Cardinal DiNardo: ‘Grave moral failures of judgment’ about McCarrick allegations

“One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter,” says the president of the USCCB.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is seen June 13, 2018 at the opening of the bishops' annual spring assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo has issued a strongly worded statement addressing the “grievous moral failure” in the Church revealed by the scandal surrounding former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

In a statement released today, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said the accusations against Archbishop McCarrick have caused “anger, sadness, and shame” for American bishops, himself included.

The statement comes after it was announced that Pope Francis had accepted McCarrick’s resignation as a cardinal, and assigned him to live in “seclusion, prayer, and penance” pending the outcome of a canonical process.

Addressing both the accusations against McCarrick and the fact that they went publicly undisclosed for decades, Cardinal DiNardo said that great harm had been done, and that there had been “grave moral failures of judgment” by Church leaders.

“These failures raise serious questions,” DiNardo’s statement said. “Why weren’t these allegations of sins against chastity and human dignity disclosed when they were first brought to Church officials? Why wasn’t this egregious situation addressed decades sooner and with justice? What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?”

DiNardo said that the specific charges made against Archbishop McCarrick would be dealt with by the Holy See through a canonical process, where he “will rightly face judgment,” but that clear steps needed to be taken by the American Church as well.

To this end, DiNardo announced that he had convened the USCCB’s Executive Committee to discuss how the American bishops could best respond to the still unfolding scandal. The meeting was the first of several that will take place in the coming months, including at the Conference’s Administrative Committee meeting in September and the General Assembly in November.

Cardinal DiNardo stressed that, while the work of the Conference would necessarily take time, there were several crucial points for immediate action, beginning with an encouragement for every bishop to stand ready to respond with “compassion and justice” to anyone coming forward with an allegation of sexual abuse or harassment.

At the same time, the cardinal urged all victims of sexual assault or harassment, by anyone in the Church, to come forward and, if the allegations concern a civil crime, to notify local law enforcement as well.

Cardinal DiNardo pledged that the USCCB would do everything in its power to respond to the allegations against McCarrick, and if necessary encourage others to do the same.

“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick’s conduct to the full extent of its authority; and where that authority finds its limits, the Conference will advocate with those who do have the authority.”

“One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter.”

The statement, which was issued to all Catholic bishops in the United States, ends by acknowledging that a “spiritual conversion” is needed as U.S. bishops seek to renew their relationship among each other and with God.

In recent weeks, many bishops, archbishops, and cardinals have been the subject of pointed questions about the handling of allegations made against McCarrick, over a period of years.

“Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality,” DiNardo concluded. “The way forward must involve learning from past sins.”

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  1. Anger is the correct word.

    The appalling fact that it took weeks for Bishops to recognize that is a BIG MINUS, reflecting, among other things, a prevailing interior deficit in the regard for justice.

    The office of Bishop is an office of the Church. The USCCB is NOT.

    The fact that a mere 2 Bishops spoke before the USCCB shows a generally appalling disposition of the Bishops, that they would wait for weeks to try to get on the same page.

    Pathetic…at most…

    Confidence in USCCB as a group: ZERO.

    • The office of Bishop is an office of the Church. The USCCB is NOT.

      I can’t help but wonder if in the days before bishops’ conferences, hedonistic, homosexual, Hugh-Hefner-wearing-a-miter type bishops were more easily purged from the Church. You didn’t have as much organized peer pressure among the bishops back then, which meant more freedom for a bishop to openly condemn another bishop’s hedonism.

  2. Praise the Lord for a clear, strong statement from Cdl. DiNardo. I would just edit the concluding statement to read: “… learning from repentance for past sins.”

    • It was not strong at all. It was bureaucratic jibberish. For those that knew, they need to resign. For those that are practicing homosexuals, they need to resign. For those who protected predators, they need to resign. If the homo invasion was accepted, promoted or tolerated, all these “leaders”need to resign immediately

  3. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops must do two things:
    (1) The 2002 USCCB guidelines for addressing clerical sexual abuse do not include bishops. The guidelines must be amended to include bishops.
    (2) A thorough investigation must be conducted into which bishops knowingly remained silent about McCarrick’s decades-long irresponsible behavior, and appropriate sanctions must be imposed on those bishops.

