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McCarrick Report: Catholics ‘shocked, saddened, scandalized and angered,’ US bishops say

Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Credit: U.S. Institute of Peace CC BY NC 2.0_CNA

CNA Staff, Nov 10, 2020 / 07:35 am (CNA).- The Catholic bishops of the United States expressed their renewed desire for healing Tuesday, after the Vatican’s release of a long-awaited report on the career of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, with bishops stressing their commitment to accountability and concern for victims of abuse.

The McCarrick Report, which is more than 450 pages long, follows a two-year investigation by the Vatican into the Church’s institutional knowledge and decision making process regarding McCarrick.

Cardinal-designate Wilton Gregory of Washington, where McCarrick was archbishop and later a cardinal, called the report’s release “important, difficult, and necessary.”

“Though I am only now receiving this document, as you are, and have not had an opportunity to read it carefully, by virtue of the simple fact that this investigation had to be conducted and this report has to be written, my heart hurts for all who will be shocked, saddened, scandalized and angered by the revelations contained therein,” said Gregory in a statement released on Tuesday morning.

“Nonetheless, we know that if true redemptive healing is ever to commence – for those who have been harmed and for the Church Herself- this disclosure must be made.

Gregory promised that he would have “more to say” after he is able “to study the report more closely, especially as it relates to our Archdiocese of Washington.”

The report “demands prayerful, thorough and thoughtful reflection,” said Gregory.

The McCarrick Report, released Nov. 10, is the result of a two-year investigation first announced by Pope Francis in October 2018.

The Report found that, while allegations of misconduct by McCarrick were known at various stages of his rise through the Church’s hierarchy, at the time decisions were taken to promote McCarrick the claims lacked supporting evidence. The Report also said that Pope St. John Paul II had been given “inaccurate and incomplete” information on McCarrick by several U.S. bishops.

The Archdiocese of Newark, where McCarrick was archbishop for 15 years, released a statement from Cardinal Joseph Tobin, calling the release of the report “unprecedented and substantial.”

“We commend the leadership of Pope Francis and the Holy See in seeking to bring collective healing to victims of Theodore McCarrick and all those who have suffered because of clergy sexual abuse, while attempting to restore justice for the Catholic community that has been so grievously wounded by sexual abuse, abuse of power and the mishandling of allegations,” said Tobin.

The cardinal described the report as “a significant and powerful step forward in advancing accountability and transparency regarding sexual abuse.”

“Beyond the victims themselves, failures by some leaders in the Catholic Church have wounded many including the families and loved ones of victims and the faithful. It is important to recognize that the Church has made progress in responding to clergy abuse by implementing and updating policies and programs to safeguard the faithful, especially the most vulnerable among us,” Tobin said.

Tobin added that he hoped that the report “will provide insights that will help us to strengthen further our well-established programs aimed at protecting the faithful.”

“We remain united in our sympathy and support for all victims of sexual abuse and pray for healing and reconciliation within our Church.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the archdiocese where McCarrick was first ordained as a priest and bishop, and which conducted the investigation into McCarrick in 2018, paid tribute to the survivors of abuse who had come forward in the process of the investigation.

“Let me begin by once again expressing my sincere and deep sorrow to any who have suffered sexual abuse, and for the family members and loved ones of victim-survivors who have also suffered as a result of these sins and crimes.”

“Great credit must be given to those victim-survivors who bravely came forward in 2018 and made the initial allegations of abuse to this archdiocese. You took us at our word that we wanted to assist you, and in so doing, you helped bring this matter to light, proving that anyone who has abused a minor, even a cardinal, will be punished.”

Dolan called the Report’s release “a necessary step” in understanding how McCarrick had advanced so high in Church life.

McCarrick was ordained a priest in 1958 and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York in 1977. He became in 1981 Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, then Archbishop of Newark in 1986, and then in 2001 Archbishop of Washington, DC, where he retired in 2006.

