PopeWatch: McCarrick

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As Joan Desmond at National Catholic Register points out, one of the key issues in regard to the Cardinal McCarrick scandal is what did the Vatican know, and when did the Vatican know it:

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., was suspended from public ministry on Wednesday, after an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor was found to be credible. 

According to a statement released by the Archdiocese of New York, McCarrick was accused of abusing a teenage altar boy almost 50 years ago, while serving as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. The Vatican had directed Cardinal Timothy Dolan to investigate the claim and it was found to be “credible and substantiated.”

But that was not the only disturbing news to be disclosed about McCarrick’s record. 

In a statement issued by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, the public learned that McCarrick had faced three accusations of sexual misconduct involving adults.

“In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults,” read Cardinal Tobin’s statement, which referenced McCarrick’s previous posts as archbishop of Newark (1986–2000) and bishop of Metuchen (1981–1986).

“This Archdiocese and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

The shocking statement raised additional questions about whether the Vatican learned of the three allegations of sexual misconduct before or after McCarrick was named archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2001, serving until 2006.

The Register contacted the Archdiocese of Newark and was told that neither the settlement dates, nor details about identity of the victims—whether they might have been seminarians or young priests—would be provided.

“We don’t release that kind of information because of confidentiality issues,” Jim Goodness, the spokesman or the Archdiocese of Newark, told the Register.

Without the dates of the three allegations and two settlements, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to know if the Vatican knew about the allegations in time to stop the appointment. 


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  1. Such a depressing subject. My SIL uncle used to work for Cardinal Pell when he was in charge of cleaning the Vatican finances- he travelled to Rome with his wife and lived there for a few years. Cardinal Pell trusted him implicitly. When Cardinal Pell expelled all of the Mafia money laundering out of the Vatican bank, the allegations of pedo cover ups were brought to the surface in Australia and he was brought before the Child Abuse royal commission. This is no coincidence. There are evil people out to get the good Cardinal. He is awaiting trial for apparently touching a young boy 50years ago. Complete rubbish in my opinion. He is trying to fundraise for his own trial. Very sad how he is being treated and left out in the cold by the Vatican. It is important to note that my SIL uncle received death threats and a burning car was put in front of his residence in Rome. He came back from Rome gaunt and stressed after he finished up the role. Basically what I’m trying to say is Pope Francis appointed a clean Cardinal Pell when he put him in charge of Vatican finances and he knew his background before entrusting this job to him. I don’t believe one second that these current allegations are true. They are crucifying an innocent and decent Cardinal. I do however believe that he did move certain dirty priests around instead of handing them over to the police. I believe it was the norm of the time everywhere. Cardinal Pell admitted to this. But what can one say? It was completely wrong. Anyway, I thought it is interesting that Cardinals and Popes ARE in the know about each clerics background. It’s just that the culture of handing them to the police needs to be the standard going forward. No more cover ups. We need a strong and Holy Church with good God-fearing leaders. Now get rid of this scumbag McCarrick and let him fend for himself financially like Cardinal Pell is unfairly being subject to.

  2. Sorry I should add that he was Archbishop of Melbourne then of Sydney after that, before he was promoted to looking after Vatican finances in Rome. The allegations date back to his days as a Bishop in Melbourne where he really had no real power to expel anyone because he wasn’t Archbishop at the time.

  3. I read a fair amount about this over the weekend and I keep coming back to Cardinal McCarrick’s curious predilection to prey on men called to discern a vocation to the priesthood. The most recent allegation was 47 years ago and of a young man (16 years old) deeply involved in the faith and the Mass. Other allegations, beyond the three cited above, have circled for years but did not involve minors. As best I can tell, every single one of them involved men discerning a call to the priesthood.

    So, we have a bishop overseeing a seminary and preying on those men for many years. How many men left the seminary, wrecked by that experience or at least setting aside that call due to their experience with their bishop?

    it is… Well… Diabolical. There is no better word that I can think of.

  4. Without the dates of the three allegations and two settlements, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to know if the Vatican knew about the allegations in time to stop the appointment.

    These accusations are usually lodged > 15 years after the fact. You also had an enormous archive of complaints coming out of the woodwork in 2002 and 2003. It’s a reasonable guess he was gone from Jersey at the time the complaints surfaced.

    The Holy See isn’t an early adopter and I doubt they had any kind of comprehensive database in place in 2001.

  5. The entire thing against Cardinal Pell is a smear job and the Australian prosecutors know it. Pennsylvania has an attorney General that is the same way.

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