The "Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017) is published. Card. Parolin: "We publish the Report with sorrow for the wounds that this has caused to the victims, their families, the Church in the United States, the Universal Church".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Errors, underestimations and incomplete and partial information given to the Holy See" alongside false oaths and positive judgments on pastoral activity. This is how the Vatican explains how Theodore Edgar McCarrick managed to become a bishop, archbishop and cardinal, a particularly influential cardinal, in the United States and beyond.
This is what emerges from the "Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017)" published today by the Vatican Secretariat of State.
At the same time, a declaration by the Secretary of State, Card. Pietro Parolin, was published in which he writes: “We publish the Report with sorrow for the wounds that these events have caused to the victims, their families, the Church in the United States, and the Universal Church. As the Pope has done, I too was able to view the testimonies of the victims contained in the Acta on which the Report is based, and which have been deposited in the Holy See archives. Their contribution has been fundamental. In his Letter to the People of God of August 2018, the Holy Father Francis wrote, with regard to the abuse of minors, “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.”
“From reading the document - writes card. Parolin - ill show that all procedures, including the appointment of bishops, depend on the commitment and honesty of the people concerned. No procedure, even the most detailed, is free from error because it involves the consciences and decisions of men and women." This is how, at least in part, the quiescence that accompanied the former cardinal's "predatory" behavior towards seminarians and priests, minors and adults, is explained.
Now, from the 461 pages taken from the documentation of the Holy See, from the nunciature in Washington, from the US dioceses involved and from over ninety interviews with witnesses and victims, it appears in the first place that the canonical legislation existing up to this year allowed the then Msgr. McCarrick to avoid repression by the Holy See and, indeed, to be promoted.
The anonymous letters that in the 1990s spoke of abuse were not believed, precisely because they were anonymous. The Report adds that John Paul II, who appointed him archbishop of Washington and later cardinal, not only had favourable judgments from advisers on both sides of the Atlantic, but that "it seems to be possible to assume that the past experience of John Paul II in Poland , relating to false accusations against the Bishops to undermine the role of the Church, affected his inclination to give credit to McCarrick's denials ”who claimed he had never been involved in“ sexual misconduct ”. And the Report also says that none of the people consulted in the appointment proceedings gave negative indications about McCarrick, whom they defined, indeed, a "hard worker".
Not surprisingly, the canonical provisions taken between 2018 and 2019 provide, among other things, that anonymous denunciations are not set aside. The only non-anonymous complaint existing in 2000, when he was appointed in Washington, was the one indicated as "Priest 1". But the complainant was not believed, as "he had previously abused two adolescents".
When new accusations of abuse arrived in 2005, Benedict XVI asked for the resignation of the cardinal who in 2006 left the diocese of Washington. It is precisely the fact that McCarrick was now a bishop emeritus - who, moreover, on his "bishop oath" stated that the accusations were false - and since there is no news of underage victims, they decided not to open a formal canonical trial.
The cardinal was "recommended" first orally, then in writing, to lead a retired life. This recommendation was ignored by the cardinal who continued to have a high profile public life and to travel.
Until 2017, when "the Archdiocese of New York learned of McCarrick's first known allegation of sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 18 in the early 1970s. Shortly after the accusation was deemed credible, Pope Francis asked for McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals ".
The Declaration of Card. Parolin recalls that in the Letter to the Holy People of God, linked to the McCarrick affair, Pope Francis wrote: " “Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient”. “Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults””. (FP)