Vatican defends pope against 'blasphemous' cover-up claims

A Canadian cardinal has issued a scathing letter criticizing the ambassador who accused Pope Francis of covering up sexual misconduct. Cardinal Marc Ouellet is originally from Quebec and serves as head of the Vatican's bishops office.

He addressed his missive to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, but it is identified as an open letter to the faithful.

The Cardinal says Vigano's claims that Pope Francis helped cover up the sexual misconduct of American ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick are false and blasphemous. He is demanding that Vigano repent. 

Ouellet claims that the conservative cleric had used the scandal over sexual abuse in the U-S to score ideological points with Francis' critics on the Catholic right.

The letter comes a day after Francis authorized a "thorough study" of all Vatican archives into how McCarrick rose through the ranks of the Catholic Church despite allegations he sexually preyed on seminarians and young priests.