New Viganò testimony: Vatican covered up allegations of sexual abuse of Pope’s altar boys

Washington Post

Interviewer: Do you see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse? If not, what is missing?

Vigano : the signs I see are truly ominous. Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusers.

Just to cite one example: Cardinal Wuerl, who covered up the abuses of McCarrick and others for decades, and whose repeated and blatant lies have been made manifest to everyone who has been paying attention (for those who have not been paying attention, see, had to resign in disgrace due to popular outrage. Yet, in accepting his resignation, Pope Francis praised him for his “nobility.” What credibility has the pope left after this kind of statement?

But such behavior is by no means the worst. Going back to the summit and its focus on the abuse of minors, I now wish to bring to your attention two recent and truly horrifying cases involving allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure.

The pope and many prelates in the Curia are well aware of these allegations, but in neither case was an open and thorough investigation permitted. An objective observer cannot help but suspect that horrible deeds are being covered up.

1. The first is said to have occurred inside the very walls of the Vatican, at the Pre-Seminary Pius X, which is located just a short walk from the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. That seminary trains minors who serve as altar boys in St. Peter’s Basilica and at papal ceremonies.

One of the seminarians, Kamil Jarzembowski, a roommate of one of the victims, claims to have witnessed dozens of incidents of sexual aggression. Along with two other seminarians, he denounced the aggressor, first in person to his pre-seminary superiors, then in writing to cardinals, and finally in 2014, again in writing, to Pope Francis himself. One of the victims was a boy, allegedly abused for five consecutive years, starting at age 13. The alleged aggressor was a 21-year- old seminarian, Gabriele Martinelli.

That pre-seminary is under the responsibility of the diocese of Como, and is run by the Don Folci Association. A preliminary investigation was entrusted to the judicial vicar of Como, don Andrea Stabellini, who found elements of evidence that warranted further investigation. I received firsthand information indicating that his superiors prohibited his continuing the investigation. He can testify for himself, and I urge you to go and interview him. I pray that he will find the courage to share with you what he so courageously shared with me.

Along with the above, I learned how the authorities of the Holy See dealt with this case. After evidence was collected by Don Stabellini, the case was immediately covered up by the then-bishop of Como, Diego Coletti, together with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis for Vatican City. In addition, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who was consulted by Don Stabellini, strongly admonished him to stop the investigation.

You might wonder how this horrible case was closed. The Bishop of Como removed Don Stabellini from the post of Judicial Vicar; the whistleblower, the seminarian Kamil Jarzembowski, was expelled from the seminary; the two fellow seminarians who had joined him in the denunciation left the seminary; and the alleged abuser, Gabriele Martinelli, was ordained priest in July 2017. All this happened within the Vatican walls, and not a word of it came out during the summit.

The summit was therefore terribly disappointing, for it is hypocrisy to condemn abuses against minors and claim to sympathize with the victims while refusing to face up to the facts honestly. A spiritual revitalization of the clergy is most urgent, but it will ultimately be ineffectual if there is no willingness to address the real problem.

2. The second case involves Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, whom Pope Francis has chosen to be the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State, making him the third most powerful person in the curia. In doing so, the pope essentially ignored a terrifying dossier sent to him by a group of faithful from Maracaibo, entitled “¿Quién es verdaderamente Monseñor Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, Nuevo Sustituto de la Secretarîa de Estado del Vaticano?” The dossier is signed by Dr. Enrique W. Lagunillas Machado, in the name of the “Grupo de Laicos de la Arquidiócesis de Maracaibo por una Iglesia y un Clero según el Corazón de Cristo” These faithful accused Peña Parra of terrible immorality, describing in detail his alleged crimes. This might even be a scandal surpassing that of McCarrick, and it must not be allowed to be covered by silence.

Some facts have already been published in the media, notably in the Italian weekly L’Espresso (see

I will now add facts known by the Secretariat of State in the Vatican since 2002, which I learned when I served as the Delegate for Pontifical Representations.

In January 2000, Maracaibo journalist Gastón Guisandes López made serious accusations against some priests from the diocese of Maracaibo, including Msgr. Peña Parra, involving sexual abuse of minors and other possibly criminal activity.

