Rachel Maguire
Rachel Maguire
Author
2 min of reading
  • The Vatican took the extraordinary step Tuesday of publishing its two-year, 449-page investigation into the American cleric's rise and fall.
  • A series of bishops, cardinals and popes did not want to talk about sexual misconduct with seminarians.
  • They found that pope Francis merely continued his predecessors' handling of the predator until a former altar boy alleged abuse.

A Vatican investigation into former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has found that a series of bishops, cardinals and popes did not want to talk about sexual misconduct with seminarians. They found that Pope Francis merely continued his predecessors' handling of the predator until a former altar boy alleged abuse. The Vatican took the extraordinary step Tuesday of publishing its two-year, 449-page investigation into the American cleric's rise and fall.

A summary of the report from the Vatican put the majority of the blame on Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington D.C., in 2000. A series of six anonymous letters were sent to U.S. church officials in 1993, alleging McCarrick was a “pedophile” who would sleep in the same bed with young men and boys. McCarrick was removed from the church last year after a Vatican investigation confirmed years of accusations that he had sexually molested adults as well as children. The Vatican report blamed a host of bishops, cardinals and popes for downplaying and dismissing mountains of evidence of McCarrick's actions in the 1990s. The findings accused bishops dead and alive of providing the Vatican with incomplete information about McCarrick's behavior, and of turning a blind eye to his repeated violating of informal restrictions ordered up in 2006. Francis commissioned the report after the retired Vatican ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, gave up a hard-hitting expose in 2018. In 2018, he named around two dozen U.S. and Vatican officials who knew of McCarrick's conduct but failed to effectively sanction him.

Viganò demanded that Francis resign. He claimed he warned the pope in June 2013 that McCarrick had “corrupted generations of seminarians and priests”. Most significantly, the findings gave Francis a pass, saying he never lifted or modified those restrictions, never named McCarrick a “diplomatic agent” for the Holy See. Investigators interviewed 90 people, including McCarrick's victims, former seminarians and priests and officials from U.S. charities. James Grein, whose testimony that McCarrick abused him for two decades, was key to McCarrick's downfall, said he was pleased the report was finally released.

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