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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Pope says he will not respond to allegations of abuse cover-up

Francis said he would “not say one word” on the 11-page document compiled by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano

Pope Francis speaks with the media onboard a plane during his flight back from a trip in Dublin, Ireland August 26, 2018. Gregorio Borgia/Pool via REUTERS
Pope Francis speaks with the media onboard a plane during his flight back from a trip in Dublin, Ireland August 26, 2018. Gregorio Borgia/Pool via REUTERS

Pope Francis said on Sunday he would not respond to explosive accusations by a former top Vatican official that the pontiff had covered up sexual abuse, saying dismissively that the document containing the allegations “speaks for itself”.

Francis, talking to reporters aboard the plane returning to Rome from Dublin, said he would “not say one word” on the 11-page document, in which the former official says Francis should resign. The pontiff said journalists should read the document carefully and decide for themselves about its credibility.

The official accused the pope of having known of allegations of sex abuse by a prominent U.S. cardinal for years. The document by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, was an unprecedented broadside against the pope by a Church insider.

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Read more:

Former top Vatican official calls on Pope to resign amid abuse crisis

Pope Francis begs forgiveness from victims of Church abuse

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“I read that statement this morning. I read it and I will say sincerely that I must say this, to you (the reporter) and all of you who are interested: read the document carefully and judge it for yourselves,” he said.

“I will not say one word on this. I think the statement speaks for itself and you have sufficient journalistic capacity to reach your own conclusions,” he said.

Mr Vigano gave the bombshell statement to conservative Roman Catholic media outlets during the pope’s visit to Ireland, which was dominated by the Church’s sexual abuse in that country and others around the world.

He accused a long list of current and past Vatican and US church officials of covering up the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington DC.

McCarrick, 88, resigned last month in disgrace and was stripped of his title after allegations that he had abused a minor nearly 50 years ago and also forced adult male seminarians to share his bed.

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