Vatican corrects omission in pope's quote about McCarrick
NICOLE WINFIELD,Associated Press3 hours ago
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican
communications office on Wednesday corrected the Italian transcript of
Pope Francis' comments about disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Earlier, it had omitted Francis' claim that he didn't remember if he had
been told in 2013 of McCarrick's penchant for sleeping with
The omission gave the impression that Francis flatly denied knowing
anything about McCarrick, whereas the full comment, provided initially
only in the Spanish version, makes clear he didn't remember. That
distinction is at the root of the scandal over the Vatican's years-long
cover-up of McCarrick.
The Vatican's communications coordinator, Andrea Tornielli, said
Wednesday the discrepancy was due to the quick turnaround time for
translating a lengthy interview from Spanish into Italian, and that the
original Spanish was considered the text of reference
Within minutes of being asked by The Associated Press, the full and
corrected version of the quote appeared on the Italian site of the
Vatican news portal, Vatican News. The interview was conducted May 21 by
Valentina Alazraki, longtime Vatican correspondent of Mexico's
The issue concerns claims by the retired Vatican ambassador to the
U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, that he told Francis in a June 2013
private audience that McCarrick had "corrupted a generation" of
seminarians while he was a rising star in the U.S. church.
Francis in February defrocked McCarrick after a church investigation
found that he had sexually abused minors as well as adult seminarians.
The scandal has caused a credibility crisis in the Catholic hierarchy
because it was an open secret for years in the Vatican and U.S. church
circles that the retired archbishop of Washington pressured seminarians
to share a bed with him. The accusations he abused a minor only surfaced
Until the interview released Tuesday, Francis had refused to respond
to Vigano's claims, telling journalists to investigate it themselves.
In the Spanish version of the interview, Francis said he "knew
nothing, obviously, nothing nothing" about McCarrick. "I have said it
many times, that I didn't know, no idea. And when this guy (Vigano) said
that he told me about it that day, that he came ... I don't remember if
he told me about this. If it's true or not. No idea!"
The initial Italian version omitted Francis' reference to not
remembering if Vigano told him about McCarrick, and only quoted Francis
as saying he knew nothing about McCarrick.
Vigano's allegations have been used by Francis' conservative critics
to attack him, since they seemingly show Francis disregarded information
that McCarrick preyed on seminarians and rehabilitated him from
restrictions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.
As a result, Francis' claim to not remember if Vigano told him about
McCarrick now amounts to his defense against such criticism.
Last year, the Vatican
communications office published a doctored photograph and a partial
quote from a letter penned by retired Pope Benedict XVI that
misrepresented its complete meaning. The then-prefect of the
communications office had to resign as a result.