In 2001, Gastón Guisandes López twice asked to be received by the apostolic nuncio (the Pope’s ambassador) in Venezuela, archbishop André Dupuy, to discuss these matters, but the archbishop inexplicably refused to receive him. He did, however, report to the Secretariat of State that the journalist had accused Msgr. Peña Parra of two very serious crimes, describing the circumstances.

First, Edgar Peña Parra was accused of having seduced, on September 24, 1990, two minor seminarians from the parish of San Pablo, who were to enter the Major Seminary of Maracaibo that same year. The event is said to have taken place in the Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, where the Rev. José Severeyn was parish priest. Rev. Severeyn was later removed from the parish by the then archbishop Msgr. Roa Pérez. The case was reported to the police by the parents of the two young men and was dealt with by the then-rector of the major seminary, Rev. Enrique Pérez, and by the then spiritual director, Rev. Emilio Melchor. Rev. Pérez, when questioned by the Secretariat of State, confirmed in writing the episode of September 24, 1990. I have seen these documents with my own eyes.

Second, Edgar Peña Parra was allegedly involved, together with [NAME REMOVED], in the death of two people, a doctor and a certain Jairo Pérez, which took place in August 1992, on the island of San Carlos in Lake Maracaibo. They were killed by an electric discharge, and it is not clear whether or not the deaths were accidental. This same accusation is also contained in the aforementioned dossier sent by a group of lay people from Maracaibo, with the additional detail that the two corpses were found naked, with evidence of macabre homosexual lewd encounters. These accusations are, to say the least, extremely grave. Yet not only was Peña Parra not required to face them, he was allowed to continue in the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

These two accusations were reported to the Secretariat of State in 2002 by the then apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, archbishop André Dupuy. The relevant documentation, if it has not been destroyed, can be found both in the archives of the diplomatic personnel of the Secretariat of State where I held the position of Delegate for the Pontifical Representations, and in the archives of the apostolic nunciature in Venezuela, where the following archbishops have served as nuncios since: Giacinto Berloco, from 2005 to 2009; Pietro Parolin, from 2009 to 2013; and Aldo Giordano, from 2013 to the present. They all had access to the documents reporting these accusations against the future Substitute, as did the cardinals Secretaries of State Sodano, Bertone, and Parolin and the Substitutes Sandri, Filoni, and Becciu.

Particularly egregious is the behavior of Cardinal Parolin who, as Secretary of State, did not oppose the recent appointment of Peña Parra as Substitute, making him his closest collaborator. Even more: years earlier, in January 2011, as apostolic nuncio in Caracas, Parolin did not oppose the appointment of Peña Parra as archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Pakistan. Before such important appointments, a rigorous informative process is made to verify the suitability of the candidate, so these accusations were surely brought to the attention of Cardinal Parolin.

Furthermore, Cardinal Parolin knows the names of a number of priests in the Curia who are sexually unchaste, violating the laws of God that they solemnly committed themselves to teach and practice, and he continues to look the other way.

If Cardinal Parolin’s responsibilities are grave, even more so are those of Pope Francis for having chosen for an extremely important position in the Church a man accused of such serious crimes, without first insisting on an open and thorough investigation. There is one more scandalous aspect to this horrific story. Peña Parra is closely connected with Honduras, and more precisely with Cardinal Maradiaga and Bishop Juan José Pineda. Between 2003 and 2007, Peña Parra served in the nunciature in Tegucigalpa, and while there he was very close to Juan José Pineda, who in 2005 was ordained auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa, becoming the right-hand man of Cardinal Maradiaga. Juan José Pineda resigned from his post of auxiliary bishop in July 2018, without any reason given to the faithful of Tegucicalpa. Pope Francis has not released the results of the report that the Apostolic Visitor, the Argentine bishop Alcides Casaretto, delivered directly and only to him more than a year ago. How can one interpret Pope Francis’ firm decision not to talk about or answer any question about this matter except as a cover up of the facts and protection of a homosexual network? Such decisions reveal a terrible truth: rather than allowing open and serious investigations of those accused of grave offenses against the Church, the pope is allowing the Church herself to suffer.
Coming back to your question. You ask me if I see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse. My answer is simple: Pope Francis himself is covering up abuse right now, as he did for McCarrick. I say this with great sorrow. When King David pronounced the greedy rich man in Nathan’s parable worthy of death, the prophet told him bluntly, “You are the man” (2 Sam 12:1-7). I had hoped my testimony might be received like Nathan’s, but it was instead received like that of Micaiah (1Kings 22:15-27). I pray that this will change.


