McCarrick Men and One Thing the Report Doesn’t Say

Archbishop Vigano
Archbishop Viganò

Those who have denounced scandals, who ask for justice and truth, are considered guilty.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published his  “Between the Lines” of the McCarrick report last week. He included this sentence about persecuted whistleblowers, with a hotlink embedded. The link takes you to the interview Michael Voris did with me. I appreciate the compliment, Excellency.

crozier wuerl
June 22, 2006: McCarrick replaced as Archbishop of Washington.

The Vatican McCarrick report contains some information about the year 2006. That’s when then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick got rushed into retirement.

The report does not, however, mention the sacristy tussle between the Apostolic Nuncio and McCarrick, over who should carry the crozier into the installation Mass for the new Archbishop. And the report does not explore the confusion of the priests and people of Washington.

We knew something weird had happened. We just did not know why.

Healthy Cardinal Archbishops customarily serve well beyond their 75th birthdays. In the spring of 2006, the sitting Cardinal Archbishop of Washington remained stunningly energetic. Only a few months earlier, McCarrick had publicly declared that the pope wanted him to continue to serve as Archbishop for at least two more years.

In other words, McCarrick’s removal from office in May ’06 embarrassed him enormously. Also, as the subsequent years unfolded, a certain person almost never turned up at diocesan liturgies: the Archbishop emeritus.

The question was: Why?

We know the answer now: Because McCarrick belonged in jail. But no one in the Vatican had the guts to deal with that fact. They tried instead to keep the miscreant out of public view. (More on this foolhardy conspiracy in a subsequent post.)

Wuerl Knestout Pope Francis
Donald Wuerl and Barry Knestout, with Pope Francis

On Tuesday Pope Francis appointed a long-time co-worker of our bishop to be the new bishop of Buffalo, New York.

Bishop Michael Fisher and Bishop Barry Knestout have these things in common:

Both were appointed to career-track jobs in the Washington archdiocesan office by Theodore McCarrick. Both held those positions when the unsettling 2006 Archbishop shuffle occurred. Both moved up into positions of even greater responsibility during the subsequent couple of years–when the Vatican was orchestrating its campaign to keep the McCarrick situation hidden from the public.

What did these two men know about McCarrick at that time? Did they know things that the rest of us did not? Did they know the real explanation for the sudden changing of the guard and the attempted sequestration of the Archbishop emeritus?

Wuerl Michael Fisher
Donald Wuerl and Bishop Mike Fisher, now the Bishop of Buffalo

If the Vicar for Administration (Knestout) and the Vicar for Clergy (Fisher) did not know the reason for the strange situation, why didn’t they ask their new boss, Donald Wuerl? He had known for two years that McCarrick had sexually harassed at least one seminarian.

From 2006 on, the McCarrick situation in Washington clearly demanded an explanation. Did Knestout and Fisher not want one?