The cardinal was speaking after a report claimed the Pope felt 'embittered' by the controversy

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, has said Pope Francis is “serene” in the face of the Viganò controversy.

The cardinal made his remarks after Ansa, Italian news agency, quoted close collaborators of the Pope saying he felt “embittered” by the affair.

Parolin told La Stampa that the “bitterness and also restlessness” of recent days had not affected Francis.

He said: “I saw a declaration of the Vatican press office that states that the Pope is serene. From what I have seen (in these days, I have been with him during his trip to Ireland and afterwards), he seems serene. The Pope is a great grace, even faced with these things that obviously create so much bitterness and also restlessness. But he has the capacity of having a very serene approach.”

The cardinal said he felt “great pain” at the allegations by Archbishop Viganò, but added: “I hope that we all work in the search of truth and justice, that these be the points of reference, and not other things. Certainly the situation is not worrying at all.”

He declined to comment directly on Archbishop Viganò’s claims, saying: “It’s better not to go down into details on such things. I repeat that which the Pope says: you read it, and make your judgement. The text speaks for itself.”

In his 11-page letter Vigano said the Pope knew about then Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct at least as far back as 2013 and that he ignored sanctions that Benedict XVI tried to impose in 2009 or 2010.

Avvenire, the official newspaper of the bishops’ conference, strongly criticised the claim that Francis was “embittered”, saying it was a “scheme” and a “vulgarity”.

According to Crux’s John Allen, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke also dismissed the story, saying: “Did the Pope seem embittered to you on the plane Sunday night? Please …”