Archbishop Viganò'
© CopyrightScreenshot of Archbishop Viganò's YouTube channel. Ultra-conservative Carlo Maria Viganò says he is accused of splitting the church and denying pontiff's legitimacy.
A former Catholic church diplomat and virulent critic of Pope Francis has said the Vatican is putting him on trial for denying the pontiff's legitimacy.

Carlo Maria Viganò, 83, an ultra-conservative who was the Vatican's ambassador to the US from 2011 to 2016, said the powerful department of doctrine had summoned him on Thursday to hear the charges.

In posts in several languages on X, Viganò said the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith had set out accusations "of having committed the crime of schism" - that is, splitting the Catholic church.

He was also charged with "having denied the legitimacy of 'Pope Francis', of having broken communion 'with Him', and of having rejected the Second Vatican Council" in the 1960s, which set the church on a modernising path, Viganò wrote.

The retired Italian archbishop said he was facing an "extrajudicial penal trial", an accelerated process.

"I regard the accusations against me as an honour," he said before launching into a lengthy criticism of the pope.

He railed against Francis's welcome for undocumented migrants, his "delirious encyclicals" about climate change and authorisation of blessings for same-sex couples, and accused him of promoting his allies.

"I repudiate, reject and condemn the scandals, errors and heresies of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who manifests an absolutely tyrannical management of power," he wrote, using the Argentinian pope's given name.

The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Comment: Viganò's post on X:
𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗷𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗶𝘀𝗺

The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has informed me, with a simple email, of the initiation of an extrajudicial penal trial against me, with the accusation of having committed the crime of schism and charging me of having denied the legitimacy of "Pope Francis" of having broken communion "with Him" and of having rejected the Second Vatican Council. I have been summoned to the Palace of the Holy Office on June 20, in person or represented by a canon lawyer. I assume that the sentence has already been prepared, given that it is an extrajudicial process.

I regard the accusations against me as an honor. I believe that the very wording of the charges confirms the theses that I have repeatedly defended in my various addresses. It is no coincidence that the accusation against me concerns the questioning of the legitimacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the rejection of Vatican II: the Council represents the ideological, theological, moral, and liturgical cancer of which the Bergoglian "synodal church" is the necessary metastasis.

In 2018, Viganò, backed by an ultra-conservative US church faction, called for Francis to resign. He accused him notably of having ignored sexual assault allegations against a then top US cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked by Francis the following year.

Viganò, a former governor of the Vatican city state, complained in leaked letters to the pope that he was being hounded out for stamping out fraud.