Want to know about the criminal case of George Cardinal Pell of Australia? Fallen by Lucie Morris-Marr documents it, in detail. (Perhaps with an unfair bias–we’ll come back to that, dear reader.) Or you can read the extensive court documents available to the public.
In other words, if you want to know the facts of the Pell case, all you have to do is read.
Want to know the facts of the Father Mark White case? (Which I recommend, before giving me advice, much as I prize good advice.) Again, all you have to do is click above, and read. All the documents (so far) are there.
Meanwhile, Theodore McCarrick. He ordained hundreds of priests. Confirmed thousands of young people. Presided, as the face of the American Church, during the 2002 Boston Globe Spotlight scandal. Then, sixteen years later: found guilty by a Vatican tribunal of grave crimes of sexual abuse. And defrocked.
That reckoning with justice occurred decades after the original crimes were committed. What happened between the 1970’s and 2018? A sexual predator exercised truly enormous power and influence in the holy Roman Catholic Church. Over the course of forty years, dozens of ecclesiastical officials became aware of McCarrick’s predations, and kept them covered up.
How could this have happened? We have a right to know, we believing Catholics touched by this man’s extensive ministry. We have a right to know the facts about the colossal breakdown of institutional integrity. We have a right to hold to account all the conspirators involved.
On October 6, 2018, the Vatican issued a communique notifying the world that someone (not identified) would ‘study’ all the documents of the McCarrick case. The communique made no explicit promise about publishing anything. Rumors have abounded for many months that a written report of some kind exists, somewhere in the Vatican offices.
But May of 2020 has arrived. And still no accountable, public word about this. From any ecclesiastical official. Nineteen months later.
Does the hierarchy not owe us an account of what happened? Over those four decades when McCarrick ruined lives; bishops and popes knew; and yet McC. got away with it?
We know that James Grein and John Bellocchio have lodged lawsuits about McCarrick abusing them; others may have as well. Perhaps some genuine, non-craven legal reason exists to withhold the information until those suits run their course. If that is the case, though, some competent ecclesiastical official could announce that, and indicate the hierarchy’s willingness to come clean about the McCarrick scandal, as soon as possible.
Instead, silence. If you study the documents under the tab above (about my own case), you will note that Bishop Knestout admonished me in September 2018. Wait to comment about the McCarrick situation until such time as all the facts become known.
By September of 2018, Bishop Knestout had written at least twice about participating in the study that would lead to the full disclosure of the facts about the McCarrick cover-up. Babies born then have learned to talk since. Meanwhile: nothing, by way of a report.
Not to brag, dear reader, but in fact your humble servant has actually produced a pretty extensive “McCarrick Report.” Extremely sketchy, since I don’t have access to the file cabinet in the Vatican. But, for what it’s worth, here’s a little compendium of the posts…
April 6, 2019 open letter to Archbishop Gregory, of Washington.
February 21 McCarrick book proposal for Jon Krakauer.
February 16 McCarrick Verdict.
January 5 McCarrick-case pdf of my dreams.
December 4, 2018 The Vatican spills the beans on McCarrick (off the record).
August 28 Believing Viganò.
July 26 New Scandal, Worse than the First.