Now What? How the Faithful Can Respond After the Abp. Vigano Testimony

The last month has left Catholics around the world, and in the United States in particular, reeling from one scandal after another. Over the weekend, another allegation came out that has rocked the Catholic faithful.

In an 11-page letter, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, accused several Church officials of covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse. Vigano names many prelates he believes to be complicit in the cover-up, and accuses Pope Francis of lifting the sanctions placed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI during his pontificate. Towards the end of his testimony, Vigano calls for the resignation of Pope Francis, due to his alleged role in covering up the crimes of McCarrick.

This continues to be a challenging time for the Church, and many of the lay faithful are unsure of where they can place their trust, and how they can participate in the Catholic Church amidst so many scandals. Rev. Francis J. Hoffman (aka Father Rocky) appeared on Morning Air® today to address this latest accusation, and to encourage the laity in their call to holiness. Below is an abridged version of Father Rocky’s address:

“I call this very, very serious moment in the Church a ‘Now What Moment.’ On the one hand, we have a public testimonial, an 11-page document from the former Nuncio to the United States. And for those who don’t know what nuncio means, it’s basically the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, the pope’s personal representative. So a high-ranking authority in the Vatican.

He worked in the United States for five years – from 2011 until 2016 – and he would have been privy to all sorts of confidential information. … This is not just some rogue person writing a letter to the Church, this is a serious witness to these events.

On the other hand you have Pope Francis on the plane ride home from Ireland … when he was asked about the letter said that he had read it, and he had no comment on it. He said the text can speak for itself, which is encouraging journalists to do their investigative work to corroborate those allegations to see if there is evidence or if there is not.

So in a sense you’ve got a stand-off here between two leading figures in the Church. One person accusing the other of a cover-up and the other saying no comment. And the rest of the faithful throughout the world are saying, ‘Now what do we do?’

What we do is what the early Christians did in moments of crisis. The apostles, when Jesus ascended into heaven and they were left alone, were thinking, ‘Now what do we do?’ They went back to the Upper Room, they gathered around the Blessed Mother, and they prayed. They prayed for nine days and after nine days the Holy Spirit came upon them and lightened everything up.

Of course, this is a moment of crisis of confidence throughout the Church. Ordinary faithful are outraged by these events, and so are many priests and many bishops. But, this is not the end of the world, whether it is true or whether it is false. And the most important thing to do on a daily basis is what we can do to improve ourselves. To increase in holiness through charity, service, kindness, cheerfulness, and availing ourselves to matters of grace. It really asks the question, who does the Church belong to? The Church belongs to Jesus Christ. It is his Church.

So what is Relevant Radio’s role in all this? We want to help people find the truth, to speak about this charitably and calmly, and for us it is all about credibility.

This is a dramatic moment. I think the mood of the ordinary people in the Church is that people want actions and answers, not apologies. And it’s important for lay people in the Church to understand that they represent 99.9% of the Church. And Vatican II says very clearly that everyone in the Church has equal dignity and equal responsibility to be holy. We have equal responsibility to evangelize and equal responsibility to become a saint.

I think it’s a moment for the laity to demand answers, and probably a completely independent investigation to get to the answers. At the same time, not losing our peace, because each one of us know what we need to do today. We need to seek Christ, we need to find Christ, we need to love Christ, and serve Christ and the people around us.”

Listen to the full conversation with Father Rocky below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.