‘I will not say a single word on this,’ Pope Francis told reporters on board the papal plane from Dublin to Rome.
And yet in the thirty or so days since the publication of the testimony of Archbishop Vigano, Francis has almost daily spoken about it. True the tone alternates between pious victimhood and virulent denunciation, in a way which suggests turbulent emotions and internal confusion. But Vigano has seldom been out of his thoughts – at Mass in Casa Santa Marta; on the aeroplane back from Tallin; at the routine Angelus.
Vigano has got under his skin. Which is why, in the medium or long term, there is bound to be an official response, despite speculation to the contrary. It will be fascinating to see what statement will eventually be issued by the Holy See. There are but three possibilities:
An attempt will be made to vilify the Archbishop (as the Great Accuser, intent on destroying the Church), or
Francis will be portrayed as an innocent, surrounded by men whose motives he was too holy to suspect,
An investigation will be instituted, staffed by those who have a vested interest in not uncovering the truth.
At the moment it is not clear which it will be.