(CBS) -- A former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. said Sunday that he told Pope Francis in 2013 about allegations of sexual abuse against a prominent priest — and that Francis took no action. Now he is calling for Francis to step down.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano made the claims in a lengthy statement that concludes with a call for Francis' resignation: "In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example to Cardinals and Bishops who covered up [Cardinal Theodore] McCarrick's abuses and resign along with all of them," he writes.
CBS News spoke on a video call with Vigano, who confirmed he wrote the statement and said he was speaking out now "to combat the grave situation in the church, to protect the church and also to stop future abuse." He told CBS News producer Anna Matranga that he had no agenda and was stating facts.
Vigano, who retired in 2016 at age 75, described an exchange with Francis on June 23, 2013, shortly after he became pope. It involved Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned last month over claims he sexually abused seminary students and an altar boy.
Vigano writes that he told Francis about the allegations: "Holy Father, I don't know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance."
Vigano writes the pope did not respond to the statement, and McCarrick continued in his role as a public figure for the church.
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