McCarrick Verdict

McCarrick ordination.jpg
McCarrick ordaining me a priest, May 24, 2003, Basilica of the National Shrine, upper church

The pope has dismissed Theodore McCarrick from the ranks of the clergy. You might imagine, gentle reader, that I have a great deal to say.

I. Dark Night.

Speaking as one of many men McCarrick ordained, let me first say: this has broken our hearts. I imagine the same goes for all those he confirmed.

Most of us never thought, as he lay his hands on our heads to consecrate us, that a day like this would come. We never imagined any such thing. We believed in God, and in His Christ. We believed in the mission for which we had been chosen–the mission of divine love for which then-bishop McCarrick consecrated us, by the laying on of hands.

McCarrick consecrated us as a successor of Christ’s Apostles. We received our consecration with faith. We cherish the grace of this consecration as the great prize of our pilgrim lives. For such a day as this to come–when the successor of St. Peter has expelled our father in God from the sacred ministry… Well, this is a trial of faith. It is a gut punch. I know none of us would this wish on anyone.

Same goes for all those who worked closely with McCarrick–worked with him to further the cause of Christ, trusting him and believing in him. My memories of 2001-2006 abound with countless such good, earnest people. May God comfort us all.

McCarrick paten chalice

II. Crime and Punishment

McCarrick stands accused of crimes of the gravest kind, and he has never publicly denied the accusations, at least not in any meaningful way. Fact is, if they weren’t true, he owed us a vehement public denial a long time ago.

The crimes:

Desecrating the confessional with the sexual abuse of a minor. Sexually corrupting seminarians and young priests under his fatherly care. Victimizing helpless souls.

These victimized souls have this right: Never to have to endure seeing this priest ascend the altar again. Never to have to see this cruel manipulator stand in the place of the gentle and true Jesus.

Holy Mother Church owes McCarrick’s victims this sentence–his permanent expulsion from the sanctuary. She owes that to all the victims of priestly sexual abuse. May God help all victims find a way to believe in the Holy Mass again.


McCarrick concelebration
As the senior deacon to be ordained, I got to stand as principle concelebrant.

III. The tribunal of justice

We need to remember two things about the presiding judge, and the appellate judge, in McCarrick’s defrocking case.

i. The presiding judge of the case, Luis Card. Ladaria Ferrer, recently evaded a subpoena in a sex-abuse cover-up case, by taking advantage of technicalities in international law. That would seem to render him unsuitable to sit in judgment on a sex-abuse case.

ii. Archbishop Viganò accused the appellate judge in this case–the sitting Roman pontiff–of personal involvement in covering-up McCarrick’s crimes. The pope has never answered these charges; he has never denied that he participated in covering-up for McCarrick.

So if the reigning pope had any real integrity as an honest judge, he would have recused himself altogether from the McCarrick case. He would have acknowledged that he had no business sitting in judgment under such circumstances, and he would have appointed a different judge to substitute for him–someone with no personal connection to the matter at hand.

Now, assuming that McCarrick intended to dispute the accusations against him–which his lawyer had repeatedly said that he did intend to do–the verdict has come much more quickly than it reasonably should have.

We know something about Mr. James Grein’s testimony, since James has spoken openly about it to multiple journalists. I see no reason to doubt the accuracy of James’ accusations. It seems fairly clear that McCarrick is guilty of the charges that James has leveled.

But, by the same token, James has said plenty of opaque, unintelligible things. The statement he made today, inspiring in its courage and faith, also contains generalized charges that cannot be verified.

James Grein speaking in Baltimore
Mr. James Grein

Also, the Vatican’s statement today refers to other accusations. About which we know little or nothing. Did McCarrick have adequate time to respond to all the charges?

In other words: This judicial process manifestly lacks integrity. Lacks it profoundly.

If it were an honest and fair trial, then why not release all the documents? (With names of victims blacked-out, if they so choose.) After all, buzzwords like “transparency” flow forth from our prelates’ lips like water these days. Here is a perfect opportunity! Show the world the Church’s true openness by publishing the entire contents of the McCarrick trial record, for the world to read and learn from.

Why not do that? At this point, nothing whatsoever remains of Thedore McCarrick’s privacy. He lost the right to the protection of his privacy when he assumed the bishop’s throne anyway.

No, the only reasonable explanation for the near-total opacity of the Holy See’s announcement of the verdict is this: If the trial record were published, it would not withstand the scrutiny of honest judges and lawyers.

Actually, questions immediately arise, even with respect to the paltry public revelation that the Vatican has made:

In addition to his crimes against James (and perhaps another minor), McCarrick stands convicted of sins against the Sixth Commandment with adults. According to what legal criteria was he found guilty of this crime? What makes a sin against the Sixth Commandment between a priest and an adult a crime?

Perhaps the beginning of the answer lies here: The Vatican announcement continues “with the aggravating factor of abuse of power.” How did the court establish the presence of this aggravating factor? What criteria determine whether or not this factor is present, in any given case?

Also: Considering the fact that many bishops and three popes have known for decades that McCarrick broke the Sixth Commandment with adults who were not really free to resist him, why didn’t anyone try and convict him of this crime long ago?

