Viganὸ's Mission According to L'Osservatore Romano

By Andrea Tornielli
Vatican Insider
February 6, 2012


Two days after the publication of the communiqué that rejected the accusations made by the Nuncio to the USA, the Vatican's daily broadsheet describes the meeting that took place in the White House

Anyone flicking through the pages of last Saturday's issue of L'Osservatore Romano will have seen the published contents of a communiqué signed by two cardinals and two bishops the new and former administration of the Vatican Governorate in which the accusations of corruption contained in the letters sent by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò to the Pope and the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, were rejected as groundless. The letters had been discussed on the Italian television programme Gli Intoccabili ("The Untouchables") broadcast on LA7. Two days later, at the earliest possible opportunity (L'Osservatore Romano comes out on Saturday afternoon and is dated Sunday, so the following issue comes out on Monday afternoon), the Vatican's daily broadsheet published an article that could be read as an attempt to stress, in a non explicit way, that the communiqué has not changed anything and that the Nuncio to the United States still has the trust of his superiors.

The text in question is the brief summary customarily written at the beginning of the mission of the new papal representative to the United States. Texts such as this are usually sent to the Vatican newspaper by the Secretary of State who writes them. It can take several days, after the Letters of Credence are presented, for said texts to be published. Viganò, the former Secretary General of the Governorate, had met with bishops and America's political leadership as the Pope's representative, on 16 November 2011. The article mentions that the following day, the Episcopate's plenary assembly took place in Baltimore and that Viganò "had wanted to give the letter of recommendation given o him by the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the Archbishop of New York and President of the American Episcopal Conference, Mgr. Timothy Dolan."

Last 18 January, the new nuncio was received by President Barack Obama in the White House's Oval Office. President Obama "gave him a very warm welcome, asking him to pass on his greetings and best wishes to His Holiness for his high mission." The article went on to say that the President then "stressed his respect for the work of the Catholic Church, not just in the United States of America but throughout the entire world. In particular, he noted that the voice of the Holy Father and the attention the Catholic Church gave to those afflicted by poverty, hunger and war, make the Holy See an important partner for the United States."

So Viganò had delved headlong into the tasks of his diplomatic mission, the day before the television programme (aired on 25 January) made public the content of the harsh letters in which he claimed to have exposed cases of "corruption" in the Vatican. Viganò's assertions were rejected outright by the Vatican, in the communiqué it issued on 4 February. In the note, the Governorate defined the allegations made by the Nuncio to the USA as "fruit of erroneous evaluations or based on unproven fears openly contradicted by those called as witnesses."

The article in L'Osservatore Romano was published on the bottom half of page 7 and is significantly shorter than the piece next to it which is about the beginning of the Nuncio to Uzbekistan's mission. The last bit of the article seems to be missing a line as it reads: "Having referred back to the Holy Father's visit to the United States of America in 2009 and the warm welcome he received at the time from the First Lady, Michele Obama, Mgr. Viganò..." In actual fact, Benedict XVI had visited the United States, even participating in a United Nations meeting, the previous year, from 15 to 21 April 2008 and had been warmly welcomed to the White House by the former First Lady Laura Bush.


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