Claims against Pope Francis "like an natural disaster for the Church"

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Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano also accused him of covering up allegations of sexual abuse by a U.S. cardinal.

A former Vatican official has accused Pope Francis of failing to act on a Cardinal who was known to him to have sexually abused seminarians.

Archbishop Viganò, 77, who represented the Vatican in Washington from 2011 to 2016, published a letter in which he said removing the sanctions let Mr McCarrick, who served as archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006, travel and give lectures.

Francis was asked by a USA reporter during an airborne press conference Sunday if Vigano's claims that the two discussed the McCarrick allegations in 2013 were true. He also said Francis should resign to honor the Church's policy of rejecting abuse or hiding of abuse. 'I won't say a word about it'.

A Cardinal and the Archbishop of Washington since McCarrick's 2006 resignation, 77-year-old US -born Wuerl issued a statement on August 27 in which he claimed to never have been informed about the sanctions levied against his predecessor for alleged sexual misconduct, thus undercutting Vigano's claims. "He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance".

Cardinal DiNardo apologized again to victims of clergy sexual abuse. "The cardinal, muttering in a barely comprehensible way, admitted that he had perhaps made the mistake of sleeping in the same bed with some seminarians at his beach house, but he said this as if it had no importance", Archbishop Vigano wrote.

"Regarding Cardinal Sean O'Malley, I would simply say that his latest statements on the McCarrick case are disconcerting, and have totally obscured his transparency and credibility", Vigano wrote.

He was one of the highest-ranking church officials accused of sex abuse in a scandal that has rocked the 1.2 billion-member faith since reports of priests abusing children and bishops covering up for them were reported by the Boston Globe in 2002.

But Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Texas found the allegations in Vigano's letter "credible", and called for a "thorough investigation", into the pope, according to

The pope accepted the resignation of McCarrick, now 88, in July, making him just the second cardinal ever to lose his status.

The Roman Catholic Church is being shaken to its core by yet another round of sexual misconduct allegations.

Vigano also said Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl was aware of reports of sexual abuse by his predecessor McCarrick.

Vigano's letter also contains a lengthy diatribe about homosexuals and liberals in the Catholic church, targeting Francis's known supporters in the US hierarchy.

In a 2014 memo to St. Paul-Minneapolis Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche, Father Dan Griffith, a former delegate for Safe Environment for the archdiocese, said the former nuncio's call to end the investigation against Archbishop Nienstedt and to destroy a piece of evidence amounted to "a good old-fashioned cover-up to preserve power and avoid scandal".

The timing of the letter's release - right in the middle of Francis's landmark trip to Ireland - has raised speculation of a campaign against the Argentinian pontiff by conservatives in the Church.