These immediate questions, and many more like them, will receive no answer anytime soon. Because: these days dangerous, dishonest mafiosi run the one, true Church of Jesus Christ. McCarrick’s sentence does not mean a new beginning. Quite the contrary. The mafiosi have simply passed private judgment on one of their own, because it suited their craven purposes at this particular moment.

McCarrick peace.jpg
May God have mercy on us all. May He heal the wounded. May His justice be done.

11 thoughts on “McCarrick Verdict

  1. It may just be my iPad father mark, but none of the jags opened on your post to be able to see them….
    I know holy mother church needs to clean house…. but my God how many of the upper ranks would be left…. how many priests….and honestly laity would also have to be removed…. it seems the transparency that is spoken of by the bishops…. well let’s just say it reminds me a lot of my high school math teacher, who had a favorite phrase….it’s clear as mud….much of what I have read lately…. at the least saddens me, but more and more has sickened me….I am grateful for the few priests who are leading the call for reform, but to stand with the church…. I just wish there were more of you being vocal…. I’m sure the ones that don’t wish they could, but wish they could….at least I hope so…at least I hope they see the importance…. God bless you father mark….

  2. Your ordination photos show a priest joining the Church. A priest whose profound reverence during the consecration is inspiring and genuine. May the Lord grant you comfort and grace. The Moak family prays for you in this dark night.

  3. Theodore McCarrick embodied the best leadership qualities the Catholic Church in the U.S. had to offer in his generation, but he was imprisoned by a personal demon. Many of his fellow bishops — who presumably follow Jesus Christ, teacher of “love your neighbor as you love yourself” — knew of his demon but did not report their knowledge, thus failing to HELP their brother in Christ, failing to help his victims, and failing to help the church. McCarrick’s downfall is woefully sad. Members of the church hierarchy who, through their silence, deliberately disobeyed Jesus Christ by allowing their brother’s victims, their brother and the church to suffer, show us genuine evil.

  4. When I left my home today at 2;45pm, I had not read Fr. Mark’s blog. I had only seen on the national news that McCarrick had been defrocked, for which I was grateful. Justice finally served, I felt. It was not until I arrived home at 6:30pm today that I read the blog.
    I thank Ann White for what she wrote…I agree with Jerry, “How beautifully said!”
    I am thankful for the pictures of Fr. Mark’s ordination, thankful for the young priest so earnest and wholly committed to the priesthood. A sense of sadness came over me, however, as I viewed them, knowing now what the future held for these young priests when the truth was revealed. I can only imagine how hard it is for them now, discovering what McCarrick was then.
    I am thankful for the Fr. Mark who serves as my priest today.
    I know there is a saying which I will paraphrase to the best of my recollection, as I cannot recall it exactly at this late hour, but it is that when someone “unworthy” performs a “good act” the person’s unworthiness does not take away the goodness of the action itself.
    An unworthy Theodore McCarrick ordained a worthy, sincere and dedicated young priest. That priest has spent the years since serving his people with love and devotion, teaching the Scriptures, helping many of us to heal old scars. What McCarrick was did not stop God from honoring the ordination of Fr. Mark and others who came into the priesthood with devotion and desire to serve God’s people…to be true priests.
    While this defrocking of McCarrick may not be the final answer to the problems that plague the church today, it is at least a small beginning. For me, it does offer at least a glimmer of hope.
    I do feel that the words and call for justice from priests such as our Fr. Mark were not unheard. Whether it was for the wrong reason or not, McCarrick has finally been punished. A small step forward perhaps, but at least a step.
    I pray for Fr. Mark and other priests hurt by the revelation of the sins of McCarrick, that they find healing and peace in the days ahead.
    I pray for McCarrick’s victims, that they may find healing in their lives and in time find it in their hearts, with God’s help, to forgive him for what he did.
    I pray for my beloved Catholic Church.
    I pray for the soul of Theodore McCarrick, that if he has not already done so, he will seek forgiveness from God and be truly repentant of his sinful actions.

    As. Fr. Mark wrote, “May God have mercy on us all. May He heal the wounded. May His justice be done.” Amen.

  5. You are brave in speaking out Fr Mark and in naming the enemies of Mother Church. So many good priests have been silenced already. Please contact your supporters or establish a second safe point of communication in case you have to go underground. There will always be all you need- like Elijah- but you cannot be unwise among serpents, so get well prepared now. Praying for an incognito network of the underground remnant.

  6. Well Father Mark, I said to myself on Saturday night, let me look at Father Marks Blog.WOW I was sick to my stomach when I was reading this.The hurt and mental PAIN you have.The Great priests like yourself, Are the back bone of the Church. Also it made sick seeing his hands on your Head,and the last photo With his hands on your shoulders. Also I spoke to your Mother this morning,Giving her praise of her son Father Mark.

  7. McCarrick was always a knee jerk Progressive who loved to get on TV and weakly affirm Church teaching while adding a word salad of how-some-evers and specious liberal tripe. I lived in MD and the press would always run to get McCarrick on camera. He made my skin crawl with his leering negations of Church teachings. Never put your faith in men – especially pharisees.

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