Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron breaks with Vatican in letter addressing abuse scandal

Vigneron's advent letter to parishioners expresses concerns about scandal

DETROIT – Archbishop Allen Vigneron shocked some Catholics when he addressed the priest sex abuse scandal and disagreed with the Vatican.

Vigneron's Advent letter to parishioners expressed his concerns about the sex abuse scandal. It's highly unusual to see this type of public rift between Rome and its bishops, and the controversy is deeply upsetting to some Catholics.

"I am tempted to discouragement in the face of the ongoing abuse crisis," Vigneron said in the letter.

He was discouraged by Pope Francis after he gave an order to American bishops at a recent Baltimore meeting.

"I was among many who were surprised and concerned that the Holy See instructed the bishops not to vote on any of our abuse-related proposals," Vigneron said in the letter.

He further elaborated on the radio.

"I think, unfortunately, we weren't able to vote, but again, in God's providence I can see he can bring good out of that," Vigneron said.

Deborah Bloomfield, of Wyandotte, said she reads about the popes and studies the church's teachings. She has a papal blessing of her marriage.

"The holy father is sidestepping issues and he has only created confusion," Bloomfield said.

The spiritual crisis the church is facing has many questioning the church's leadership. Bloomfield applauded the archbishop's letter and believes there is much he can do that he hasn't, at least publicly.

"He has the authority," Bloomfield said. "He doesn't have to rely on the other bishops in this diocese, and we're behind him, praying for him, praying for victims of abuse."

The bishops considered a four-point plan that would have provided for a crisis hotline and ways to investigate complaints, particularly against bishops and then finding places for the bishops to live life in the church after discipline.

Vigneron said he and his fellow bishops will press on to get Rome to do more about the crisis.

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