Carlo Maria Viganò

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His Excellency
Carlo Maria Viganò
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
Apostolicnuncio viganoholy 600 1.jpg
Viganò with US President Barack Obama
Appointed 19 October 2011
Ordination 24 March 1968
by Carlo Allorio
Consecration 26 April 1992
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Born (1941-01-16) 16 January 1941 (age 77)
Varese, Italy
Nationality Italian
Previous post Apostolic Nuncio to the United States (2011–2016)
Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria (1992–1998)
Official of Secretariat of State (1998–2009)
Secretary-General of the Governorate of the Vatican City State (2009–2011)
Styles of
Carlo Maria Viganò
Coat of arms of Carlo Maria Viganò.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Archbishop

Carlo Maria Viganò (born 16 January 1941) served as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States from 19 October 2011 to 12 April 2016. He previously served as Secretary-General of the Governorate of Vatican City State from 16 July 2009 to 3 September 2011.

Early life[edit]

Carlo Maria Viganò was born 16 January 1941 in Varese, Italy. Viganò was ordained a priest on 24 March 1968. He earned a doctorate in utroque iure (both canon and civil law).[1] He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1973, and worked at the papal diplomatic missions in Iraq and Great Britain. From 1978 to 1989, he held posts at the Secretariat of State. He was named Special Envoy and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 4 April 1989. In addition to his native Italian, he speaks French, Spanish and English.

His brother, Lorenzo, is a Jesuit priest.[2]


On 3 April 1992, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana and Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria by Pope John Paul II. He was consecrated by the Pope, with Cardinals Franciszek Macharski and Angelo Sodano serving as co-consecrators, on 26 April. Pope John Paul II visited Nigeria in 1997 while Viganò was Apostolic Nuncio there. At the close of his mission to Nigeria, he was assigned to functions within the Secretariat of State as delegate for Pontifical Representations, making him the personnel chief for the Roman curia in addition to Vatican diplomats. He served in this role until he became Secretary General of the Governatorate on 16 July 2009.[3]

Secretary General of the Vatican City Governatorate[edit]

In 2009, Viganò was appointed Secretary General of the Vatican City Governatorate. In that role he established centralized accounting procedures and accountability for cost overruns that helped turn a US$10.5 million deficit for the city-state into a surplus of $44 million in one year.[4]

In 2010, Viganò suggested that the Vatican should drop out of the Euro currency agreement in order to avoid new European banking regulations. Instead, the Vatican chose to adhere to the Euro agreement and accept the new scrutiny that tougher banking regulations required.[5] In late January 2012 a television program aired in Italy under the name of Gli intoccabili (The Untouchables),[6] purporting to disclose confidential letters and memos of the Vatican.[7] Among the documents were letters written to the pope and to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, by Viganò, complaining of corruption in Vatican finances and a campaign of defamation against him. Viganò, formerly the second ranked Vatican administrator to the pope, requested not to be transferred for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions in higher contract prices.

On 4 February 2012, Cardinal-President Emeritus Giovanni Lajolo, President Giuseppe Bertello, Secretary-General Giuseppe Sciacca and former Vice Secretary-General Giorgio Corbellini issued a joint statement on behalf of the Governatorate of the Vatican: "The unauthorized publication of two letters of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the first addressed to the Holy Father on March 27, 2011, the second to the Cardinal Secretary of State on May 8, for the Governorate of Vatican City is a source of great bitterness". It continued, "The allegations contained in them can not but lead to the impression that the Governorate of Vatican City, instead of being an instrument of responsible government, is an unreliable entity, at the mercy of dark forces. After careful examination of the contents of the two letters, the President of the Governorate sees it as its duty to publicly declare that those assertions are the result of erroneous assessments, or fears based on unsubstantiated evidence, even openly contradicted by the main characters invoked as witnesses".[8]

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, formerly the head of the Vatican's Prefecture of the Economic Affairs, its auditing office, said, "From what I know, I don't think there was actual corruption." But he did concede the possibility of "instances of a lack of correctness".[9] John L. Allen Jr. suggests Viganò's transfer could have been about personality rather than policy. "[T]his would not seem to be about a courageous whistle-blower who's trying to expose wrong-doing or prompt reform. The motives seem more personal and political."[10]

Apostolic Nuncio to the United States[edit]

