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‘No one ever talked about McCarrick and the boys’

Media reports have detailed a string of allegations made against McCarrick since the announcement of a Vatican investigation in June 2018.

Then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick attends a Mass in Rome April 13, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Washington D.C., Oct 17, 2019 / 12:41 pm (CNA).- A man claiming to be a former child victim of Theodore McCarrick has written an open essay in response to a recent interview given by the former cardinal. Writing under the name Nathan Doe, the man says that McCarrick sexually abused a series of minors during his years as a cleric.

Media reports have detailed a string of allegations made against McCarrick since the announcement of a Vatican investigation in June 2018. Those reports have referred to McCarrick’s alleged victims as including eight former seminarians and three minors.

“The ‘third’ accuser they were referring to in those news articles was me,” Doe said.

The man says he chose to maintain his anonymity because he does not wish to expose other innocent people to “pain and suffering” by making his name public.

Much of the coverage of allegations against the former cardinal has focused on his apparent crimes against seminarians in the dioceses which he led during his career as a bishop, first in New Jersey and later in Washington, D.C., something which many people have since reported was an “open secret” among those around McCarrick.

“I am not even sure I know what ‘open secret’ means,” Doe wrote in an essay published online on Oct. 17. “What I do know is that no one ever talked about McCarrick and the boys.”

“I am referring to McCarrick’s targets and victims before he was given power and control over all of those seminaries. I am referring to the first act in McCarrick’s sexual abuse career that no one ever talked about before the Summer of 2018. I am referring to young Catholic boys – almost always between the ages of 12 and 16.”

A source with knowledge of the Vatican investigation into McCarrick told CNA that the former cardinal is alleged to have regularly invited high school boys to accompany him on trips between 1971-1977, when he served as secretary to Cardinal Terrence Cooke, then-Archbishop of New York.

As previously reported by CNA, during that same period, McCarrick already had a well-established reputation among seminarians as a predator, with one former student at a New York seminary telling CNA last year that “the dean of our theology school was a classmate at CUA with McCarrick, and he knew about the rumors.”

The priest told CNA that so well-known was McCarrick’s reputation, the priest said, that when McCarrick would accompany Cooke to visit the seminary there was a standing joke that they had to “hide the handsome ones” before he arrived.

Similar accusations were reported by former students at Seton Hall University, home to the Archdiocese of Newark’s seminary. An independent report, commissioned in response to CNA’s reporting, concluded that as Archbishop of Newark, McCarrick created a “culture of fear and intimidation” at the Seton Hall and “used his position of power as then-Archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians.”

In his essay, published on Thursday, Doe said that in addition to these seminary-related allegations, as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, McCarrick abused a group of at least seven boys under the age of 16 who collectively provided evidence to Church authorities during the canonical penal administrative process which resulted in McCarrick’s laicization earlier this year.

“Collectively, we were able to provide law enforcement with names, dates, times, locations, who was present, supporting evidence, and related documentation covering hundreds of Church-related or fundraising-related overnight trips between the years 1970 and 1990 that, as fate would have it, all resulted in McCarrick sharing a bed with a young Catholic boy.”

Doe says he recognized his own experience, and those of other minors abused by McCarrick, in the account of James Grien, initially published anonymously in the New York Times last year.

“To varying degrees, Grein’s story was our story. I don’t know James Grein, have never spoken to him, and I never even knew he existed until that moment, but there were too many details in that interview that only a person in our exclusive club would know.”

The report comes just weeks before the U.S. bishops will meet for their third assembly since the McCarrick scandal broke in June 2018. In November 2018, the bishops defeated 83-137 a resolution that would have urged the Vatican to release a comprehensive dossier on McCarrick.

In October 2018, Pope Francis ordered an internal Vatican investigation into the career of the disgraced McCarrick. Results of that investigation have not been released. While many have criticized the delay in making public a report into McCarrick, Doe said he was undeterred by the apparent delay.

“I have no insights at all into who is writing that report and how all of that will work. What I can tell you is that if they had completed and issued their report before today, I would be sitting here telling you that they closed the book too soon,” he wrote.

Calling McCarrick a “walking jurisdictional nightmare,” Doe said it is important not to “underestimate the sheer volume of information that began coming in last year, the number of different channels that information came in through, and all of the various investigative processes and law enforcement agencies that have been involved with the examination of the information.”

“I am personally inclined to grant all of the investigators all the time they need to do whatever work is necessary to get this done right once and for all,” he said.

Sources in Rome and Washington have confirmed to CNA that large quantities of documents and a detailed report on archdiocesan records have already been compiled and forwarded to Rome, but the Archdiocese of Washington has repeatedly declined to comment on those records.

In June 2019, Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin told CNA he was precluded by a state attorney general’s investigation from releasing the files and reports compiled by his diocese on McCarrick, who was Newark’s archbishop from 1986 to 2000. Tobin is believed to have also forwarded a report to the Vatican detailing McCarrick’s time in Newark.

