MUMBAI, India – Bishops in Asia have expressed their support for Pope Francis after the former papal ambassador to the United States asked the pontiff to resign.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the president of both the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, told Crux “the Church in Asia is solidly behind the Holy Father.”
Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, was speaking from South Korea, where many of the leading bishops of Asia gathered for a peace forum discussing the Korean peninsula.
“As FABC president, I reiterate that the Church in Asia is 100 percent with Pope Francis,” he said.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former nuncio to the United States called on Francis to resign in an 11-page dossier released on Aug. 25.
The archbishop said he had informed the pontiff about a file on then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the Archbishop of Washington, which contained information on his sexual misconduct with seminarians and priests.
Viganò also claimed Pope emeritus Benedict XVI had placed sanctions on McCarrick, which Francis then lifted.
“I know Archbishop Viganò personally, and His Excellency has been effective and respected in both the Curia and Washington. I am surprised at his approach of going public,” Gracias told Crux.
“I am very disappointed, this is not the way, and not the approach, it has not helped. There are many holes in [Viganò’s] testimony, and there has been a clever play with words: Words are ambiguously used,” the Indian cardinal said.
“The testimony is a concerted effort to adulterate the truth. I do hope His Excellency realizes the damage that he has done to the Church,” he continued.
“I am most certain, the Holy Father has drawn his own conclusions about this dossier and we are glad that the Vicar of Christ has chosen not to respond,” said Gracias.