Pope Francis Excommunicates Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò Who Was One Of His Biggest Critics

 July 5, 2024

In a major escalation of internal Church disputes, the Vatican's doctrinal office recently announced the excommunication of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Breitbart noted that the former papal nuncio has become known for his vehement criticism of Pope Francis and key Church practices, leading to a decision that underscores the severity of his actions.

At the heart of this controversy is Viganò’s 2018 report where he accused Pope Francis of knowingly re-instating Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was implicated in several abuse scandals.

Viganò claimed that even after being informed of McCarrick's actions on June 23, 2013, Pope Francis continued to involve him as a trusted counselor, which he argued was part of a broader "conspiracy of silence" within Church leadership.

Foundations of a Schism: The Vatican Responds to Criticisms

Following these allegations and his continuous critique of various aspects of the Church's directions, the Vatican initiated a penal process.

The investigation concluded with Viganò being found guilty of “schism,” a grave offense in Catholic doctrine that signifies a refusal to submit to the Pope’s authority and a rejection of Church unity.

Viganò’s rejection of the Second Vatican Council's decisions, which is a series of significant reforms adopted by the Church between 1962 and 1965, was also a principal factor in the Vatican's decision.

His public declarations challenged the legitimacy and magisterial authority of the Council, causing further division within the Church community.

The Vatican described the outcome of this internal trial succinctly. A statement from the Holy See declared: “After the penal episode, the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò was found guilty of the reserved delict of schism.” This announcement marked the imposition of the Church's most severe penalty, excommunication, which bars Viganò from participating in the sacraments and other rites of the Catholic Church.

The decision followed what is known as a latae sententiae excommunication, which is an automatic penalty applied for certain grave offenses under Church law. Archbishop Viganò’s actions, according to the Vatican, clearly met these criteria, given his public refusal to recognize the Supreme Pontiff’s role and his breach of communion with other Church members.

Theological Disputes and Institutional Reactions

Viganò has also spoken against the Society of Jesus, denouncing its alignment and accusing members like Father James Martin, S.J., of promoting an agenda that diverges from traditional Catholic teachings, specifically regarding LGBT issues. His remarks have intensified debates within the Church about doctrine, governance, and the inclusion of diverse perspectives within the faith’s teachings.

Facing the excommunication, Viganò remained steadfast in his beliefs. In response to receiving the decree of his conviction, he stated, “It only serves to confirm the Catholic Faith that I fully profess.” Further, addressing his fellow bishops, he cited scripture in defense of his convictions: “I say to my brother Bishops: 'If you are silent, the stones will cry out' (Lk 19:40).”

This incident represents a significant moment in the Catholic Church, reflecting deep ideological divides that have been simmering beneath the surface. The excommunication of a high-ranking cleric is rare and underscores the growing tensions between traditionalists and reformists within the Church.

This development has provoked discussions among the global Catholic community about the direction of the Church, the enforcement of doctrinal conformity, and the limits of dissent within the hierarchical structure of the faith.


In conclusion, the Vatican's decision to excommunicate Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò marks a pivotal and contentious point in Church history. It highlights the challenges the Church faces in maintaining doctrinal unity while engaging with evolving social and ethical issues. As the repercussions of this decision unfold, they will likely influence discussions about authority, obedience, and belief across the Catholic world.

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