The sexual abuse goes all the way up to the Vatican and to cardinals – and maybe even popes.

Stories suggest that a well known Vatican priest, later a bishop, procured call boys for Pope Paul VI who also had a long term actor boyfriend.

I imagine that pederast clerics have been seducing boys for a thousand or more years.

All popes including Francis have knowledge of these things.

They are all there in the Vatican archives.

Luther and the Reformers were right.

The RCC has always been one, big, universal cesspool.


Absolutely shocking but not surprising given the facts that we already know about this organisation. It is a cess pit out of control. Corruption greed control and sexual immorality are by words by which the RC church has become known. Satan himself will be proud of their antics . Yet some people continue to put their heads in the sand and either deny this is happening or ignore it. Forget all the hyperbole but this organisation has lost sight of Christ and righteousness. We can no longer ignore nor accept this behaviour. People deserve better


Good news for a change – Pope attributes a miracle to Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the next step to Sainthood.


I was always an admirer. Met him once in Dublin.
I wonder if he ever covered up abuse in New York or Rochester?


I’d put money on it that he did.
I have no regard for the Roman Catholic pantheon of ‘saints’, especially when it involves priests and religious; its just a continuation of clericalism post-mortem.


Pat, I am one of your staunchest critics, not for the revelations you bring to our attention( many of which I am familiar through reading and study) and which we need to know about, but because of the personised attacks you make on all priests with your sweeping condemnations judgments. You know and are aware of many, many priests who are trying to be faithful to Christ in their everyday lives, guys who are caring, committed and dedicated to living priesthood. The reality of being on your own in a parish, as we now mostly are, can be very challenging. To do what is expected of us in a good, pastorally caring way requires full focusing. I am deeply saddened at the way our Church is and ashamed at the hurt caused by the abuse scandals. Yet, I cannot abandon my daily responsibilities for 3 schools, many funerals, weddings, visiting of sick and housebound, preparation for sacramental moments and a large nursing home which is very (unfairly) demanding. To carty out these pastoral roles caringly requires all me energy and health. Having spoken at many gatherings and seminars and through my homilies, people know where I stand in relation to issues of justice, transparency and truth. On a day to day basis my priority is to do my utmost for those who need my caring, attention and presence. While I can best myself up with shame and guilt, which I’ve done, I now approach my work focused solely on the parish entrusted to my care. And in this arena of the parish, I encounter many people who are inspirational and encouraging and I am blessed that I am still of some ssrvice to them. Yes, so much in the Church needs ripping out, so much needs to be binned, so much that is wrong, but I can only give in a limited way and effect only a certain amount of change, that I have to be very discerning about priorities and give my energy to what really matters in the daily situations and expectations of my life and work. God help us…..


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us, I pray that God will answer all your prayers.
Regards L


I wonder whether Pope Francis’ non-response to the latest allegations by Vigano will be as his previous one: ‘I am not going to say one word about this’.

I can’t wait for all the ‘good’ priests of Ireland and elsewhere to demand publicly that Francis answer these extremely serious allegations. I know that these ‘good’ men are champing at the bit to make themselves heard.

The bishops won’t silence these heroes: these Christmen. No siree!


Magna. You seem to spend your life on this blog. Why not get a hobby or more to the point a life where you can add value?


Looks like another Magna challenge that no clergyman can refute with a modicum of grace.


11.26: Magna, I’m glad the good priests whom you reluctantly acknowledge are doing what they are called to do: engage in and carry out their pastoral duties with dedication, care and commitment instead of wasting their energies in negativity, criticisms, name calling, judging and condemnation. Like many priests, I have spoken out when and where necessary about all abuses. My voice has been heard sufficiently. Now I concentrate on my daily work and I thank God I do so with freedom and with focus, albeit with struggles and difficulties at times. Your efforts at labelling all of us as “the same” is unjust and silly. It’s a lazy argument and suits a particular narrative.