He became a cardinal in 2001, but resigned from the College of Cardinals after it emerged in June 2018 that he had been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a minor. Allegations of serial sexual abuse of minors, seminarians, and priests soon followed, and McCarrick was laicized in February 2019.

McCarrick’s public disgrace in 2018 and laicization a year later shocked Catholics in the United States and around the world, and triggered an international crisis of credibility for the Church’s hierarchy, leading to Pope Francis calling an unprecedented meeting of the world’s bishops in 2019 to address issues of sexual abuse and accountability in the Church.

The fallout of the 2018 allegations against McCarrick, and reports that Church leaders knew for years about possible instances of misconduct but failed to act, also contributed to Pope Francis’ promulgation of Vos estis lux mundi, a new provision in canon law allowing for the investigation and trial of bishops for the failure to act on allegations.

Earlier in the morning, USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles welcomed the report’s release, while acknowledging that the new details of McCarrick’s career in the Church would be painful for American Catholics, and especially victims of abuse.

“This is another tragic chapter in the Church’s long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy,” Gomez said.

“To McCarrick’s victims and their families, and to every victim-survivor of sexual abuse by the clergy, I express my profound sorrow and deepest apologies. Please know that my brother bishops and I are committed to doing whatever is in our power to help you move forward and to ensure that no one suffers what you have been forced to suffer.”

Other U.S. bishops have added their own reactions to the McCarrick Report.

Bishop Paul Bradley of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan said that reading the Report “we see the tragedy of sin’s awful impact on all of us.”

“May we all unite together in prayer, especially for all survivors of clergy sexual abuse; may this sin be rooted out of the Church forever.”

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    • Concur, Kathryn,

      Why consensual, non sexual sleeping together between a MAN in authority, and a subordinate MAN, or ANY two men, in any seminary, or vacation house, or anywhere, was overlooked or given a blind eye, will never ever make sense. Unless there is more to this once acceptable arrangement.

      Note to church: men do not sleep together.

      • I have had several occasions to help chaperone teens to over-night sports tournaments. Significant efforts were made to segregate boys and girls during co-ed functions, but sometimes a girl would have to sleep in a queen bed with her brother, or else brother was on the floor with a blanket.
        On more than one occasion, my son slept on the floor, refusing to share a bed with anyone.
        Nearly 40 years ago my husband went out of town with a mixed group. Young adults, they piled into one hotel room to save money. My husband slept by himself on the closet floor. I don’t know if he got a blanket or even a pillow.

  1. Who cares what Gregory, Gomez, Tobin, Cupcich, or Dolan et al think about the McCarrick Report? Their views are irrelevant. Their time for weighing in on what I’m sure they were all well aware of is long since past. What I am going to look for are two things:
    #1. What did Francis know and when did he know it?
    #2. What Archbishop Vigano has to say about the Report. He’s one of only a few bishops with any credibility left.

  2. Maybe Gregory should read the report first before grandstanding.

    Is Gregory going to give or authorize Communion for President Biden? That will be shocking and scandalous and will show his words today to be hollow.

    • Am I going too far in saying All but a handful of our American Bishops are NON-CATHOLICS.? As Arch Vigano says : They are co-conspiriters with the DEEP STATE that want rid of Trump ie. Political as well as Church Globalist in cahoots….

