Vigano writes the pope did not respond to the statement, and McCarrick continued in his role as a public figure for the church.
He claimed that McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, advised the pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego.
If such sanctions existed, "then McCarrick himself has either somehow forgotten he was under sanction, or he is being woefully disobedient", said the Rev. Matt Malone, editor of the Jesuit magazine America, who in a series of 13 tweets provided links to news reports, photos and other evidence of McCarrick's very public ministry in the years that he was purportedly to have retired to a lifetime of prayer and penance devoid of public ministry.
The pontiff said journalists should read the document carefully and decide for themselves about its credibility.
He also alleged that several USA prelates were aware or should have known about then-Cardinal McCarrick's behavior, including retired Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen; retired Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark; Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, head of the Vatican office for laity and family and former auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., and Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
The Vatican's ambassador to the US from 2011 to 2016, Vigano said his two immediate predecessors "did not fail" to inform the Holy See about accusations against McCarrick, starting in 2000. He said the letter "speaks for itself".
Vigano's missive, published Saturday, calls for Francis to resign as well.
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Vigano said he had told Francis in June 2013, just after he was elected pope by his fellow cardinals, about the accusations against McCarrick.
Vigano, who was Vatican ambassador from 2011-2016, said he had been told that Benedict imposed sanctions on McCarrick starting in 2009 or 2010, after a decade's worth of allegations of misconduct had reached the Vatican.
Vigano wrote he was surprised to find that McCarrick started traveling on missions on behalf of the church soon thereafter, including to China. McCarrick was also one of the Vatican's intermediaries in the U.S. -Cuba talks in 2014.
His letter also contained a lengthy diatribe about homosexuality and liberals in the Catholic Church.
The core of his coverup charge against Francis rests on what sanctions, if any, Benedict imposed on McCarrick and what if anything Francis did to alter them, when armed with the same knowledge of McCarrick's misdeeds. It often reads like an ideological manifesto, naming all of Francis' known supporters in the USA hierarchy as being complicit in a cover-up of McCarrick's misdeeds.
Some Catholic scholars question the motives behind Vigano's inflammatory accusations, but also say the claims are deeply serious as scandal continues to wrack the Catholic Church.
Vigano, however, also has had his own problems with allegations of cover-up, and he and Francis had a major dust-up during Francis' 2015 visit to the US, which Vigano organized. On Monday, Zappone released her remarks to Francis and a letter she gave him laying out background for the monetary appeal.
Pope Francis used the penitential rite of the Mass to list a litany of different types of abuse and mistreatment inflicted on Irish people by Church figures, and the cover-ups of sex crimes.