Vatican blames Pope John Paul II and others for rise of ex-cardinal accused of abuse
ROME (AP) – A Vatican investigation into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick found that a series of bishops, cardinals and popes downplayed or rejected reports that he had slept with seminarians, and determined that Pope Francis simply continued to treat the predator through his predecessors until a former altar boy alleged abuse.
The Vatican made the extraordinary decision on Tuesday to release its two-year, more than 400-page internal investigation into the rise and fall of the American prelate in a bid to restore the credibility of the American and Vatican hierarchies, which were shattered by the scandal. McCarrick.
A summary of the Vatican report put the lion’s share of the blame on a dead saint: Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington DC, in 2000, after he commissioned an investigation confirming that he slept with seminarians. The summary says John Paul believed in McCarrick’s latest manuscript denial.
McCarrick, 90, was defrocked by Francis last year after a Vatican investigation confirmed decades of allegations the globe-trotting envoy and the church’s successful fundraiser sexually assaulted adults and children. The Vatican had reports from authoritative figures dating back to 1999 that McCarrick’s behavior was problematic, but he continued to rise to become an influential cardinal, kingmaker and emissary of the Saint’s “soft diplomacy”. -Seat.
The findings accused living and dead bishops of providing the Vatican with incomplete information about McCarrick’s behavior and of turning a blind eye to his repeated disregard of the informal restrictions ordered in 2006 after Pope Benedict XVI decided not to investigate him or seriously sanction him.
More importantly, the results largely gave Francis a pass, claiming that he never lifted or changed these restrictions, never appointed McCarrick a “diplomatic agent” for the Holy See, and did not. never received any documentation on McCarrick until 2017. He did not say whether Francis had sought such documentation after one of his ambassadors allegedly told him in 2013 that McCarrick was a predator.
“Pope Francis had only heard that there had been allegations and rumors of immoral conduct with adults prior to McCarrick’s appointment to Washington,” the summary reads. “Believing that the allegations had already been considered and rejected by Pope John Paul II, and well aware that McCarrick was active during the papacy of Benedict XVI, Pope Francis saw no need to change the approach that had been adopted.
Francis changed course after a former altar boy came forward in 2017, alleging McCarrick groped him as a teenager in preparations for Christmas mass in 1971 and 1972 in New York City. The allegation was the first solid complaint against McCarrick involving a minor and sparked the canonical trial that resulted in his defrocking.
The report contains heartbreaking new testimony from people who tried to sound the alarm bells about McCarrick’s inappropriate behavior, including with children, from the mid-1980s. A woman identified only as “Mother 1” told the reporters. investigators that at one point she had sent a series of anonymous letters to American Catholic leaders, warning them of McCarrick’s behavior. She described how she once discovered McCarrick, a family friend, with her hands rubbing the thighs of her two sons in the living room. “It was more than strange. It was abnormal. I almost dropped the casserole dish I was holding in my hands. His letters went unheeded and McCarrick continued his ascent.
While the summary provides new details on what the Vatican knew and when, it did not elaborate on the internal culture that allowed McCarrick’s behavior to continue unchecked. Catholic cardinals and bishops have long been viewed as blameless, and allegations of homosexual behavior have been used to discredit or blackmail prelates, so often dismissed as rumor. There has also been a widespread but tacit tolerance of sexually active men in what is supposed to be a celibate priesthood.
The church has long viewed the sexual relations of priests with other adult men or women as a sin but consensual, with flags only being raised in recent years when minors were involved.
But the McCarrick scandal, which erupted during the #MeToo era, demonstrated that adult seminarians and priests can be sexually victimized by their superiors because of the power imbalance in their relationships. And yet the church legal system has had no real means of dealing with this type of abuse of authority.
James Grein, whose testimony that McCarrick abused him for two decades, starting at the age of 11, was key to McCarrick’s downfall, said he was happy the report was finally released . He said he hoped it would bring relief as well as a chance to “clean up” the church.
“There are so many people suffering out there because of one man,” said Grein. “And he thinks he’s more important than all of us. He destroyed me and he destroyed thousands of other lives. … It is time for the Catholic Church to realize all its destruction. “
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state whose office prepared the report, said this would have an impact in the future, especially on how bishops are selected.
“Reading the document will show that all procedures, including the appointment of bishops, depend on the commitment and honesty of those involved,” he said. “(It will make) all who are involved in such choices more aware of the weight of their decisions or omissions.”
Francis commissioned the report after retired Vatican Ambassador to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano issued a stunning account of McCarrick’s cover-up, which spanned two decades in 2018, naming around two dozen from US and Vatican officials who were aware of his misconduct but failed to sanction him.
Vigano cited former seminarians who described the harassment and abuse they suffered while “Uncle Ted,” as McCarrick liked to be called, was their bishop in New Jersey, forced to sleep in his house. reads on weekends at his beach house.
Vigano’s most explosive claim was that Francis himself lifted the “sanctions” imposed by Benedict and made McCarrick a trusted advisor. Vigano demanded that Francis resign, saying he warned the Pope in June 2013 that McCarrick had “corrupted generations of seminarians and priests.”
Several of Vigano’s central claims have been confirmed, but not those implicating Francis. “There is no record to corroborate Vigano’s account and the evidence for what he said is hotly contested,” he said.
The summary also cites an unreported case in which Vigano in 2012 allegedly failed to act on Vatican instructions to investigate new complaints against McCarrick by a New Jersey priest born in Brazil.
“Vigano did not take these measures and therefore never put himself in a position to ensure credibility”, affirms the priest, indicates the summary.
The report was based on documents from five Vatican departments, four American dioceses, two American seminaries and the American Embassy in the Vatican. Investigators interviewed 90 people, including victims of McCarrick, former seminarians and priests, officials of American charities and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
It was released days before America’s bishops gathered for their annual fall meeting, which was overshadowed by the McCarrick scandal for two years. And it was released on the same day the Vatican faced yet another judgment on an influential prelate denounced by allegations of homosexual misconduct: Former Vatican Ambassador to France Archbishop Luigi Ventura was tried on Tuesday. in Paris, accused of having groped and inappropriately touching young people. men – accusations he denies.