Doe wrote that despite seeing the coverage of McCarrick’s disgrace, and even though he participated in the canonical process which resulted in the former cardinal’s laicization in February, he “never” thought about making a public statement.

“That all changed when I read McCarrick’s recent interview with Slate magazine where he attempted to discredit the victims of his sexual abuse while creating further division and confusion within our Church.”

In that interview, McCarrick said he is “not as bad as they paint.”

“I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of,” McCarrick said, while going on to suggest that his accusers “were encouraged” to come up with allegations by “enemies” of the former cardinal, pointedly referring to former Vatican diplomat Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as “a representative of the far right” for coming forward with a series of allegations about McCarrick and apparent Vatican knowledge about his behavior.

Some senior Church officials have told CNA that McCarrick was under consideration for an influential Vatican post in 1999; concerns about the former cardinal’s lifestyle are rumored to have played a role in scuttling that plan. McCarrick was nevertheless appointed Washington’s archbishop in 2000, where he continued to serve until his retirement in 2006.

Doe said that he was only concerned with the integrity of McCarrick’s victims, whom he said McCarrick had further abused by suggesting they were politically motivated.

“I don’t have an axe to grind with anyone other than Theodore McCarrick. For me, this is not an attack on our Church. This is not about Conservative vs Liberal. This is not about Straight vs Gay. This is not about Benedict vs. Francis. In my view, those arguments are a distraction.”

“For me, this is about our humanity. This is about the criminal, sexual abuse of minors,” Doe said.

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  1. McCarrick continues to live on the pewsitters dime at the St Fidelis Friary in Victoria, KS.
    The Capuchins and the bishop of Salina have no problem harboring him. McCarrick is not a poor man, FYI.
    Fellow Catholics, only the Feds and A/Gs using RICO laws will ever get to the bottom of this.
    To the USCCB….the RICO nightmare is coming your way. Bet on it.

    • I do believe that the Slate article made it clear that the parishioners are not paying for McCarrick’s living expenses. I think that the parish priest involved made that clear to his parish. You should read the article before saying that the people in Kansas are supporting him financially.

      I don’t know who is paying for his room and board, but he’s living an extremely simple life of just room and board, so it’s highly unlikely that the bills are very high.

      As for McCarrick’s personal wealth… can you provide documentation that he is a very rich man? I suppose if he has a personal lawyer on retainer, any wealth is rapidlly diminishing.

      One of the main points of this article is that Mr Doe is willing to wait for a FULL and complete investigation to be done right. Perhaps we should not leap to conclusions about the financial side of McCarrick’s life of penance and isolation until we know the facts?

      As for ‘harboring’ McCarrick, that sounds like they are giving deliberate ‘safe shelter’ to McCarrick to avoid him being investigated or brought to justice. Again, that’s not how they describe it. They speak of a notorious sinner who is under investigation and has to live SOMEWHERE in penance and prayer. Someone has to be Christ and go out to the tax-collector, prostitute, adulterer or (moral) leper in our midst. Perhaps there are those who wish he would just die and not cost anybody any money (or any prayers or mercy or compassion or sorrow for the fate of his soul). And perhaps there are those who wish he would live a long life so they can see him ‘rot in jail’ (on the dime of all taxpayers). I wonder how our Blessed Mother looks on Theodore McCarrick? (I somehow doubt she was cheered up by the suicide of Judas or eager to dance on his grave.)

      I think we need to focus on the horror of sin and God’s mercy in our OWN lives, before seeking so eagerly the punishment and downfall of other sinners.

      Should they be brought to justice? Yes. But then again, so should I. And so should you, Ranger01. Justice is what we all deserve. But remember, ‘Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US.’ Personally, I’d be too terrified to pray those words if I harbored vengeance in my heart against people who have harmed me or sinned as grievously as McCarrick and others of his ilk.

      The greater the sinner, the greater God’s glory when he repents, is forgiven, and is admitted to heaven. In our concern about justice and money, let’s not forget that God’s mercy is glorified by the repentance of a sinner. Rather pray for McCarrick than get caught up in the anger and vitriol surrounding his case.

      • Please udpdate us on the status of the investigation into McCarrick’s career and, especially, how he managed to climb to one of the most powerful positions in the Church despite his horrendous misdeeds. I don’t think anything official, anyway, is in progress. The Vatican “investigation” and the subsequent laicization of McCarrick were a transparent ploy to foreclose any further inqiuires into how he advanced and who know what. Yes, we should pray for McCarrick’s soul, but the only chance he has for redemption is for him to admit his guilt and do penance publicly. Finally, we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness, but their is a big difference between the guilt of an ordinary sinner and that of sex abusers. It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact, wholly necessary to insist that justice be served in cases such as this.

