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Why is the Vatican farming out portions of its prosecution to NY archdiocese?

That the CDF tribunal is hearing evidence from James Grein does suggest that Vatican prosecutors have expanded the scope of their case.

Pope Francis greets then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 19, 2013. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Vatican’s prosecution of the disgraced former Archbishop of Washington, DC, Theodore McCarrick is proceeding and has expanded to include at least one witness who came forward after the Archdiocese of New York’s independent review board deemed an earlier allegation against McCarrick credible.

Specifically, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) asked the judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of New York, Msgr. Richard Welch, to take the statement of James Grein, one of McCarrick’s alleged victims, who has been called to witness in the case against him.

Quite legitimate furore erupted following a report yesterday by Nicole Winfield for the Associated Press, detailing some of Mr. Grein’s testimony, including allegations of abuse McCarrick committed against Mr. Grein while celebrating the Sacrament of Christian Penance.

The allegations of fact in the report are sickening: they include sexual assault against Mr. Grein that began when he was as young as 11, and sometimes took place while McCarrick was hearing Mr. Grein’s confession.

The inclusion of Mr. Grein among the witnesses is significant from a technical legal point of view. There has been concern expressed by canon lawyers regarding the Vatican’s ability to make the original complaint against McCarrick stick. The alleged victim, whose complaint the New York archdiocesan review board found credible, was 16 years old when the incident allegedly occurred. Under Church law at the time the incident allegedly occurred, a 16-year-old would not have been a legal minor.

That the CDF tribunal is hearing evidence from Mr. Grein, who came forward with his allegations after news the archdiocesan review board found the original complaint credible, suggests Vatican prosecutors have expanded the scope of their case.

The Press Office of the Holy See did not respond to a request for comment on why CDF is farming out significant portions of its prosecution to officials of the New York archdiocese.

When CDF conducted its canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agaña — a high-profile case, but less significant by orders of magnitude than the case of McCarrick — a college of judges led by Cardinal Raymond Burke was constituted to hear the case, and went to Guam to take evidence.

Archbishop Apuron’s charges included sexual misconduct with minors, but apparently were not limited to those. He was allegedly involved in shady real estate deals and financial irregularities, as well. The trial court found Apuron guilty of some of the charges, though the Vatican has never specified which of the six counts against him in the first instance resulted in guilty verdicts.

The secrecy with which canonical trials are conducted has been a subject of criticism, as Church leadership struggles to close a persistent credibility gap. Catholic News Agency reported that the Archdiocese of New York — for which McCarrick was ordained a priest in 1958, by Cardinal Francis Spellman — issued a letter of suitability for Fr. Donald Timone a week before the New York Times reported the Archdiocese had paid two separate settlements on Timone’s count. The New York Archdiocese also told CNA it had reopened its investigation into Timone in the Fall of 2018.

Earlier this year, an auxiliary bishop of New York, John Jenik, was suspended after the archdiocesan review board deemed an accusation he had an abusive relationship with a minor decades ago “credible and substantiated”.

In the week before Christmas, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, Alexander Salazar, resigned after news he had faced allegations police deemed credible in 2002. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles informed the Holy See of the allegation in 2005. CDF imposed restrictions on Salazar, but did not remove him. He served for thirteen years after the secret CDF restrictions were imposed.

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About Christopher R. Altieri 240 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, editor and author of three books, including Reading the News Without Losing Your Faith (Catholic Truth Society, 2021). He is contributing editor to Catholic World Report.


  1. It seems by failing to communicate about this trial and its novelties that Pope Francis and Archbishop Scicluna and “the 2013 CDF” are trying, among other things, to communicate that they have no regard for Catholics seeking justice in the face of this systemic corruption of the episcopacy.

    I suppose they think themselves “wise.”

  2. Interesting that the Vatican has taken an interest in James Grein. I wonder if it has something to do with information he has and shared some of it in his recent interview with Taylor Marshall.

  3. McCarrick solicited, committed, and absolved an accomplice in, sexual sin–all during the same Confession. This indicates that McCarrick has been an EXCOMMUNICATE for about fifty years.

    This really should surprise no one, because McCarrick has been championing sacrilegious Communion for decades, as has Wuerl, as have the majority of American bishops. None of them seems to have noticed that giving Communion in violation of Canon 915 is a mortal sin. When Raymond Burke pointed this out, the bishops dealt with the question by shunning him.

  4. The Vatican needs to “farm out” criminals to the criminal justice system for the process to work. McCarrick’s case is the epitome of weak actions, penance for life, in a mid-west monastery. He and others in the hierarchy and criminal clerics must feel the full weight of the civil courts.

  5. Lavender mafia is expediting the McCarrick solution in preparation for February meeting where bishops will express repentence and a firm purpose of amendment for their failures and approve the Vatican’s plan for guarding the henhouse. So the rush is on to accept Mr. Grien’s testimony as true, find uncle Ted guilty, and penalize him probably by laicization.

  6. Ted McCarrick is opposed to scripture and tradition, and Christian sexual morality, and he began his post-Christian cult in 1967, with his “Land of Lakes Statement” to ensure formerly Catholic universities began following his sodomizing post-Christian cult. It reached its summit in Oct 2013 when he announced at Villanova that he helped engineer the election of Jorge Bergoglio to “change the Church in 5 years.”

    It’s fruits have now been revealed: life-long suffering and suicide of victims of the homosexual predation by McCarrick and his followers, empty churches, bankrupt dioceses, the Catholic endowment raped by the world-wide McCarrick establishment, and a counterfeit personality cult of 2013.

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