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Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano on Sunday released an 11-page letter calling for Francis's resignation, claiming the pope has known for years that McCarrick was sexually abusing minors.

In a detailed 11-page statement given to conservative Roman Catholic media outlets during the pontiff's visit to Ireland, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano also accused a long list of current and past Vatican officials and United States church officials of covering up the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Pope Francis said on Sunday he would not respond to explosive accusations by a former top Vatican official that the pontiff had covered up sexual abuse, saying dismissively that the document containing the allegations "speaks for itself".

Pope Francis "continued to cover" for McCarrick despite the sanctions and even made him "his trusted counselor", Vigano alleged.

Francis was asked by a USA reporter during an airborne press conference Sunday if Vigano's claims that the two discussed the McCarrick allegations in 2013 were true.

"I can't imagine that the archbishop didn't brief him, and there are other service providers to the Pope who are feeding him information on what he's coming to in Ireland", he added.

Mr Vigano alleges that the Pope replied: "Holy Father, I don't know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation of Bishops, there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance".

He accused a long list of current and past Vatican and U.S. Church officials of covering up the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington D.C.

McCarrick, 88, who once led the Archdiocese of Washington and was a force in American politics, resigned last month after a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse of a teenage altar boy.

The Roman Catholic Church is being shaken to its core by yet another round of sexual misconduct allegations.

In a July 29 statement, Cardinal Wuerl said: "When the first claim against Archbishop McCarrick was filed in the Archdiocese of NY, the Archdiocese of Washington reviewed its own files and found no complaints of any kind made against Archbishop McCarrick".

McCarrick has also been linked to at least two financial settlements, including one in 2005 and another in 2007, after priests accused him of sexual abuse.

Vigano was removed from his post in Washington in 2016 by Pope Francis after Vigano was blamed for the controversy that arose after he arranged for the pontiff to meet with a Kentucky clerk who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the New York Times. Wuerl, however, has also been accused of helping to protect abusive priests when he served as Pittsburgh's bishop between 1988 and 2006.

Some Catholic scholars question the motives behind Vigano's inflammatory accusations, but also say the claims are deeply serious as scandal continues to wrack the Catholic Church.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Saturday directly urged the pope to take action against abuses and ensure justice for victims worldwide.

Pope Francis concluded his 32-hour visit to Ireland with a Sunday Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin, with hundreds of thousands of people braving wet and windy weather to attend.