  3. Whitewash best describes this Report. Although first favorably impressed by McCarrick, Cardinal John O’Connor 1999 changed his position on McCarrick when met with new allegations. What is apparent is that the Report emphasizes allegations of “adult” sexual impropriety. The sense the reader takes from this is leniency attributed to the Report’s authors and major players regarding “adult” sexual abuse by McCarrick [the 2019 Vatican Summit focused exclusively on child abuse although allegations against McCarrick mostly involved seminarian adults]. That changes when abuse of a “minor” is reported. “From the documents and testimonies now published in the Report, it is evident that ‘sanctions’ were never imposed. Pope Francis was not given documents or testimony to make him aware of the seriousness of the accusations, involving adults, against the former Archbishop of Washington [contradicting Archbishop Viganò’s 2018 allegation]. Pope Francis did not think it was necessary to modify ‘the course adopted by his predecessors’. It is, therefore, not true that he annulled or weakened the sanctions or restrictions. Everything changed, as already mentioned, when the first accusation of sexual abuse of a minor emerged” (Tornielli The McCarrick Report in NCRegister). “In an unusual move, both Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI subjected themselves to questioning by Vatican investigators. Pope Francis was questioned closely regarding the 23 June and 10 October 2013 meetings during which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former nuncio to the United States, claimed he told Pope Francis about McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct and about supposed sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict, said the report released Nov. 10. In the interviews, Pope Francis did not recollect what Viganò said about McCarrick during the two 2013 meetings with Viganò. The pope also said he was certain that Viganò never told him that McCarrick had committed ‘crimes’ against any person or minor” ((NCRepoter 11.10.20). Contradiction is obvious, that the Pope didn’t remember yet was certain of no allegation of sexual crimes. As to the controversy of sanction, on May 28, 2019 McCarrick’s private secretary Msgr. Anthony J. Figueiredo released letters written by McCarrick suggesting that while senior Vatican officials placed restrictions on the former Cardinal after abuse allegations surfaced, they were not official sanctions and were not strictly enforced under the papacies of either Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Francis. However, if McCarrick was confined by Pope Benedict to barracks, so to speak in military jargon that must constitute canonical sanction. We do know that Cardinal Wuerl was aware of McCarrick’s confinement but lied about it. As mentioned the 2019 Vatican Summit focused exclusively on child abuse although the growing moral leprosy was within the Church involving sexual abuse perpetrated by clerical superiors upon the lower ranked particularly seminarians as was the case with McCarrick. 2018 prior to the 2019 Summit Cardinal DiNardo pres USCCB arranged for the Conference to meet and address this problem in US seminaries and his efforts were quashed by Pope Francis. DiNardo was then humiliated by the Pontiff who effectively replaced his leadership placing Cardinal Blase Cupich in charge of US affairs [DiNardo became understandably ill in the aftermath]. Presently US bishops are shocked, saddened, scandalized, angered on cue, dutifully compliant in opposition to border walls, defend illegal emigration, enthusiastic with oncology and green issues, hardly opposed during the electoral process to abortion, homosexuality champion neo catholic Joe Biden, in fact prior to his actual confirmation shower him with praise as the second Catholic president. That is our sad, pernicious state of affairs.

  4. The reality is that all the bishops quoted here knew McCarrick was a pervert. If their credibility yesterday was already zero or close to it, today it is deeply negative. Do any of these men realize not only how they have damaged the Church but also how they have reduced their bishop’s office and moral magisterium to the punch line of jokes?

  5. I note the language of “His Excellecy” Gomez of the Los Angeles Diocese, where he, like his predecessor the fraud abuse cover-up Mafiosi Mahony, holds their annual REC Conference to advance the LGBTQ ideology, by ‘Queering-the-Parish.”

    Gomez cannot express anger at the MONUMENT to INUSTICE of the homosexual abuse crisis covered up by the USCCB, because he feels no anger, as anger is the fitting response of a man who hates injustice against the weak, the anger that rise in the heart of good Governor Keating, so the USCCB under “His Eminence” Wilton Gregory forced Keating out as Chairman of the Abuse Report Committee.

    Expressing “sadness” A.S. does Gomez is the mere response of a mediocre man, who might wish things were better, but would never risk himself to fight for justice against the powerful occult parasite inside the Church.

  6. Excuse my bluntness (or don’t) but none of these comments mention what might have been an excellent idea at any point in dealing with McCarrick when he was feeling a tad frisky – a swift kick.

    And you know where.

  7. The horse is always out of the barn with the sleepy and complicit Bishops. Proactivity is not part of their vocabulary. The following excerpt tells the real story on reactionary stupidity and a disgrace to Canon law…

    “The cardinal described the report as “a significant and powerful step forward in advancing accountability and transparency regarding sexual abuse.”

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