The founder of U.S. Catholic publishing house Ignatius Press has called for Pope Francis to answer Archbishop Viganò’s allegations that he knowingly promoted an American cardinal accused of abusing seminarians and priests. 

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, told CNN that he finds the pontiff’s refusal to give an answer “deplorable”. In recent weeks, commentators have interpreted Pope Francis’ homilies about “the Great Accuser” and Christ’s “silence” as coded commentary on the Vatican whistleblower’s testimony and the pontiff’s own reluctance to answer it. 

“He’s attacking Viganò and everyone who is asking for answers,” Fessio told CNN. “I just find that deplorable.”

“Be a man. Stand up and answer the questions,” he added.

The publisher-priest told LifeSiteNews that he meant no disrespect for the Pope by saying this. Fessio observed that words said in conversation look “worse” in print but defended his opinions.

The Jesuit priest was careful to underscore the importance of respect for the papal office. “As Catholics we have to respect the office of the papacy and, to the extent that we can, respect the person who is holding that office,” Fessio said. “And as a priest, [I should] even more so. And as a Jesuit, even more so than that!” 

The priest said that if he could speak directly to the Holy Father about Archbishop Viganò’s testimony today, he would preface his remarks by saying that everyone admires the pontiff’s desire to serve the poor, to send the Church to the peripheries, and to accompany people and help them discern. 

“At the same time, in order for that moral authority to be received by people, there has to be transparency,” Fessio said he would tell Pope Francis. “You’re giving the appearance of criticizing anyone who asks you a … difficult question. And that appearance is not good.”

Fessio does not think the answer is “clericalism” when it comes the roots of the clerical sex abuse crisis and its cover-up. This is the answer to the crisis that has been provided by Pope Francis and others such as Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago

“There’s … the misleading interpretation by high church officials [that this is] a question of clericalism, it’s not homosexuality,” he said. “Well, no, wait a second. Anyone with eyes to see will recognize that 80% of the cases are priest on male.” 

Full story at LifeSiteNews.