  4. Cardinal DiNardo makes three important points, “Why weren’t these allegations of sins against chastity and human dignity disclosed when they were first brought to Church officials? Why wasn’t this egregious situation addressed decades sooner and with justice? What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?” He correctly cites sins against chastity, alludes to hierarchy and is apparently intent on action. What’s missing is acknowledgement that it is homosexual behavior, a sin against the Order of Nature, a reflection of the Eternal Law that is the root cause of the Church’s dilemma. That will require an abundance of moral courage in today’s Church. It’s a hopeful statement that must be followed through. Nonetheless unless the Pontiff delegates authority the USCCB have no power to remove a bishop. The Pontiff must offer full support.

  5. I must admit that I am skeptical at best about the sincerity of this PC statement. Camouflage comes to mind. And I suspect that they have been monitoring the outcry and the refusal to go along with prior sentiments (like those given by Bishop Tobin of Providence) and are now trying to construct a reply to fit the mood. No peace until several mitered heads and priests are in prison.

    • D’accord. The idea that the cardinal’s words constitute “a strongly worded statement” is laughable. A strongly worded statement would have been something more like the following: “Over the last half century, at least, the Catholic priesthood and religious orders have been infiltrated with active homosexuals, many of whom are now among the episcopate and even in Rome itself. They have caused great harm and untold suffering to others. We will now proceed to purge the priesthood and seminaries of all sodomites, along with their enablers, who will be dismissed from the priesthood and/or religious orders and laicized or released from their vows.”

    • Some of his statement is simply ludicrous and tends toward obfuscation “Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality.” What? The church is suffering from long term secret networks of homosexuals. Di Nardo blames EVERYONE in the church again, in order to cover up for a few. As in 2002, when they attempted to blame eveyrone for the crimes of the homosexuals in the church, here they do it again.

      Protecing seminarians? From what? Some vague undefined problem that Di Nardo dare not blame. Of course, it is homosexuals who have destoryed seminary after seminary, and driven the good men out of the church.

      If this cowardice continues, I fear for the future of the church. We are at the point where we will simply disapear, like the Episcopalians, who openly accepted homosexuals as priests. Catholic bishops seem to want to do the same thing, only secretly. Shame,

  6. “What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?”
    Are they equating “misuse of power” to sexual assault and rape? I never thought it would get to this.

  7. Article: “To this end, DiNardo announced that he had convened the USCCB’s Executive Committee to discuss how the American bishops could best respond to the still unfolding scandal.”.


    Two Questions: Has DiNardo himself heard whispers about this and other whispers about the other bishops? What did he do about that?

  8. Doubtlessly Cardinal DiNardo is correct. This was an exhibition of “grave moral failures of judgment.” But that is a polite and somewhat elitist estimation of a calamity which is something far more significant. The McCarrick cover-up [one among countless others] is supremely an exhibition of clerical and episcopal abuse of office which knows no bounds. The abuse is theological, moral, administrative, and fiscal.
    They know no accountability. The episcopate is protracted adolescence run amuck with the car keys and fifth of vodka. It is running rough shod in Rome and globally.
    Having abandoned the perennial Magisterium of Catholicism they have shattered the “social contract” which exists to support the living out of the Gospel within Ecclesia and in the world. The one sacrosanct proposition which has remained in place is to obey episcopal authority except when it is being exercised by a cleric of any rank with an orthodox perspective.
    The only protocol remaining is to obey the left-wing knee jerk reaction which holds the reins in dioceses across the nation, the world and most importantly in Rome.
    An authoritative body which has abandoned its sole reason for existence has no authority at all.
    Be still. Clean it up. Make it work. The beginning of that endeavor is to give the reins to men of orthodox faith and fortitude who can restore integrity of purpose and practice across the multifaceted reality of Roman Catholicism. The men presently in place have proved themselves almost universally inadequate to that task.

  9. DiNardo said the accusations against McCarrick have caused “anger, sadness and shame” for American Bishops, himself included.

    How about us? How about the people who go to Mass every week, give as much as they can, help out in the Parish and see this going on? How do they think we feel? We will continue to go to Mass, give what we can, and do what we can, which is what is expected of us.

    But when acquaintances who are not Catholic ask about these stories – what are we to say?

    • If you continue to go, to give them money, and to participate, what incentive is there for them to change?
      Nice Catch 22, is it not?

      • I live in Maine. I give every week to the parish collection, I give to a soup kitchen in Alabama every month.