Lol somebody hasn’t noticed the inverted commas in the comment.
And that’s an important point as well – there are none so blind as those who don’t want to see. I am sure that in the case of church abuse and corruption, Pat will echo my own experience that once your eyes are open you can’t not see it and never return to the comfort of willing ignorance.


+ FULTON SHEEN: Why are they bothering to canonise Fulton Sheen ? He was a salesman, with the skills of a snake oil quack, whose only interest, besides self-advertisement, was to pedal the discredited notion of the Catholic Church’s primacy and truth, which we now know to be substantially a tissue of lies built upon clericalism and hierarchy and the abuse of power and authority leading to severe and damaging dysfunction to the most innocent. To whom is he supposed to be an example ? It is a complete nonsense and will be ignored by the vast majority of people as completely irrelevant to their lives and the modern world. And, beneath all that showmanship and plausibility, what else was + Sheen up to in his spare time ? I think we’ve learned enough about characters like that to look circumspectly and even suspiciously at the rest of their lives.
VATICAN CHOIR BOYS: Are we that surprised at this revelation ? I could have put money on it, and won the bet, years ago. The question of Vigano’s motives for revealing all now is the interesting story. Why now ? At whose behest ? With what group / party / faction is he in league. Vigano is not doing this as a pure pursuit of the truth, he is doing it for an ulterior motive, probably in conjunction with others. He has done some damage to Francis, and is likely to do more. But, do you trust the man and what he is up to and the way he is doing it ? I remind you that in his ‘private life’ Vigano is a very rich man indeed, recipient of millions of $ from his father’s estate, and still in litigation with his siblings over it. Perception is all, and I perceive a vain, self-interested, and dangerous character, whom I would not trust one inch. For all his failings, I think I will stick with Francis who is heading in the right direction of challenging clericalism, hierarchy and the dysfunction of the Church. Imperfectly, yes, inconsistently, yes, but the direction of travel he is going is where we need to be heading.


A good and challenging post.

But must we settle for the lesser of two evils? Pope Francis?

I agree that Vigano’s motive(s) is highly suspicious, as is the piecemeal nature of his allegations.

On the face of it, Vigano comes across as the hero in this saga, but I suspect that he is very much the anti-hero. Nevertheless, I suspect also that these extremely serious allegations are substantially true, like his previous ones.

There is a power struggle going on here, largely out of public view; historically, such struggles have never proved good for the Church as a whole.


That’s right threaten 12:06 with daddy’s punishment when he gets in from work.
Your comment is very psychologically revealing.


On the day of judgement you judge yourself. That is why the merciful have no fear of judgement.


Come on name and Shame this Canon lawyer or is it more gossip.

Have you informed Pat or His Bishop if you are sure of your facts.

If it is True which I doubt then the three of them will be told to pack their bags.

Likely more gossip.

BTW not all Canon Lawyers are Clergy nowadays.


Pat knows who the canon lawyer is purported to be, as does several bishops. No one acts against him.


I recall a conversation with a manager of a well known charity. Being very dependent on volunteers, she explained their awards system, likening it to propaganda to keep volunteers on board and motivated. “We need to publicise individuals to incentivise the others” she said.
The RC church is regarded as a charity for tax purposes I believe. Is it’s canonisation processes comparable to a charity’s self propaganda awards?


Interesting comment re incentivize akin to canonisation process which i hadnt thought of in the 1st place.
Just wondering how did ”saint ‘ factories come about? No mention of saint in the bible much to my recollection.
Finally Catholic church isnt a charity business as they avail of other people’s monies to do charity work. It’s a religion business per se nothing more or less. No mention of Catholic in the bible and how did that come about it?
Think there will be a schism cos it is far worse than brogia age as it’s a spiritual crisis. I remember when i visisted Rome as there was a roll list of all the popes. One tourist pointed to pope ‘Joan’ as i was astonished cos i was naive that time thinking they perfect etc.
Finally is catholic church especially top tier and rank faggots??? Just asking. Saw a pic of one bishop which i thought he looked like gay.


