The most recent Interview with Vigano makes it very clear that Vigano does not believe that Pope Francis is a valid Roman Pontiff, nor that he is the head of the one true holy Catholic Church.
Notice that he refers to the holy father as “Bergoglio”. Only once does he slip and say “Francis”, but never “Pope Francis”. His interviewer, Marco Tosatti, calls Francis “Pope Francis”, but Vigano never does. At one point Vigano is quoting Church Militant, and they use the term “Pope Francis”, but Vigano, speaking for himself, does not.
And neither is this some type of custom found in one nation or another. For Vigano refers to Pope emeritus Benedict as “Benedict XVI” and “Pope Benedict”. But he does not call Francis “Pope”.
Vigano refers to the Church led by Bergoglio as “the Bergoglian church”, as if Pope Francis were not the head of the Catholic Church. He also claims that there has been “a sort of coup d’état that makes the Bergoglian church the spiritual arm of the World Government, under the aegis of communist tyranny and with the complicity of globalist parties.” And then, too, this “Bergoglian church” is supposedly submissive “to the diktats of the communist dictatorship”, as if the Church led by Francis were not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Vigano also discredits the Church led by Francis by saying this: “the legitimization of homosexuality is part of the agenda of the New World Order – to which the Bergoglian church adheres openly and unconditionally.” So Vigano is accusing the Church of being submissive to a claimed “New World Order” and of having abandoned the traditional moral teachings against homosexuality (a false claim to be sure).
All of this makes it clear that Vigano has utterly rejected Pope Francis as the Roman Pontiff. He sees Francis as the false head of a false church. He is no way submits to the authority of Francis over doctrine or discipline. And he does not even consider Francis to be a part of the true Church.
Since these assertions by “Archbishop” Vigano are longstanding, public, obstinate, and scandalous, it is clear that he is guilty of obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin, and is therefore unworthy to receive holy Communion. I cannot and am not judging his soul, as to whether this is actual mortal sin, but it is clearly formal schism, since it is committed deliberately, obstinately, and knowingly.
Not every sin of formal schism is actual mortal sin, as someone might depart from the true Church in an act of schism with a sincere but mistaken conscience. For example, some members of the SSPX might be in good conscience. However, the group is in a state of formal schism, as they have separated themselves from the Pope and the body of Bishops, going so far as to ordain their own Bishops, without permission from Rome.
Vigano is in a state of formal schism. And yet LifeSiteNews promotes his words and lauds him personally, supporting him in his acts of schism against the true Roman Pontiff. This constitutes the sin of formal cooperation with an intrinsically evil act, that of public formal schism. It is also a perpetration of the sin of scandal.
Conservative media outlets have, in recent years, taken a role for themselves judging the Roman Pontiff. They act like secular media outlets, judging politicians. But the Pope is not a political leader; he is the head of the Church, which is the body of Christ. The Roman Pontiff is led by the Holy Spirit, and he speaks with the authority of Christ. So opposing him is opposing Christ.
Vigano likes the lime-light. He is constantly putting out statements, letters, interviews, etc. so as to keep himself in the forefront of the Catholic conservative media. He is exalting himself by denigrating the Roman Pontiff. His motivation is not to shepherd the flock of Jesus Christ, as a good Bishop would do. Rather, he has his own self-interest at heart.
As the Blessed Virgin Mary said at La Salette: “Tremble, earth and you who make profession of serving Jesus Christ and who on the inside you adore yourselves, tremble….”
As I’ve said before, Pope Francis has been accepted by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff. And since the Church is indefectible, the body cannot follow a false head. Saint Robert Bellarmine goes so far as to say that if a man were invalidly elected Pope, but subsequently were accepted by the body of Bishops, he then becomes the true Pope. From this we see that, though the authority to elect the Pope is expressed by the conclave of Cardinal-electors, it resides in the body of Bishops.
And every valid Roman Pontiff, including Pope Francis, has the gift of truth and a never-failing faith. Therefore, no valid Pope can ever teach or commit heresy. Nor can a valid Pope lose the papacy by any sin against faith, as his faith is never failing. Therefore, once a person is the valid Roman Pontiff, he cannot lose the papacy by any means other than resignation or death.
It is a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is a valid Roman Pontiff, and it is a dogma that the Roman Pontiff can never teach grave error, nor fail in faith. Therefore, all accusations to the contrary are false and are expressions of a rejection of either dogmatic fact or dogma, or both.
Vigano’s rejection of the teaching of the First Vatican Council on the gift of truth and never-failing faith given to each valid Roman Pontiff, and his rejection of the dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is the true Roman Pontiff, are at least material heresy, and certainly also formal schism. And those who promote Vigano are formally cooperating with the schism.
So it is interesting to live during the time of a great Schism. I see that there are certain leaders of the schism. But also, it is clear that the main impetus to the schism comes from the nameless masses, who support the leaders and thereby give them power. Then, too, they receive power from organizations, like conservative media outlets. Without that support, they would have little power with which to harm the Church.
Who crucified Jesus Christ? Was it Pontius Pilate? Or was it the nameless masses who cried out: “Crucify Him!” Vigano has washed his hands of Pope Francis, refusing to call him Pope and avoiding calling him by his papal name, Francis. He is like someone who refuses to call Jesus “Christ”, so that no one will think that he is a follower of that man, of Christ or of His Vicar.
One final point. References by Vigano to a New World Order and to other elements often found in false claims of private revelation suggest that perhaps Vigano is the follower of one of the many false visionaries in the world today. These ideas are not mainstream Catholic teaching or opinion; these are fringe ideas associated with false private revelation.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.