        The Bishop’s annual collection – as long as he says nothing about our ‘Catholic’ Senator Susan Collins, who claims to be ‘Catholic’ and is at the same time is pro-choice, they’ll get nothing from me.

  10. Father, clerical dominance has been a complaint for decades. I have complained in this forum why Cardinal Law was retrieved from the Boston swamp of “cover up” by Pope John Paul II and given an assignment in the Vatican as High Priest? Why Cardinal Mahony of LA, after being accused of a cover up of a visiting Mexican Priest who was notorious rapist, was allowed to vote for Francis? I blame Pope Benedict III, the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia.

    The telling facts reveal themselves by the empty civil jail cells.

  11. The following casts a shadow, a very dark shadow over the actual direction of the Church regards homosexuality, the real impact of McCarrick’s demotion and perhaps unfortunately Cardinal DiNardo’s response. Sandro Magister’s latest The Miraculous Career of Cardinal Kevin Farrell indicates that direction. An excerpt: “But what seems even more rash [than John Paul II’s promotion of McCarrick] is the decision of Pope Francis to call to Rome as head of the dicastery for the family a character like Farrell, who had one after another as his villainous mentors the serial predators Maciel and McCarrick, and moreover presents himself today as a proponent of the legitimization of homosexual amours” (Magister). Cardinal Farrell signed the preface to James Martin SJ’s Building a Bridge and will join Martin’s entourage in Ireland for a symposium on the family. The movement within the Vatican by all indication endorsed by the Pontiff is toward legitimization of homosexuality. Nevertheless that is all the more reason for Cardinal DiNardo to act with moral courage as it is for the rest of us.

    • This is a public comment depressing yet informative of the depth of our dilemma posted in Nat Catholic Reg by Florence Sundberg, “My Dallas Bishop, Kevin Farrell, has appointed a new pastor for the beautiful large parish in McKinney, TX named St. Michael’s Catholic Church. St. Michael’s parishioners, and they number thousands of families, recently completed construction of a beautiful Traditional looking gothic church. St. Michael’s is still a Novus Ordo parish. It is only 30 miles South of our Ranch. At one time, we did attend this parish for many years in the past. However, we could never consider attending it now. Let me explain why St. Michael’s is now a huge problem. The new pastor, appointed this month by the Dallas bishop, is one of ‘The Boys’ photographed on the well-known [now closed down] sodomite priest website called ‘St. Sebastian’s Angels’”.

  12. “Grave moral failures of judgment.”

    Ya think?

    How about this – This is yet another instance wherein you have betrayed us.

  13. USCCB, worthless. USCCB leadership, resign immediately.
    DiNardo, please, you are a shadow of a true bishop.
    Return to your masters at the DNC and beg for their table scraps.

  14. KJG – I responded once but it was blocked.

    I give money to the parish every week, to a soup kitchen in Alabama every month, but when the Bishop comes calling the answer is no.

    BUT – if you would say something about our so-called Catholic Senator Susan Collins, who is pro-choice and has been quoted as saying that her vote for or against Kavanaugh rides (among other things) on his opinion of Roe v. Wade, then maybe we can talk.

    • Yes, I did see your reply. All money is fungible, however, and if your diocese is set up like mine, the bishop takes his cut from your parish’s collection plate. I am not, however, meaning to criticize anyone’s choices. This is a huge mess. It will not be easy corrected.

  15. There is only one thing we can do. We must rise from the ashes of this horrendous sickening crisis. We must reform the liturgy to be once again a beautiful SACRIFICE of the Mass. We must PROTECT the EUCHARIST instead of treating Jesus Himself as something to be tossed in our hand without the benefit of confessing our sins first. The reverence and awe of GOD must be imbued into our religion once again. How far we have come from Vatican II whose members hijacked the original purpose of the Council and watered down the faith into “it’s about us” movement instead of “it’s about God and our place below HIM!” How often is the I Confess eliminated from the Liturgy. I dare say no one knows that they are guilty anything these days — Lord have mercy on us because we are “good and sinless and “I’m a good person” Yeah right. Wake up! Clean out all of these guys every single one of them NOW. Weak liturgy, weak Church — evil creeps in. Weak leaders. Shameful. But don’t leave the Church, don’t leave Jesus Himself in the Tabernacle defenseless. Fight on! Fight on! Save the Roman Catholic Church! Save the souls of Mankind!

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