Pope Francis on May 27, 2019, repeated that he knew nothing of the allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick before the public scandal broke in 2018 – and does not recall being told about McCarrick by former nuncio Archbishop Vigano. But the Holy Father also said that removing him from the clerical state was the “obvious” thing to do.
The Pope’s remarks on this and numerous other topics came in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview by Mexican journalist and writer, Valentina Alazraki, published by Vatican News in Spanish. Alazraki has been the Vatican correspondent for Televisa since 1974.
The Holy Father defended his “silence” on the letter from Archbishop Vigano that leveled a variety of accusations against the Holy See:
“Those who did Roman law say that silence is a way of speaking,” Francis explained “The case of Viganò, I saw, I had not read the whole letter, I saw a little and I know what it is, and I took a choice: I trust the honesty of the journalists and I said: ‘Look, here they have everything, study and draw conclusions.’ And that’s what they did because the work you did, that was great, and I took great care to say things that were not there but then said, three or four months later, a judge in Milan when he condemned him.”
In fact, the Pope said he feels “comfortable” with journalists and tells them the truth. However, he admitted that some questions are difficult and “some questions have made me think.”
In the interview, the Holy Father made it clear that he is no fan of the US plan to build a wall on the Mexican border; he said he would tell President Trump the same thing were they sitting together.
“I do not know what happens when this new culture enters to defend territories making a wall, right? We already knew one, the one from Berlin, that enough headaches brought us and a lot of suffering …” Francis said. “But it seems that what man does is what animals do not do, right? Man is the only animal that falls twice in the same hole, right? We’re back to the same, right? The lifting of walls as if that were the defense, right? When the defense is the dialogue, the growth, the welcome and the education, the integration, or the healthy limit of the ‘cannot be more’ but human … In this I do not mean only the limit of Mexico, I speak of all the barriers that there are.”
The Pope also addressed the issue of violence against women. He lamented that “women are still in second place” and, often, being in second place can mean “to be the object of slavery”. He gave the example of prostituted women and spoke of his own visit recently to a rescue shelter in Rome. The Pope said, “the world without women doesn’t work”.
The Holy Father stressed that dealing with migrants and refugees continues to be a “top priority.” He restated his call for humanitarian corridors as a positive response to the global crisis.
On abortion, the Pope noted: “Abortion is not a religious problem in the sense that just because I am Catholic I must not seek an abortion. It is a human problem. It is a problem of eliminating a human life. Period.”
Finally, on the issue of homosexuality, the Pope said that Catholic doctrine has not changed and he said that on issues of doctrine he considers himself “conservative.” He warned against statements being taken out of context and while all persons are God’s children “doesn’t mean I approve homosexual acts, far from it.”