Carlo Maria Viganò

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His Excellency
Carlo Maria Viganò
Apostolic Nuncio to United States
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
Apostolicnuncio viganoholy 600 1.jpg
Archbishop Viganò with President Barack Obama
Appointed October 19, 2011
Ordination March 24, 1968
by Carlo Allorio
Consecration April 26, 1992
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Born (1941-01-16) January 16, 1941 (age 74)
Varese, Italy
Nationality Italian
Previous post Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria (1992-1998)
Official of Secretariat of State (1998-2009)
Secretary-General of the Governatorate of the Vatican City State (2009-2011)
Styles of
Carlo Maria Viganò
Coat of arms of Carlo Maria Viganò.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Archbishop
Posthumous style not applicable

Carlo Maria Viganò, JUD (born 16 January 1941) became the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States on 19 October 2011. He had served as Secretary-General of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, from 16 July 2009 to 3 September 2011.

Early life[edit]

Born in Varese, Viganò was ordained a priest on 24 March 1968. He earned a doctorate in utroque iure (both canon and civil law). 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 also a priest, in the Society of Jesus.[1]


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.[2]

Secretary General of the Vatican City Governatorate[edit]

Main article: Vatileaks scandal

In 2009, Archbishop 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.[3]

News reports that have been denied by the Vatican say that Viganò wrote privately to Pope Benedict XVI on 27 March 2011 in an attempt to forestall his appointment as Nuncio to the U.S. He wrote that "my transfer in this moment would provoke confusion and discouragement for those who thought it was possible to clean up so many situations of corruption and abuse of office."[3] 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".[4]

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... The Presidency also confirms its full confidence in the Directorate and its various employees, having proved unfounded - after careful consideration - suspicions and accusations so completely unfounded as to appear laughable: the report, owing very little to serious journalism, according to which wiretaps of both telephones and offices were to have been carried out during purely administrative and disciplinary proceedings!".[5]

Euro exit[edit]

In 2010 Archbishop Viganò suggested that the Vatican should drop out of the Euro currency agreement, in order to avoid new European banking regulations. At the time Archbishop Viganò was secretary of the Vatican City-state Governatorate. Instead, the Vatican chose to adhere to the Euro agreement and accept the new scrutiny that tougher banking regulations required.[6]

Intervention at Interpol General Assembly[edit]

As Secretary General of the Governatorate, he spoke at the General Assembly of Interpol in November 2010, saying that "the issue which needs to be faced is one closely linked to the process of globalisation which is now affecting every aspect of the life of nations, peoples and individuals, and is accompanied by political and economic changes which are often uncontrolled and even uncontrollable. This in fact is what touches most closely the lives of nations and individual citizens. While it is true that globalisation offers opportunities for development and enrichment, it is also true that it can cause increased poverty and hunger, which in turn can spark chain reactions often leading to widely disparate forms of violence. Nor can we underestimate the fact that the fruits of technological and scientific progress can, for all their enormous benefits to humanity, be used in a way that clearly violates the order of creation, even to the point of denying the sacredness of life and stripping the human person and the family of their natural identity". He went on to say "The Holy See has always recalled this urgent need, conscious of the fact that the desire for peace, the pursuit of justice, respect for the dignity of the person, humanitarian cooperation and assistance are expressions of the just aspirations of the human spirit and the ideals which ought to undergird international relations. The Holy See has done so vigorously, even in recent days, as for example by intervening in the current debate on disarmament at the United Nations and urging all parties to reach agreement on definitive and complete disarmament".[7]

Apostolic Nuncio to the United States[edit]

A Reuters report states Vigano was unwilling to move to Washington.

One of the letters leaked by Benedict's butler in 2012 revealed a clash between Bertone and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. Vigano went over Bertone's head and wrote a letter to Benedict complaining of corruption in the Vatican. Bertone later transferred a reluctant Vigano to Washington.[8]

On 13 August 2011, the Secretary of State informed Viganò that Pope Benedict wished to appoint him Nuncio to the United States,[9] an appointment published on 19 October 2011. Vigano 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.

In contrast to the Reuters report quoted above, Vigano 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".[10] Archbishop Viganò chose 19 October for the announcement because it is the feast of the North American Martyrs.

On September 24, 2015 during his first visit to the United States of America, Pope Francis met Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk whose refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples made her a heroine to social conservatives in the U.S. On October 2, 2015, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that the office of Archbishop Viganò had extended the invitation to Kim Davis and that the pope was probably not briefed about her case. Chief Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi depicted the meeting between Pope Francis as one meet-and-greet among many.[11][12]

In January 2016, Archbishop Viganò will turn 75 years old. Bishops at that age must submit to the Vatican a formal request for permission to resign. However, bishops often stay in their appointments long after as these requests are not automatically accepted.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tosatti, Marco. "The secret report Benedict wrote for Francis". Vatican Insider. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Allen, John L. (26 January 2012). "Vatican denies corruption charges attributed to U.S. nuncio". National Catholic Reporter. 
  4. ^ Winfield, Nicole (26 January 2012). "Vatican official warns pope of corruption". Seattle Times. Associated Press. 
  5. ^ "Dichiarazione della Presidenza del Governatorato dello Stato della Citta del Vaticano". 4 February 2012. La Presidenza conferma altresì la sua piena fiducia nelle Direzioni e nei vari Collaboratori, essendosi rivelati infondati – dopo accurato esame – sospetti e accuse, come del tutto infondata sino ad apparire risibile, la notizia, debitrice di un certo giornalismo assai poco serio, secondo la quale sarebbero state effettuate intercettazioni telefoniche e ambientali all’interno di un procedimento meramente amministrativo e disciplinare! 
  6. ^ "Influential prelate said Vatican should drop Euro, author reports". Catholic World News. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2014.  Citing Benny Lai, Vatican Finances
  7. ^ "Intevernto del Segretario Generale del Governatorato dello Stato della Città del Vaticano alla 79a Assemblea Generale dell'Interpol (Doha, Qatar)". 
  8. ^ In Vatican shake-up, Pope redefines role of second-in-command
  9. ^ Allen, John L. (27 September 2011). "New nuncio is no stranger to politics". National Catholic Reporter. 
  10. ^ Wooden, Cindy (19 October 2011). "Pope names Archbishop Vigano new nuncio to the U.S". Catholic News Service. 
  11. ^ "Archbishop at Center of Mystery of Papal Meeting With Kim Davis". New York Times. 
  12. ^ Piece, Charles (October 1, 2015). "Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled Into Meeting Kim Davis?/The Papal Chase". Esquire. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Archbishop at Center of Mystery of Papal Meeting With Kim Davis". New York Times. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Paul Fouad Tabet
Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria
3 April 1992 – 4 April 1998
Succeeded by
Osvaldo Padilla
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
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
19 October 2011 – present