On 13 August 2011, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone informed Viganò that Pope Benedict was appointing him Nuncio to the United States.[11] Reuters reported that Viganò was unwilling to take that assignment. One of the letters leaked by Benedict's butler in 2012 revealed that Viganò had gone over Bertone's head and complained in a letter to Benedict of corruption in the Vatican, for which Bertone arranged to transfer Viganò to Washington over Viganò's objections.[12] The Vatican published Viganò's Washington appointment on 19 October 2011 and Viganò became the 14th papal representative to the United States since the creation of the post in 1893 and the fifth to serve as a diplomatic representative accredited to the government since bilateral diplomatic relations were established in 1984. Viganò said he welcomed the appointment and said that being Apostolic Nuncio to the United States is an "important, vast and delicate" task; he was grateful to Pope Benedict for entrusting him with the mission and he felt called to renew his "trust in the Lord, who asks me to set out again". Being an Apostolic Nuncio, he said, is "a call to know this people, this country and come to love them".[13] Viganò chose 19 October for the announcement because it is the feast of the North American Martyrs.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, commented: "In a way, [it] enhances his credibility as someone who does not look upon the internal workings of the Holy See with rose-colored glasses, but is well aware of difficulties there."[10]

In 2014, Viganò ordered officials of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to end an investigation into sexual misconduct on the part of Archbishop John Nienstedt even after two auxiliary bishops explained that the investigation was far from complete.[14][15] He ordered those bishops to destroy a letter they wrote him in which they objected and told him "this would rightly be seen as a cover-up".[16][17]

On 24 September 2015 during his visit to the United States, Pope Francis met Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On 2 October, Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that the office of Viganò had extended the invitation to Davis. Chief Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi depicted the meeting as one among many brief introductions rather than an audience.[18][19]

In January 2016, he submitted his resignation as required when he turned 75 years old. On 12 April 2016, Pope Francis accepted Viganò's resignation and named Archbishop Christophe Pierre to succeed him as nuncio to the United States.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò", Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land
  2. ^ Tosatti, Marco. "The secret report Benedict wrote for Francis". Vatican Insider. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Allen, John L. (26 January 2012). "Vatican denies corruption charges attributed to U.S. nuncio". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Influential prelate said Vatican should drop Euro, author reports". Catholic World News. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Ivereigh, Austen (2014). The Great Reformer. Macmillan. p. 343. ISBN 9781627791571. 
  7. ^ Squires, Nick (23 May 2012). "Vatican newspaper editor accused of gay smear against rival". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dichiarazione della Presidenza del Governatorato dello Stato della Citta del Vaticano". 4 February 2012. [dead link]
  9. ^ Winfield, Nicole (26 January 2012). "Vatican official warns pope of corruption". Seattle Times. Associated Press. 
  10. ^ a b Allen Jr., John L. (17 February 2012). "Five questions about the Vatican's leaks scandal". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  11. ^ Allen, John L. (27 September 2011). "New nuncio is no stranger to politics". National Catholic Reporter. 
  12. ^ Pullella, Philip (13 March 2014). "In Vatican shake-up, Pope redefines role of second-in-command". Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  13. ^ Wooden, Cindy (19 October 2011). "Pope names Archbishop Vigano new nuncio to the U.S". Catholic News Service. 
  14. ^ Goodstein, Laurie; Perez-Pena, Richard (20 July 2016). "Minnesota Priest's Memo Says Vatican Ambassador Tried to Stifle Sex Abuse Inquiry". New York Times. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  15. ^ Yuen, Laura; Cox, Peter (21 July 2016). "Did the Vatican halt an investigation into former Twin Cities Archbishop Nienstedt?". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  16. ^ Eccher, Marino (20 July 2016). "Vatican ambassador sought to bury Nienstedt misconduct, documents say". Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  17. ^ Roewe, Brian (21 July 2016). "Memo: Vatican nuncio quashed sexual misconduct inquiry of Archbishop Niensted". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  18. ^ "Archbishop at Center of Mystery of Papal Meeting With Kim Davis". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Piece, Charles (1 October 2015). "Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled Into Meeting Kim Davis?/The Papal Chase". Esquire. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "Vatican Envoy Who Invited Kim Davis to Papal Meeting Retires". New York Times. Associated Press. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Paul Fouad Tabet
Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria
3 April 1992 – 4 April 1998
Succeeded by
Osvaldo Padilla
Preceded by
Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
19 October 2011 – 12 April 2016
Succeeded by
Christophe Pierre
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francesco Monterisi
Delegate for Pontifical Representations
4 April 1998 – 16 July 2009
Succeeded by
Luciano Suriani
Preceded by
Renato Boccardo
Secretary-General of the Governatorate of the Vatican City State
16 July 2009 – 3 September 2011
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Sciacca