Vatican Report: John Paul II to Blame for McCarrick's Rise

Probe into disgraced cardinal lets Pope Francis off the hook, blames other bishops, cardinals, popes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 10, 2020 9:15 AM CST
Vatican's Cardinal McCarrick Investigation Blames a Saint
In this Oct. 2, 2005, file photo, President Bush, left, is seen with then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, center, and Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, right, as they walk out of St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

A Vatican probe into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has found that a series of bishops, cardinals, and even popes downplayed or dismissed reports he slept with seminarians, and determined that Pope Francis merely continued his predecessors' naive handling of the predator until a former altar boy alleged abuse. The Vatican took the extraordinary step Tuesday of publishing its two-year, 400-plus-page internal investigation into the American prelate's rise and fall in a bid to restore credibility to the US and Vatican hierarchies, which have been shattered by the scandal, per the AP. A summary of the report from the Vatican put the lion's share of blame on a dead saint: Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington, DC, in 2000, despite having commissioned an inquiry that confirmed he slept with seminarians. The summary says John Paul naively believed McCarrick's last-ditch, handwritten denial.

McCarrick, 90, was defrocked by Francis last year after a Vatican investigation confirmed decades of allegations that he'd sexually molested adults as well as children. The Vatican had reports from authoritative figures dating back to 1999 that McCarrick's behavior was problematic, yet he continued to rise to become an influential cardinal. The findings largely gave Francis a pass. "Believing that the allegations had already been reviewed and rejected by Pope John Paul II, and well aware that McCarrick was active during the papacy of Benedict XVI, Pope Francis did not see the need to alter the approach that had been adopted," the summary notes. James Grein, who testified that McCarrick abused him for two decades, starting when he was 11, said he was pleased the report has been released. "There are so many people suffering out there because of one man," Grein said. "It's time that the Catholic Church comes clean with all of its destruction." Much more here.

(More Theodore McCarrick stories.)

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