” and may well bring his followers with him. There could be a few reasons for that.
In an interview last month, Viganò offered a set of criticisms against the Second Vatican Council that are not especially original, but are striking because they come, apparently, from the pen of a former papal representative to the U.S.
Viganò claimed that at the Second Vatican Council — an ecumenical council of the Church — “hostile forces” caused “the abdication of the Catholic Church” through a “sensational deception.”
“The errors of the post-conciliar period were contained in nuce in the Conciliar Acts,” the archbishop added, accusing the council, and not just its aftermath, of overt error.
His interview, and his other recent comments on Vatican II, made arguments familiar to anyone who has spent time among adherents of the Society of St. Pius X or other traditionalist groups outside the full communion of the Church: That the council’s decrees on religious liberty and interreligious dialogue reject Catholic doctrine. That as a “pastoral council” Vatican II does not bind Catholics. That the council has led to “the infiltration of the enemy into the heart of the Church.”
Viganò has suggested that the Second Vatican Council catalyzed a massive, but unseen, schism in the Church, ushering in a false Church alongside the true Church.