Italian archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has been excommunicated by the Vatican after being found guilty of schism − meaning he has split from the Catholic Church − after years of fierce disagreement with the pontiff.

According to the BBC, the 83-year-old ultra-conservative has previously called on the Pope to resign, accusing him of heresy and criticising his stances on immigration, climate change and same-sex couples.

Archbishop Vigano was a senior figure in the Church, serving as papal envoy to Washington from 2011 to 2016.

In 2018 he went into hiding after alleging that the Pope had known about sexual abuse by an American cardinal and failed to act. The Vatican rejected the accusation.

Over time, the archbishop became associated with US conspiracy theorists, criticising Covid vaccines and alleging a “globalist” and “anti-Christian” project by the UN and other groups: both familiar conspiratorial themes.

In a social media post using the Argentine Pope’s given name, Vigano said: “What was attributed to me as guilt for my conviction is now put on record, confirming the Catholic Faith that I fully profess. I repudiate, reject, and condemn the scandals, errors, and heresies of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.” 

The BBC reports that Pope Francis has put himself at odds with traditionalist Catholics by making overtures towards the LGBTQ+ community, championing migrant rights and condemning the excesses of capitalism.

[Image: Paula Flan from Pixabay]