Bannon wants to see sexual abuse tribunal instead of pope’s resignation
© Greg Nash

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon said Sunday that Pope Francis should not resign and instead face a church tribunal, something he said he is working to organize.

"This is as serious as it gets. We can’t have memos and letters and accusations. The pope is from an unbroken chain the Vicar of Christ on Earth. You don’t just sit there and say ‘I think you should resign,' " Bannon told Reuters during a trip to Rome.

As an alternative, Bannon said he is trying to set up an independent, nonpartisan tribunal to dig into scandals in the American arm of the Catholic Church.

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"Until we do that, I don’t think people should be snapping to judgments," Bannon said.

"This is so serious. This is an existential threat to the heart of the institution of the Catholic Church. It is not about doctrine or dogma of the Church," he added.

A number of Vatican officials, including the pope, have been accused by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano and Father Boniface Ramsey of covering up sexual misconduct. 

The Catholic News Service published a letter Sunday from former Archbishop Leonardo Sandri to Ramsey confirming Ramsey's account that the Vatican knew about Archbishop Theodore McCarrick's alleged sexual misconduct. 

The letter also corroborated elements of Vigano's allegations.

Francis previously declined to confirm or deny the accusations against him, saying, "I won't say a word about it."

Last Monday, he urged listeners to meet those seeking only "scandal" and "division" with "silence" in his homily.