Pope Francis knew of Cardinal McCarrick’s heinous serial sexual abuse for at least five years says former Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Vigano.

The former Vatican official in the United States has released an 11-page statement which accuses Pope Francis of covering up his knowledge of the extensive accusations of sexual abuse faced by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States (a diplomatic mission of the Holy See to the United States), released this 11-page statement on Sunday morning while Pope Francis was visiting Knock, in the west of Ireland. Pope Francis is visiting Ireland as part of the World Meeting of Families 2018.

Vigano’s released an 11-page statement to conservative Roman Catholic media outlets. As of Sunday lunchtime the Vatican had declined to comment.

Read more: As Pope Francis lands in Ireland, we remember John Paul II's 1979 visit

In July 2018 Pope Francis accepted Cardinal McCarrick’s resignation. He is the first Cardinal in living memory to resign his position. He did so after a review concluded that claims by a 16-year-old boy of sexual abuse were credible.

Pope Francis Knew About McCarrick, Covered for His Sexual Crimes https://t.co/jcYVq8bVxa pic.twitter.com/ys5PW0P1VV

— Church Militant/St. Michael's Media (@Church_Militant) August 26, 2018

Claims of sexual abuse against McCarrick date back as far as 1994, including younger members of the church as well as seminarians and other priests.

In Vigano’s statement, released on Sunday, he said he had told Francis of the most recent allegations against McCarrick in June 2013, shortly after Francis’ election as Pope.

Vigano wrote “He knew from at least June 23rd, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator…

“Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.”

Vigano also slammed the “homosexual networks present in the Church”.

In fact in Vigano’s 11-page missive the world “homosexual” appears 18 times. The word “child” appears only twice, both in the titles of Church documents.

Vigano’s claims come during Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland. Speaking on Saturday the Pope has slammed the abuse and cover up of sexual abuse by the clergy in the Church. He even went as far as to refer to those who covered up the abuse as human excrement.

Speaking at Dublin Castle Pope Francis said “With regard to the most vulnerable, I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education…

“The failure of ecclesiastical authorities - bishops, religious superiors, priests and others - adequately to address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share these sentiments.”

The Pope will make his final appearance in Dublin this afternoon presiding over a Mass in the Phoenix Park, for an expected crowd of 500,000 people.

Read more: A tale of two popes: Recalling John Paul in Ireland as Francis visits

Pope Francis in prayer at Knock Shrine, County Mayo, on Sunday morning. Maxwell