Pope Francis: ‘I knew nothing about McCarrick’

“I knew nothing about McCarrick, of course, nothing. I have said it several times, I knew nothing,” Pope Francis said in an interview with a Mexican journalist published May 28.

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)

Vatican City, May 28, 2019 / 10:14 am (CNA).- Pope Francis has said that he did not know anything about accusations of sexual abuse by Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal and Archbishop of Washington, prior to when the accusations became public in 2018.

“I knew nothing about McCarrick, of course, nothing. I have said it several times, I knew nothing,” Pope Francis said in an interview with a Mexican journalist published May 28.

Reiterating that he knew nothing beforehand, Francis said the McCarrick case was clear-cut, and emphasized that he acted both before the Vatican process against McCarrick by removing him from the College of Cardinals, and after, when he was found guilty, by dismissing him from the clerical state.

“You know that I did not know anything about McCarrick, otherwise I would not have remained silent,” Pope Francis told Valentina Alazraki. The 13,000-word interview was published on Vatican News in Spanish and Italian.

Pope Francis and the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith dismissed McCarrick from the clerical state in February, after he found guilty in an administrative penal process of solicitation in the Sacrament of Penance and “sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults.”

In the newly published interview, Pope Francis responded to a question about his response to an August 2018 letter by former nuncio to the US Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in which Viganò claimed he told Pope Francis about the allegations concerning McCarrick in 2013.

Viganò also claimed Vatican officials knew of McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct for years, eventually leading to a restriction on the archbishop’s ministry by Benedict XVI in the late 2000s, and a subsequent restoration of McCarrick’s place as a papal advisor by Pope Francis.

Since their publication, Pope Francis has not responded to the charges contained in the Viganò letter, and instead has encouraged journalists to investigate the allegations.

Francis said that when he was questioned about the Viganò letter by journalists aboard the papal plane from Dublin in August 2018, he had not read the entirety of the letter, but after seeing a little thought, “I know what this is,” and “made a choice” to tell journalists to investigate the claims themselves.

“The reason for my silence was first of all that the proofs were there, I told you: ‘judge for yourself.’ It was really an act of trust,” Pope Francis said. He added that he believes it wisest to follow the example of Christ, that “in moments of rage” it is better not to speak: “The Lord has shown us this path and I follow him.”

The pope acknowledged that people often judge silence to be an admission of guilt but said that “it was a silence based on trust in you [journalists].”

“And the result was good, better than if I had started to explain, to defend myself. You judge evidence in hand,” he said.

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  1. Where is the evidence of which he speaks? Has there been an official inquiry or investigation into the chain of communication?

    • Pope Francis is not only an enormous disappointment, he is also a big liar. God help us. May there be a new Pope soon.

      • I hope so, Father, but as Bergoglio has stacked the College of Cardinals, we may be in for another one of these pontificates! I pray that someone comes forth and tells what they knew, when they new and who else knew not only about McCarrick but also of the so-called Homosexual Faction in the Roman Curia. This would blow this entire mess completely out of the water!

  2. “I knew nothing about McCarrick, of course, nothing. I have said it several times, I knew nothing.”

    Okay. When have you “said it several times”? That in and of itself appears to be a lie, unless it’s referring to him saying it previously in this interview. Does anyone have the full transcript? Odd this is coming out the very day McCarrick’s former secretary releases his disclosures.

  3. I know that I don’t believe him, and I don’t think I am alone in that.

    I think that the Pope is lying to me and to millions of others when he makes that statement.

    How sad.

  4. “I know nothing…. I don’t remember”.-Pope Francis.
    This sadly sounds a lot like Richard Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” speech. And just as unconvincing.

  5. Bergoglio places himself beneath contempt. He is only credible in his own mind. Outside of that space he is merely tragic or comical.
    It is mortifying to observe.
    He and his legion are achieving their purpose seemingly without resistance from where there should be the strongest resistance but from a few, such as Viganò. Is it their “brilliance” that allows them to behave as they do, or merely craft? Is it simply the dearth of faith in the episcopate which allows a man who resembles a maniac on a long leash to get away with absurdity? Are we shepherded by an atheist episcopate who substitute self-consolations for the perennial Magisterium?
    This crew — I avoid using the term “men” — resemble nothing more than a clown car in a three ring circus. They have far more in common with Comey, Brennan and Clapper than one would care to acknowledge.

    • Thank you, James! I believe you have echoed the words of many, many Catholics! Perhaps this will begin to put pressure on Bergoglio and he WILL resign. I want a Pope I can believe in and help me in my faith journey! Let’s all keeping praying for it!

  6. Wait. How can he not remember whether he had any such conversations with folks like Vigano but remembers for certain that he knew nothing.

  7. Francis told the journalists to find out for themselves, but refused to release the sealed Vatican documents on McCarrick! He said, “I will not say one word.” But he did! He accused Viganò of being like Satan! Also, when he has said something in the past, it was to accuse victims of lying & calumniating and to fight, as he did when head of Conference of Bishops in Argentina, FOR the accused predator priests. Does he honestly think we are all that stupid??

  8. If he is lying, he should not be the pope. If he truly didn’t know, he is incompetent and should not be pope.

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