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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò (CNS/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States, has incurred the penalty of excommunication for having abandoned communion with the Bishop of Rome and the Catholic Church. Source: Vatican News.

A press release issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith states: “On 4 July 2024, the Congress of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith met to conclude the extrajudicial penal process referred to in canon 1720 CIC against the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò, titular Archbishop of Ulpiana, accused of the reserved delict of schism (canons 751 and 1364 CIC; art. 2 SST).”

The communiqué continues: “His public statements manifesting his refusal to recognise and submit to the Supreme Pontiff, his rejection of communion with the members of the Church subject to him, and of the legitimacy and magisterial authority of the Second Vatican Council are well known.

“At the conclusion of the penal process, the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò was found guilty of the reserved delict of schism.”

Further, the press release notes: “The Dicastery declared the latae sententiae excommunication in accordance with canon 1364 § 1 CIC. The lifting of the censure in these cases is reserved to the Apostolic See.”

Finally, the statement says: “This decision was communicated to the Most Reverend Viganò on 5 July 2024.”

It was Archbishop Viganò himself who, on June 20, revealed the process against him. The prelate took to social media platform X to publish the full text of the decree summoning him to Rome to answer the charges against him. The summons offered Viganò the opportunity to defend himself or to appoint an advocate to do so, and to appear in person or present a written defence. As he did not choose to avail himself of these means within the specified time limit, he was assigned a public defender who undertook Viganò’s defence according to the norms of law.

On several occasions in recent years, Viganò had declared that he did not recognise the legitimacy of Pope Francis or of the Second Vatican Council. Certain crimes in canon law incur an automatic (latae sententiae) penalty from the very fact of having committed the offence; for the delict of schism, the penalty is excommunication.

According to the Code of Canon Law (canon 1331, paragraph 1), an excommunicated person is prohibited from celebrating the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and the other sacraments; receiving the sacraments, administering sacramentals and celebrating the other ceremonies of liturgical worship, and from taking an active part in the celebrations listed above. Further, they are prohibited from exercising any ecclesiastical offices, duties, ministries, or functions; and from performing acts of governance.

Excommunication is considered a “medicinal” penalty that aims at inviting the offender to repentance. As such, there is always the hope that the subject of excommunication will return to communion.


Viganò excommunicated for schism (Vatican News)


Vatican declares former US envoy excommunicated on July 4 (Crux)

Vatican excommunicates its former ambassador to US (The Guardian)

Pope Francis critic excommunicated by the Vatican (BBC)