Vatican excommunicates Archbishop Viganò, found guilty of schism

Vatican excommunicates Archbishop Viganò, found guilty of schism

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former nuncio to the United States, has been excommunicated after being found guilty of schism, the Vatican said.

Members of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith met July 4 to complete an extrajudicial penal process against Archbishop Viganò, who was accused of “the reserved delict of schism,” the dicastery announced in a press release July 5.

“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 wrote.

“At the conclusion of the penal process, the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò was found guilty of the reserved delict of schism,” it said. 

The dicastery thereby declared the archbishop automatically excommunicated in accordance with canon law. “This decision was communicated to the Most Reverend Viganò on 5 July 2024,” it said.

“The lifting of the censure in these cases is reserved to the Apostolic See,” it added.

The 83-year-old Italian archbishop worked as secretary general at the Vatican’s governing office from 2009 to 2011 before he was named apostolic nuncio to the United States from 2011 until his retirement in 2016. He had previously served as a permanent observer to the Council of Europe and apostolic pro-nuncio to Nigeria before he went back to Rome as an official of the Secretariat of State in 1998.

In a June 20 post on X, the archbishop published a letter he said he received from the dicastery over email informing him of the extrajudicial trial. The letter, written on the dicastery’s stationary and signed by Msgr. John Kennedy, secretary for the dicastery’s section for discipline, said the archbishop was summoned to appear at the dicastery’s office June 20 to hear “the accusations and evidence against him regarding the crime of schism of which he is accused.”

The archbishop later said on social media that he refused to go to the office or face the charges since he did not recognize the authority of the dicastery, its prefect or Pope Francis.

Archbishop Viganò is active on social media and writes often on the blog of his association, “Exsurge Domine,” where he has continued to be vocal about his opposition to Pope Francis and Vatican II.

For example, in a 2020 letter written by Archbishop Viganò and published on Inside the Vatican, the archbishop said “it is undeniable that from Vatican II onwards a parallel church was built, superimposed over and diametrically opposed to the true Church of Christ.”

Archbishop Viganò also wrote in a post on X in November 2023 that Pope Francis’ “incompatibility” with the function of the papacy “confirms his defect of consent in the assumption of the Papacy,” but he specified that his comments should not be taken to mean he shares the opinion of sedevacantists.

Reacting to the letter he received from the dicastery about the trial, the archbishop wrote, “I regard the accusations against me as an honor.” The accusation against him issued for questioning both the legitimacy of Pope Francis and the Second Vatican Council confirms that the “synodal church” promoted by the pope is the metastasis of the “ideological, theological, moral, and liturgical cancer” of Vatican II, he wrote in a blog post published June 20.

He went on to write that he does not want “any ecclesial communion” with the pope or his collaborators but claimed that he remains “in full communion with the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church” and the magisterium of the popes.

The Code of Canon Law defines schism as “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

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