      • Hmmm, no.
        Never said it was the KS parish supporting him. Diocese of WDC pewsitters and donators to the Capuchins shoulder that burden.
        He has shown no remorse, not even close. He plays word games regarding his guilt. Zero apologies to anyone. Do I seek vengeance? Nope. But I refuse to be played for a sucker.
        He lived a luxurious life on the back of working class people and flaunted it. He has done quite well confusing and distracting Catholics from his crimes. Sorry, age is no excuse and finances are no excuse. He has a wide circle of wealthy, powerful and corrupt associates and ‘friends’ from whom to seek assistance.. Bet on it.
        That is the world in which he chose to live and he did quite well as a spiritual fraud.
        Had McCarrick shown any degree of remorse you may have a case for sympathy and support for this homosexual predator, destroyer of young men called to serve God and molester of minors. However, there has been no contrition, whatsoever, and you have made no case for anyone to help him.
        If your charity extends that far, by all means send him a check. Mine does not. I will support those who truly need support and forgive those who seek forgiveness. So, save your virtue signaling for someone else. Nice try.

    • “I don’t have an axe to grind with anyone other than Theodore McCarrick. For me, this is not an attack on our Church. This is not about Conservative vs Liberal. This is not about Straight vs Gay. This is not about Benedict vs. Francis. In my view, those arguments are a distraction.”

      This is, in fact, about the Life-affirming and Life-sustaining essence of authentic Love versus the possessive, coercive, and manipulate nature of lust.

      “Reflecting on the new permissive attitude of some bishops toward homosexuality, Fr. Murray condemned homosexual acts in blunt terms.
      “A relationship based on sodomy is intrinsically evil,” Murray said”, and I would add abusive, “You don’t sodomize someone and do a good act. That’s an immoral act”, and I would add, an act, that regardless of the actors or the actor’s desires, because of its inherent abusive nature, is in every case, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually harmful and thus devoid of Love.

      Prayers for all those who are suffering from abuse, that they may heal their wounds, and recognized that, through their healthy and Holy relationships and friendships, they are beloved children of a Loving God.

      “For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the Revelation, the Deposit of Faith, delivered through the Apostles. ”

      One cannot be respecting the Sanctity of the marital act within The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony while condoning demeaning sexual acts of any nature.
      The desire to engage in a demeaning sexual act does not change the nature of the act.

    • This is what has been on my mind continually as time passed and the subterfuges, cover-ups and stonewalling continued as per USCCB.
      Let the civil authoties handle it and we’ll see documents galore flying out of the Vatican. Maybe we’ll also find out why Francis habitually removes those who are also in danger of prosecution and sets them up in Rome in lucrative and influential positions for which they are singularly unqualified.

  2. The discussion about McCarrick at Seton Hall and the climate of fear such a person creates would be incomplete without mentioning the fact that before the seminary was moved to Seton Hall, the Catholic newspaper “the Wanderer” had already done a series of articles (maybe five?) in which they described the corruption that already existed in that seminary under Bishop Gerety. McCarrick simply inherited a shameful situation and exploited it.

  3. One certainly appreciates and respects a victim’s desire for anonymity in such terrible matters; however, we are becoming a culture and a continuum of legal empowerment predicated on anonymous accusations.

    The Jack Chick attitude of many people leads them to approve of anonymous accusations against the Church because they want to believe the worst even of St. John Paul, Mother Theresa, and others.

    However, given this camel’s nose under the tent flap (a tired metaphor), the time must come when anonymous accusations become a norm. This legal entitlement, with its concomitant guilty-by-publication (“credibly accused” is not a title under ecclesiastical or secular law), will be used against others, including you and me, and someday our children.

    Do recall the witch-panics of the 18th century, the Know-Nothingness of the 19th, and the bizarre accusation (resulting in convictions) of child-care workers in the 1980s.

    I don’t have a solution, but no one can generate a solution without first acknowledging the reality and the challenge of justice for all.

  4. Accountability chips falling, landing where they should?

    Let us talk of Cardinal Cooke’s reign as mentor to rising clergy as McCarrick. Let us speak of the well-webbed political and ecclesiastical cultural of New York which knew about so much for so long.

    And this:

    Categorize it by as many “philia” and “pedo” subgroups as you wish, but when sexual attraction zero’s in on the first bloom of secondary sexual characteristics, that is homosexuality.

    Homosexuality, no matter the age of the sufferer and those they habitually congress with, always has the whiff of “first bloom attraction” about it. Homosexuality, as a choice, a condition, is permanently stayed at the stage of arrested development. It is the nature of the sin.

    Do I expect the current leadership of the Church to see the point? No. No more than cultural and political realms from which it, frankly, rose.

  5. “In November 2018 the Bishops defeated 83-137 (?) a resolution that would have urged the Vatican to release a comprehensive dossier on McCarrick.”

    The resolution would have had no legal standing, it would have merely urged the Vatican to release a dossier – and the Vatican would have probably ignored it in any case. Yet the Bishops collectively couldn’t assume enough courage to do even that much.

    And they continue to wonder why fewer and fewer come to worship, why fewer and fewer even identify themselves as Catholics.

    How blind can these men be?

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