Takeaways from Vatican’s McCarrick report as US bishops meet

Takeaways from Vatican's McCarrick report as US bishops meet

U.S. Catholic bishops are holding their annual fall meeting nearly this week with the Vatican’s latest report on the rise and fall of disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick one in all their important matters for dialogue.

Launched final week after a two-year investigation, the report discovered that three a long time of bishops, cardinals and popes dismissed or downplayed reviews McCarrick shared his mattress with seminarians.

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick final yr after a Vatican investigation decided he sexually abused kids and adults. Francis acted after a former altar boy got here ahead in 2017 with allegations McCarrick groped him within the Seventies.

Francis commissioned the extra in-depth probe into who knew what and when after a former Vatican ambassador, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, alleged in 2018 that some two dozen church officers had been conscious of McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with grownup seminarians however coated it up for 20 years.

Listed here are some key takeaways from the report.



The report faulted particularly St. John Paul II, who was pope from 1978 to 2005. It revealed that the pontiff appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington in 2000 and later made him a cardinal regardless of having commissioned an inquiry that confirmed he shared his mattress with seminarians. The 2000 inquiry advisable McCarrick not be promoted given the potential for scandal if his habits ever turned public.

John Paul seems to have been swayed by a last-minute letter McCarrick wrote to his secretary, then-Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, asserting he by no means had “sexual relations” with anybody.



Benedict (2005-2013) took some in the end ineffective steps in 2005, after the Vatican obtained documentation from a former Metuchen, New Jersey, seminarian who in 1994 complained to his bishop about abuse by McCarrick.

Benedict determined towards a canonical trial or sanction, partly as a result of the Vatican’s in-house authorized code didn’t present methods to prosecute outdated instances of monks who slept with younger males. As a substitute, the Vatican’s bishops workplace urged McCarrick to maintain a low profile and reduce his journey.

McCarrick disobeyed, and the bishops workplace put the request in writing in 2008. However nonetheless he traveled extensively throughout Benedict’s papacy, together with to common conferences on the Vatican, Bosnia, Lebanon, Qatar, Eire and all through Asia.



The report discovered that Francis, who turned pope in 2013, didn’t raise or alter these restrictions on McCarrick, nor did he examine additional when aides instructed him in regards to the cardinal’s previous. It stated Francis merely continued within the path charted by Benedict.

Nevertheless, McCarrick’s journey appears to have intensified below Francis and had his blessing. He corresponded instantly with the pope — 17 identified letters in 4 years — and the Vatican’s secretary of state about his efforts to forge higher relations with China and Muslim leaders.

The report, organized chronologically, devotes a small fraction of its consideration to the present papacy, beginning on web page 393 of the 449-page doc. It stated Francis had by no means heard of any restrictions on McCarrick previous to turning into pope, and solely heard from his No. 2, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, about “previous imprudent acts with adults.”

The report stated Parolin didn’t current the difficulty as a matter of grave concern, and stated he recalled that Francis stated “possibly McCarrick may nonetheless do one thing helpful.”



Vigano was a profession Vatican diplomat who served within the secretariat of state earlier than being named to run the Vatican Metropolis State in 2009. Throughout his tenure, he claimed credit score for rooting out corruption and waste, however his zeal ruffled feathers and Benedict in 2011 transferred him to be ambassador to the U.S.

In Washington by means of 2016, Vigano turned strongly affiliated with the conservative wing of the U.S. church that dominated the U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops, turning into a champion of its opposition to homosexual marriage and abortion. A dozen or so U.S. bishops assembly this week publicly vouched for his integrity after his 2018 expose.

Probably the most explosive allegation in Vigano’s 2018 denunciation was that Francis lifted “sanctions” imposed by Benedict and made McCarrick a trusted adviser who had a hand in U.S. bishop nominations. Vigano referred to as on Francis to resign for having ignored what he stated was his personal verbal warning in 2013 that McCarrick had “corrupted generations of monks and seminarians.”

Lots of Vigano’s central assertions had been confirmed within the Vatican report however not those involving Francis. “No data help Vigano’s account and proof as to what he stated is sharply disputed,” it stated.



The report supplied no conclusions or suggestions to forestall future scandals involving clergy who misuse their energy to sexually abuse adults.

It supplied no contextual evaluation of the tradition of the Vatican and U.S. church hierarchy, nor did it present any background about what some critics say is widespread however unstated gay exercise in some U.S. seminaries and the priesthood at giant. It additionally didn’t clarify or hypothesize why some officers might need been disposed to cowl for McCarrick and dismiss reviews towards him as rumor or ideologically motivated.

The report does, nevertheless, doc that McCarrick was capable of rise by means of the hierarchy as a result of he may rely on the church’s tradition of silence, clerical privilege and worry of scandal.

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