ROME - The fact that Pope Francis has not responded to accusations of having covered up for former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is evidence the pope is guilty, according to a letter written by former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.
Vigano renewed his charge that Francis knew five years ago that McCarrick had sexually harassed young men and did nothing.
The letter, written in English and dated Sept. 29, was published Thursday night on American Conservative as soon as it was received by U.S. blogger Rod Dreher.
The content of the letter echoes Vigano's first letter, published a month ago, in which he accused three popes and other leading members of the Vatican hierarchy of covering up the serious sexual sins of McCarrick. Vigano called on Pope Francis to set the right example and resign.
In the new letter, Vigano explains why he revealed facts that were covered by the pontifical secret.
"Well aware of the enormous consequences that my testimony could have, because what I was about to reveal involved the successor of Peter himself, I nonetheless chose to speak in order to protect the Church, and I declare with a clear conscience before God that my testimony is true," he wrote.
The archbishop added that the "decision to reveal those grave facts" was for him "the most painful and serious decision" that he'd ever made in his life. He said he took the decision "after long reflection and prayer, during months of profound suffering and anguish."
Vigano continued in his letter saying, "Neither the pope nor any of the cardinals in Rome have denied the facts I asserted in my testimony." He added that Pope Francis' response so far has been to say, "I will not say a word about this."
The former Vatican diplomat said Francis' failure to respond to the accusations is a clear indication he is guilty. "The pope's unwillingness to respond to my charges and his deafness to the appeals by the faithful for accountability are hardly consistent with his calls for transparency and bridge building," he wrote.
The Vatican reportedly is expected to provide some clarification, but the pope has refused to answer the accusations directly. Francis has referred to the matter only indirectly in his morning homilies inside Vatican walls and when no one is able to question him.
Vigano said Francis compared his own silence to that of Jesus before Pilate, with the pope comparing Vigano to "the great accuser, Satan, who sows scandal and division in the Church," though without naming Vigano. What the pope chose to do, according to Vigano, was to "put in place a subtle slander" against him.