Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, on Saturday morning thanked Pope Francis for “his leadership in taking this important step” of accepting the cardinal’s resignation and ordering him to prayer and penitence… “It reflects the priority the Holy Father places on the need for protection and care for all our people and the way failures in this area affect the life of the Church in the United States,” Cardinal DiNardo said.
I’m not really impressed by accepting a resignation. That is a passive act.
A letter sent this week to priests of the Archdiocese of Washington claims that its current archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, did not know until recently about settlements made by two New Jersey dioceses in response to allegations of misconduct on the part of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The letter was sent by archdiocese’s vicar general Monsignor Charles Antonicelli.
I have trouble believing that. And even if true it still shows the Church still is protecting sexual predators even after all the previous exposures. None of the possibilities here are good ones. None of them show the Church has fixed herself. All of them show dramatic change is required to regain trust.
Perhaps. But do you really imagine McCarrick tendered his historic resignation from the College of Cardinals of his own volition? The fact that Pope Francis accepted it within hours of receiving it makes me think he was expecting it.
Plus he ordered him to a life of prayer and penance pending the outcome of a canonical trial. I don’t see what more he could possibly be doing at this point in time except for rendering a sentence without a trial, which is not something I want to see. I want to see the matter investigated fully.
I agree with you that we don’t want judgments without a trial. Then again I’d hope the Holy Father contacted Cardinal McCarrick and asked him whether the allegations are true. In which case the Cardinal would answer either yes (almost certainly a lie) or no. Had he answered yes then the Holy Father should have removed him immediately.
My point is we just never see anything proactive. We just see reactions when the truth can no longer be denied. The Church seems just like corporations and government. I am somewhat understanding because of human nature, but I’d hope it would be at least a little different.
I definitely agree. Especially in a case like this, where the rumors and allegations were so widespread that they were basically common knowledge with those who follow news about the Catholic Church, there is no excuse that something was not done about this years ago. Even if no one comes forward and reported McCarrick directly to higher authority, that does not absolve the other bishops for doing nothing. There was nothing preventing someone from asking questions and investigating even without direct allegations. The settlements that were made decades ago were more than enough evidence to at the very least begin asking questions and digging a little deeper into his behavior. I think the main problem is that the U.S. bishops are so allergic to even the insinuation that there may be even the smallest bit of disagreement or conflict among them that they would rather let horrific abuses continue rather than stand up and confront one of their number. Another problem may be that there are a number of homosexuals among the bishops and they don’t want other misdeeds to come to light by encouraging victims to come forward.
This is something I’m afraid is a serious problem.
I’m not inclined to necessarily think that a lot of other bishops knew about this “open secret”. Or even if they heard something, it could have just been bits and pieces from uncredible sources—not the type of thing you’d be inclined to take seriously. Sort of like if you saw some accusation in the National Enquirer. Your first thought isn’t, “Oh, I should try to investigate in case there is something there.” It’s generally, “I’m not going to waste my time with it.”
It seems more likely to me that different people knew different little nuggets of information. Obviously, when we see them all laid out in the press, it doesn’t look good for McCarrick. But if someone had previously just heard one little tidbit from a questionable source, I can see how it wouldn’t seem like enough to act upon. It could be that no one had the full story.
Still the fact that there were two previous settlements definitely doesn’t sit well. If it were to ever have come out earlier than it did, that would seem to have been the time for it to do so. It seems difficult to believe that a diocese would reach a settlement on such a case without the bishop at the time knowing about it. But then, some bishops are a lot more “hands off” with regards to certain administrative duties. So I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out either.
This is where I hope some investigating takes place to uncover who knew what and when—and also to find out what actions they did or did not take in light of the information they had. I’m willing to entertain the thought that there might be some reasonable explanation for how this fell through the cracks for so long. Part of it may simply be that certain victims didn’t want to go on record. If no one will go on record, then how can anything be verified? But whatever the reason, hopefully an analysis of the situation can help prevent something like this from happening again.
The only way I ever see things like this not happening again is to take away some of the power that a Bishop (Ordinary) has in his diocese.
Or maybe, set up an independent review board that reports to the Bishop that can field these sort of issues.
Something has to change, or the Church, especially here in the US, is going to lose what little credibility it has left.
That seems to me the most likely thing to come of all this. I believe most dioceses’ already have an independent review board for child protection. But not much is said about abuse of adults
McCarrick’s case involves (mostly) adults, and pretty much exclusively seminarians. I’m not sure a seminarian (or young priest) would necessarily think to go to the safe environment board with an issue like this. And they might not even think to go to the police either as they could very well feel that they were willing participants, even though the power differential makes it such that they really were not.
So maybe they will come up with some sort of “national review board” that is there to handle a broader range of sexual abuse, including that committed against adults, and including that committed by bishops. Or maybe each diocesan review board will expand their parameters as such.
I do wonder if there was a point at which McCarrick stopped doing these things. Wuerl has said that there are no reports in their records from McCarrick’s time there. And—from what I have seen—all of the stories and allegations that have come to light so far seem to be from his time prior to going to DC.
Sadly, I don’t think it ever stopped. We have heard bits and pieces, and I suspect that more may be revealed, but I doubt if we will ever know the scope of what McCarrick did. If he started ‘grooming’ the first child he baptized, there is no telling how many others there are.
Catholics are obliged to support the Church. They are not obliged to support their diocese.
Withholding contributions until the McCarrick scandal is completely vetted by an independent investigation would be quite appropriate.
This wicked man recommended bishops; he promoted priests; he had a network of men he referred to as “cousins” of “Uncle Ted.” It all needs to be exposed for the filth (to use a word of Benedict XVI) that it is.
For the affected dioceses, sure. I feel like it’s disconnected from my own diocese, though. It would seem odd for me personally to punish my own diocese and bishop because of what McCarrick did.
However, withholding funding to your Diocese may get the attention of your local Bishop and show him that it is important for the Bishops to ban together on the national level to do something about this. There is GREAT distrust and angst over how this issue has been handled to this point. There is GREAT questioning as to why there has been talk of “policy” and the lack thereof instead of direct action. There is GREAT concern as to why there seems to be one set of rules for Priests and another for Bishops and Cardinals. There can be NO equivocation on such a horrible incident.
We do know that the Vatican knew from at least 2000, before he was appointed bishops of Washington. We know he was reported to higher levels. We do know these reports were ignored. The rot is deep I’m afraid.
But who is “the Vatican”? Just because it was reported to “the Vatican” does not mean that everyone in the Vatican knew, nor that the people who needed to know knew. And what information did their report include?
Certainly it needs to be investigated to find out who was told, what they were told, and what they did (or did not) do with the information and why.
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