Thursday, July 04, 2024

Viganò accuses Pope Francis of schism and heresy

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused of schism by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, is going on the counter-offensive and is now accusing the Pope himself of schism and heresy. 

At the weekend the former nuncio published a manifesto on the website of his foundation, in which he reaffirms that he does not recognise the authority of Pope Francis and his Curia. 

The manifesto is dated 28 June, the last day of the defence period set for him by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith a fortnight ago. 

Viganò does not want his statement to be understood as a personal defence, but as a "defence of the Holy Church of Christ": "Before my brothers in the episcopate and the entire body of the Church, I accuse Jorge Mario Bergoglio of heresy and schism, and as a heretic and schismatic I demand that he be condemned and removed from the throne he has unworthily occupied for over eleven years."

The new declaration is headed with the words "J'accuse" ("I accuse"). 

Viganò is referring to the open letter by French writer Émile Zola, with which he brought about a turning point in the Dreyfus affair in 1898 and which is synonymous with courageous public statements against the abuse of power. 

The French officer Alfred Dreyfus had been wrongly accused of treason.

Honouring the schismatic Archbishop Lefebvre

According to canon law, the Pope cannot actually be brought before a judge. For Viganò, however, this is not an obstacle: his accusation does not contradict the principle, "because it is clear that a heretic, if he is not able to assume the papal office, is not above the prelates who judge him". 

Specifically, Viganò, who has previously attracted attention for supporting a number of conspiracy myths, accuses Pope Francis of, among other things, his call for vaccination against the coronavirus and the secret agreement between China and the Holy See.

Once again, Viganò refers to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and quotes the opponent of the liturgical reform, who was later excommunicated due to his schism and unauthorised episcopal ordinations, with his testimony before the Holy Office, the predecessor authority of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

Lefebvre had said in 1979 that he could not help thinking that he was the one who should pass judgement on the Office. 

Furthermore, Viganò does not recognise the authority of the Dicastery of the Faith, its prefect and the Pope.

Maximum penalty of dismissal from the clergy looms

Now that the defence period has expired, the proceedings against Viganò can continue. The dicastery had announced that it would provide him with a public defence lawyer if he did not appoint his own legal representation. It is not yet known who has been entrusted with this task. 

The offence of schism is punishable by excommunication, and other penalties such as bans on residence, fines and a ban on wearing clerical clothing can also be imposed. Further penalties, including dismissal from the clergy, can be imposed for "persistent rebelliousness" or particularly serious offences. 

An offence is automatically punished as soon as it is committed, but it only takes full effect once it has been formally established by a criminal trial or a penal decree. 

Schism is one of the serious offences against the faith for which the dicastery of faith is responsible for as a judicial is responsible for.

Viganò was in the diplomatic service of the Holy See from 1973, most recently as nuncio in the USA from 2011 to 2016. 

After the end of his term of office, he became one of the harshest critics of Pope Francis, whom he accused of personal Francis, whom he accused of serious personal failings in his dealings with Theodore McCarrick, who has since been dismissed from the cardinalate and clergy, who has since been dismissed from the cardinalate and clergy. 

In recent years, Viganò has become increasingly radicalised and has spread conspiracy myths, particularly in connection with the coronavirus pandemic; politically, he has spoken out in favour of former US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last December, he announced that he would open a to found a traditionalist seminary in central Italy.