The Vatican’s prefect for the Congregation for Bishops released a letter Sunday morning refuting charges Pope Francis lifted sanctions against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and saying that charges made by a former Vatican ambassador are an “unjustified attack” on the pope “cannot come from the Spirit of God.”

“Your current position seems to me incomprehensible and extremely reprehensible, not only because of the confusion that sows in the people of God, but because your public accusations seriously damage the reputation of the Successors of the Apostles,” wrote Cardinal Marc Ouellett, in an Oct. 7 letter addressed to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

“I tell you frankly that to accuse Pope Francis of having covered with full knowledge of the facts this alleged sexual predator and therefore of being an accomplice of the corruption that is spreading in the Church, to the point of considering him unworthy of continuing his reform as the first pastor of the Church, is incredible and unlikely from all points of view,” Ouellett added.

The letter, released by the Vatican press office, was written in response to two letters from Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., which charged that the Vatican had ignored reports from him and others about sexual immorality on the part of McCarrick for several years, until Pope Benedict XVI imposed “sanctions” on McCarrick’s ministry in 2009 or 2010.

Vigano suggested that Ouellet had direct knowledge of the history of allegations and responses in McCarrick’s case, and urged him to “bear witness to the truth.”

The cardinal’s letter including some strong charges against Vigano’s letter. He wrote that Vigano’s accusation regarding Pope Francis is “a political set-up without a real foundation that can incriminate the Pope, and I reiterate that it deeply hurts the communion of the Church.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

Related: Vatican announces it will conduct a review of its files pertaining to the McCarrick case.