Catholic archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former ambassador for the Vatican to the United States, was excommunicated by Pope Francis on Thursday, according to a Friday press release. Viganò, a fierce conservative critic who has questioned Francis for years on matters of theology and ideology, was found guilty of schism for his “refusal to recognize 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.”

Viganò has brutally criticized the Pope in the past, calling him “a servant of Satan” and demanding that he resign. An excommunication is a very rare motion in recent Catholic history, representing an extremely drastic escalation in the ideological conflict within the Church’s ranks.

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As Valuetainment previously reported, Viganò was summoned on June 20th for a trial concerning his charge of the crime of “schism” for rejecting the legitimacy of Pope Francis and the Second Vatican Council.

I regard the accusations against me as an honor,” Viganò wrote at the time. “I believe that the very wording of the charges confirms the theses that I have repeatedly defended in my various addresses. It is no coincidence that the accusation against me concerns the questioning of the legitimacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the rejection of Vatican II: the Council represents the ideological, theological, moral, and liturgical cancer of which the Bergoglian “synodal church” is the necessary metastasis.”

The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, was an ecumenical council held by Pope John XXIII to encourage the Catholic priesthood to adapt to modern times and liberalize the Church’s methods to give it a more widespread appeal. This included a new form of the mass (the “Novus Ordo,” replacing the “Tridentine”), approval to deliver the mass in vernacular languages rather than Latin, the encouragement of interfaith dialogue, the explicit declaration that Jewish people do not bear the responsibility of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, approval to televise masses, and the approval to consider Biblical texts in their historical context rather than purely as scripture.

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics and business for VT and a regular guest on The Unusual Suspects. Follow Shane’s work here.

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