Vatican: Popes Knew About Sex-Abusing Archbishop

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick | Manitarski (CC BY-SA 4.0)

“The Vatican was aware of allegations that included a report dating to 1987 by a priest who said he observed sexual conduct between McCarrick and another priest … “

Nov 10, 2020 |

NPR – A new Vatican report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct that spanned decades, shows that Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were aware of the accusations against him.

The Vatican on Tuesday made public a detailed 461-page report on an internal investigation revealing that the Holy See repeatedly downplayed or dismissed reports of McCarrick’s alleged sexual transgressions involving both minors and adults.

Last year, Pope Francis dismissed McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., after a church tribunal found him guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

The most striking revelation in the newly released report is that Pope John Paul II, who was made a saint in 2014, appointed McCarrick to the position of archbishop of Washington despite a letter from the late New York Cardinal John O’Connor in 1999 detailing allegations against him. McCarrick retired from the archdiocese in 2006.

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Among other things, the report reveals that at the time of McCarrick’s appointment as archbishop of Washington in late 2000, the Vatican was aware of allegations that included a report dating to 1987 by a priest who said he observed sexual conduct between McCarrick and another priest, and an anonymous letter charging the McCarrick with pedophilia with his “nephews.”

The report says that at the time, McCarrick was also “known to have shared a bed” with multiple men at his residences and a beach house in New Jersey.

A summary of the findings authored by the Vatican’s editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, said:

“While acknowledging that he did not have first-hand information, [Cardinal O’Connor] explained in a letter, dated October 28, 1999, addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio, that he believed that McCarrick’s appointment to a new office would be a mistake: that, in fact, the risk of a serious scandal existed in light of the rumors that McCarrick had in the past shared a bed with young adult men at the rectory and seminarians at a beach house.”

The information had led over the years “to the conclusion that it would be imprudent to transfer” McCarrick. The report states:

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“However, Pope John Paul II seems to have changed his mind in August/September 2000, ultimately leading to his decision to appoint McCarrick to Washington in November 2000.” 

On three occasions, planned transfers of McCarrick to dioceses were halted because of the allegations … Read more. 


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