>> His explosive allegations have rocked the Catholic church. And now Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has denied they were driven by a personal vendetta.>>
> On Sunday, he launched an unprecedented attack on Pope Francis, accusing him of knowing about sexual misconduct by a US cardinal for years, while doing nothing about it.
Vigano also called on the Pope to resign in a 7,000 word statement. He's been in hiding ever since it was published in several conservative media outlets. The 11 page document accuses a long list of past and current Vatican and US church officials of covering up the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who resigned last month in disgrace.
But Italian media has since reported Vigano was upset because he was blocked from advancement by Francis and never made a cardinal by his predecessor Benedict. Vigano was quoted in the blog of an Italian journalist as saying he never had feelings of a vendetta and that he spoke out because, quote, corruption has reached the top levels of church hierarchy.
The Vatican had no response to these latest comments. And on the plane back from his recent visit to Ireland, the Pontiff said he would not say one word about the allegations. Instead, telling journalists to read Vigano's documents carefully and judge it themselves. Francis' supporters believe this is not an isolated attack but an escalation in a conservative campaign to undermine a papacy that's been condemned by some for being too liberal.
They say the accusations are an attempt to pave the way for a conservative pope to succeed Francis, and reverse the concessions he's made to divorced and homosexual Catholics.