The commenter above points to the against side of Sheen’s canonisation and asks why.
The obvious answer is that he embodies the qualities the church wants the faithful to emulate – which looks a bit awkward in the light of the comments above.
This also goes for St John Paul and don’t even talk to me about Newman.
So to cut to the chase, this means the church wants people to be snake oil salesmen, facilitators of abuse and touchy old queens!
I will repeat that anyone claiming to seek the kingdom in the Catholic church is deluding themselves and can only be performing multiple mental reservations to try to maintain their sanity while ignoring the reality around them.


They will probably want to canonise + Nichols as an shining example of faithful loyalty to the Church above all things. AKA hiding the truth, covering up, and ensuring that the reputation of the Church was not tarnished by the truth. He needs to go, but bold as brass he will brazen it out, exuding confidence in his own ability and his plausibility. The Papal Nuncio needs to have a quiet word with him and move him on. How can we have confidence in our leadership which has been so excoriatingly criticised by an independent inquiry and found to be so wanting ? In any other organisation he would go. But, no, he will hang around as if nothing has happened, and probably still think that one day he will receive even more advancement and preferment. It’s outrageous !


Sadly This Papal Nuncio Archbishop Adams inherited the previous Papal Nuncio Antonio Mennini mess who was shipped out quick and never heard of now.
Archbishop Adams is 75 on August 24th so will be glad to go.
England and Wales are back at the Commission in the Autumn so hopefully + Nichols and + Longley will resign then but likely hang on.
One thing now + Longley will not be going back to Westminster now.


Well nothing much has changed on here since my sabbatical. Still messy old situation but fear not, I’m back in the fold and will do all I can to expose wrong doing in Scotland. Has Fr Stephen Gilhooley, one of KOB’s boyfriends been on? How is the nice Priest Fr John Bollan from
Paisley? Still on sabbatical? I also hear that one of the followers on this blog, Inspector Taggart was warned off with a Court injunction? Well, I won’t be silenced!


Probably the right thing. A lovely man, clever, great personality and very handsome. I was at college with him. Half our brothers were at it in those days! Hope he is happy with his new man and life. He deserves it.


Hi. Fr Gilhooley and KOB were certainly partners for years. I hear that one of the Scottish Bishops was sexually active in his younger years too, not now. Lovely prayerful man.


I wonder if that is one of the three who are not too well all with medical problems.
It is certainly not Dunkeld as he would not have got transferred at the high of KOB scandal.


8.00: The mighty brave one speaks again but only from behind a keyboard. Bet you wouldn’t say boo to your bishop or whoever your superior is. All gossip and no action…rev. rocking stupid!! Such childish, silly behaviour.


9.35. Pot kettle. You are anonymous on here. I think you will find that any Scottish Clergy on here know exactly who I am and know that I tell the Bishop exactly what I think of him.


Yes it seems Inspector Taggart was warned off by court injection but seems was assured action will be taken so we will see.
Gilhooley is still overseas and another “fried” has retired from active ministry.
John Boland and Frank Hannigan are still on sabbatical but both will not be back while + Keenan is still Bishop.
John Boland should do the honourable thing and resign but like best of both World Pat silenced me the last time and there you are referring to his boyfriend that everyone in Greenock and all over the diocese know about.


Rocking Rev. +Leo is on to you and knows who you are now. He has been tipped off. You will be summonsed on Monday you old gossip Queen.


Well much as I respect my superior, I won’t be kissing his ring if he does call me up! Anyway Monday isn’t good for me, I relax on a Monday.


Rev Doctor Bollan will be fine in civvy street. He is very clever and I wouldn’t mind a date with him
myself! I hope that Bishop Keenan is supporting him.


He’s written a book, Bp Pat, “The Light of His Face.” One Amazon review simply said: “Bla.”


It’s is boring. Must’ve been difficult for him to jack in after 25 years.


Evenin all hi. Just a thought If these altar boys are being groomed are they being programmed to enter the priesthood and carry on the tradition of William D’testicle. The Greeks and Romans liked it every which way. It’s not a solution in itself but what is the big deal about celibacy. Do the popes have evidence of extra terrestrials hidden in the Vatican library hi. Saw that wan on the telly but


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