Conscientious people recognize that the Church in the United States cannot live Her life in any kind of healthy manner without coming clean regarding the decades-long McCarrick Cover-up.
Catholics and non-Catholics alike realize this. Conservative Catholics and liberal Catholics all realize this.
Two weeks ago, the “conservative” National Catholic Register editorialized about it:
Yesterday, the “liberal” National Catholic Reporter did the same:
When the Register and the Reporter have the same editorial position on something, that’s what you call an “American Catholic consensus.”
Non-Catholics also recognize the imperative. Journalists, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, have helped us by doing thorough investigations.
Two days ago, two reporters in New Jersey published a record of the McCarrick Cover-up. They based their report on extensive research and interviews.
The article comes as a great gift to the Church, helping Her do what the pope and bishops have not had the will or clarity of mind to do.
Here’s a full, easily readable and print-able .pdf file of the article.
It’s a heartbreaking read. But we believe in something called reconciliation. That is, getting the grace of God back, by living in the truth. No one enjoys confessing your sins. But you sure feel lighter when it’s over.
Some quotes and summarizations from the New Jersey Herald article…
In 2002, McCarrick had taken a leadership role among American cardinals, becoming the face of the church as it promised to reform itself in the wake of allegations that bishops had been covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.
But NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey has learned through interviews and shared documents that McCarrick overlooked abuse allegations made against several priests in the Newark Archdiocese. And the former cardinal is now accused of abusing children himself in three New Jersey lawsuits — including one filed last month alleging he shared children with other priests at the Jersey shore.
In 1997, an aspiring seminarian met with McCarrick to tell him that a Newark priest had sexually abused the young man’s brother and had beaten him. McCarrick promised action. But he did nothing.
So the aspiring seminarian wrote to the Cardinal Archbishops of Boston and Los Angeles, begging them to intervene.
The Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles wrote back:
“Archbishop McCarrick is greatly concerned about all these problems and issues, and I know that you can rely upon him to be attentive to these pastoral needs.”
And the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston:
“Your pain and frustration is familiar to me because I have had to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct by clergy. Pray for the leaders of the Church, that we might do God’s will whenever this awful problem occurs.”
The aspiring seminarian got the message. He told the New Jersey reporters:
It was, ‘this isn’t our problem.’
(Both those Cardinal Archbishops later got exposed as serial cover-up artists. But the one received a Vatican funeral with full honors. The other continues to present himself as an elder statesman of the American Church.)
You may remember my mentioning another priest ordained by McCarrick, who has tried to contribute to the public record, Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo. He spoke with the New Jersey reporters.
Msgr. Figueiredo translated McCarrick’s letters to the Vatican into Italian, so he had a lot of correspondence which shed light on what happened. In late 2018, Figueiredo offered to go over all this correspondence with the current Archbishop of Newark, Joseph Card. Tobin. Tobin refused. Tobin said, “this is not the time to discuss that.”
A few months later, in May 2019, Figueiredo posted some of the letters on a public website. Tobin then attacked Figueiredo for failing to “disclose these grave facts earlier.”
When the New Jersey reporters asked the Newark Archdiocese about this, the press office replied:
“Cardinal Tobin has not seen the contents of the letters to which you refer, and it would be inappropriate to comment on them without seeing them. Information and correspondence publicly released or information still not made public by Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo properly belong to the Holy See to investigate.”
In their report, the New Jersey reporters reproduce one of the McCarrick letters to the Vatican that Figueiredo gave them, from 2008.
McCarrick claimed in that letter what he had told us priests and seminarians of Washington, in 2002: “I have never had sexual relations with anyone, man, woman, or child, nor have I ever sought such acts.”
The courageous testimony of Francis M., reported last month by the New York Times, gives the lie to McCarrick’s claim. Not to mention the previous testimony of James Grein, one-time St. Patrick’s Cathedral altar boy Mike, the Nathans, John Bellocchio, and John Doe 14, among many others.
The New Jersey reporters also include the disclosures of Father Boniface Ramsey, which you read about here almost two years ago.
Father Ramsey tried to blow the whistle on McCarrick the day after the Vatican announced that he would be the new Archbishop of Washington. In December 2000, Ramsey called, and then wrote to, the Apostolic Nuncio to the US.
Ramsey told the New Jersey reporters: “They knew about it. They didn’t do anything.”
The reporters conclude with Michael Reading’s painful story, which Elizabeth Bruenig told two years ago, while she still worked at the Washington Post. McCarrick abused Reading at the now-infamous Sea Girt NJ beach house.
He went to an upstairs bedroom to change and said McCarrick stood there watching. He finally realized the prelate wasn’t going to leave until he changed into his bathing suit. Later, on the beach, he said McCarrick stuck his hand under Reading’s swimsuit in front of other seminarians. He said they didn’t talk about it and he didn’t know what to do.
The New Jersey reporters add details about what happened after Michael Reading reported the abuse. (This part is a little confusing, because it involves two men named Reading, who are not related. McCarrick abused Michael Reading, who then reported it to Ed Reading, a priest of a neighboring diocese.)
The Rev. Ed Reading, a priest of the Paterson Diocese, was alarmed when the seminarians told him they felt pressured into sharing a bed with McCarrick and having to undress in front of him… Reading reported it to his bishop, who indicated he would contact the Vatican’s U.S. representatives.
“Something had to be done,” said Reading, who now works as a substance abuse counselor outside of the Paterson Diocese. “It’s emotional abuse and it’s a power problem.”
About two weeks later, Newark priests told Reading that church officials made an unannounced visit to the archdiocese, apparently to clamp down on use of the beach house. It was perhaps the first attempt to curtail McCarrick’s activities. But like some other actions later taken by priests and church officials, there were either no consequences or they were fleeting, as McCarrick took seminarians to the shore home for years afterward.
The New Jersey reporters missed one important source of information, the Italian book Il Giorno del Guidizio, which I summarized for you in November 2018. I wrote to the New Jersey reporters yesterday, to alert them to this additional source of information.
Because they don’t know the book, the New Jersey reporters write:
The allegations against McCarrick remained an open secret in the church even after the Newark Archdiocese and Metuchen Diocese paid two seminarians to settle claims against him in 2005 and 2007… McCarrick retired as head of the Washington Archdiocese in 2006, when he turned 75, the Vatican’s required age of retirement. It is not known whether his departure was connected to the payouts.
It actually is known that McCarrick’s departure from Washington came so suddenly because of the payouts. A Vatican official spoke off the record about it, back in the fall of 2018. The official revealed this chain of events:
McCarrick turned 75 three months after Benedict XVI became pope.
Years earlier, while he was still Card. Ratzinger, Benedict had concluded that McCarrick posed a danger to the good name of the Church. The Vatican became aware of the first McCarrick settlement in December 2005, apparently.
The pope then rushed the replacement process for McCarrick. (Healthy sitting Cardinal Archbishops usually remain in office until age 80.) Donald Wuerl became the new Archbishop of Washington well before McCarrick turned 76.
Then the McCarrick-retirement phase of the cover-up began. The details of that phase, once they all come to light, will likely serve to explain why your unworthy servant languishes in unjust suspension from ministry.