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MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, July 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò will be bestowed with the “Msgr. Alphonse S. Popek Award” by Catholics United for the Faith in recognition of his leadership and fidelity for exposing cover-ups by the highest levels of the Catholic Church of sexual misdeeds by clergy.
Given annually by the Milwaukee chapter of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), the award is given in memory of Msgr. Popek, who was known for his priestly zeal. CUF paid tribute to Viganò, saying in a release that he is “truly a man of courage working for the Church” who is distinguished by his “willingness to suffer the consequences of doing what is right for the Church.”
At Archbishop Viganò’s request, John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor of LifeSiteNews, will accept the award on his behalf in Milwaukee at a dinner to be organized by CUF in October. Westen’s presentation is titled “Archbishop Viganò: A Man of Courage Working for the Good of the Church.”
In August 2018, Viganò, a former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., released on LifeSiteNews and other other media outlets an 11-page testimony in which he recounted that he personally told Pope Francis in 2013 about the sanctions imposed on then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick by erstwhile Pope Benedict XVI, due to allegations against McCarrick of sexual abuse. Archbishop Viganò alleged that Pope Francis did “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on [McCarrick],” but instead made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.” It was McCarrick who advised Pope Francis on appointing several bishops in the United States, including pro-LGBT cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.
Having concluded that his “conscience dictates” to tell the truth about the alleged cover-up by the highest echelons of the Church of sexual abuse committed by McCarrick against minors and seminarians, Viganò asserted that “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy.” He called on Pope Francis and others involved in the cover-up of McCarrick’s abuse to resign. Viganò implicated Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Tarcisio Bertone, Donald Wuerl, and Pietro Parolin.
Cardinal Wuerl became McCarrick’s successor as archbishop of Washington, D.C. in 2006. Viganò said in his missive that Wuerl was well aware of accusations against McCarrick. “I myself brought up the subject with Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions, and I certainly didn’t need to go into detail because it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it,” he wrote. He went on to say that Wuerl’s “recent statements that he knew nothing about it … are absolutely laughable. He lies shamelessly.” Viganò accused Wuerl of ignoring Pope Benedict’s order about McCarrick, allowing the disgraced prelate to reside at a Washington D.C. seminary and thus put seminarians at risk.
More recently, Viganò told the Washington Post that Pope Francis deliberately covered up the case of Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a fellow Argentine who had been accused of sexual assaults on seminarians. In light of the pope’s praise for Wuerl’s “nobility,” Viganò asked the Post, “What credibility has the Pope left after this statement?”
Viganò’s present whereabouts are unknown. He is believed to be in hiding, having told an Italian journalist in August 2018 that he was leaving Italy behind. According to EWTN journalist Edward Pentin, Viganò feared for his life.
Previous recipients of the award from CUF include Cardinal Raymond Burke; Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.; Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz; and Fr. Paul Marx, OSB.
CUF was founded in 1968 by Lyman Stebbens, a convert to the Catholic faith, to defend the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.