More on the Pope-Emeritus’ Record

For decades in Munich, sexual assaults by clergymen went unreported and unpunished. The victims of these heinous crimes remained unacknowledged and invisible, their lives wounded by the violence they had suffered.

It was a human-rights catastrophe of the highest order. (And this happened, of course, not just in Munich, but apparently in every Catholic community on earth.)

Last month we considered the report that a team of Munich investigators prepared, intended to cast light on this catastrophic period of secret human-rights violations. At the Archdiocese’s behest, the investigators focused their study on the decision-making of the Archbishops.

The report included information from Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI’s tenure as Munich Archbishop. We conducted a point/counter-point about how to understand the information in the report.

Pope Benedict New Evangelization

Now the Vatican has published the pope-emeritus’ legal team’s official rebuttal of the Munich report.

The rebuttal is, as they say, slim pickings. But it still manages to be brazenly dishonest, in three ways.

1. At a now-infamous meeting that took place in January of 1980, Cardinal Ratzinger agreed to welcome Father Peter Hullermann into the archdiocese. Prior to that fateful date, Hullermann had already sexually abused at least one, and likely three, minors. He would go on to abuse many more, over the ensuing decades.

The Ratzinger-team rebuttal published last week insists that, at the meeting in January 1980, Cardinal Ratzinger did not decide to employ Hullermann in pastoral work. Rather, Hullermann was simply accommodated in a parish rectory, so that he might undergo psychotherapy in Munich.

The rebuttal’s implication here is this:

Ratzinger never agreed to anything dangerous, as far as exposing minors to sexual assault, because “at the meeting it was not decided to engage the priest in pastoral activity.”

But this implication is patently dishonest. Any priest resident in a parish rectory is ipso facto involved in pastoral work, unless the bishop explicitly prohibits it.

Every Catholic who has ever practiced the faith in a big city, with student priests living in it, knows: Priests living in parish rectories, even if not assigned as pastor or parochial vicar, nonetheless celebrate Masses and hear confessions on a regular basis. From the point-of-view of the Catholic in the pew, the resident priest is simply another priest. Just as likely to be invited over for dinner, just as likely to be granted access to vulnerable minors.

To avoid this, the Archbishop would have had to forbid that Hullermann celebrate the sacraments. Explicitly forbid it. Ratzinger certainly did not do that.

Okay, maybe things were different in Munich in 1980 than they have been in every other big city with Catholic parishes that I have ever been in, in my life? If so, then forgive me for making a false charge here.

But if Munich was like any other place, then this Ratzinger-rebuttal implication is pure b.s.

Ratzinger put Hullermann in a position to prey on additional victims. That is the simple fact.

Francis and Benedict

2. We discussed before how the pope-emeritus’ team previously insisted that Ratzinger was not at the January 1980 meeting when Hullermann was welcomed to Munich.

But then the investigators produced the minutes of the meeting, which prove that the Archbishop was, in fact, there.

The rebuttal published last week tries to paint a picture. The Ratzinger team had to operate under supposedly difficult circumstances. They had to process large amounts of information during a short time period. Therefore, they made an honest mistake about the meeting.

Now, I don’t think we will ever know for sure whether it was an honest mistake or not. Perhaps it was.

But the picture the Ratzinger team tries to paint is itself fundamentally dishonest.

The fact is, it was the investigators where were working with unfamiliar documents, trying to understand material that was new to them. None of it was new to Joseph Ratzinger. Ratzinger was there when it happened in the first place. He was directly involved. He was fricking in charge.

Let’s remember why the investigation occurred: Human rights violations happened on a shocking scale, in secret, for decades. The investigators were not on the inside at the time; they sought information they did not have.

When those investigators seeking information first contacted the pope-emeritus, asking him to contribute his memories to their study, he could have replied:

‘Look, I’m an old man now. You’re asking me about things from over half a lifetime ago. I have not retained any records myself, and my memory is clouded by the years. I don’t have much to contribute to the record at this point.’

That would have been a perfectly reasonable response. But Ratzinger and his ‘friends’ did not respond that way. Actually, they did, at first. But then they changed their minds. The pope-emeritus insisted that he had clear memories and could contribute information that would make the record more complete. Great.

But you can’t say, on the one hand, ‘Yes, I can give you information that you don’t have. Send your questions,’ and then say, ‘You gave me too much information to deal with in too short a time.’ As if you never heard anything about any of it before. As if it were all new material to you.

No. It was your own daggone life, Your Holiness. Your own decisions.

Benedict Francis kneeling

3. The Ratzinger-team rebuttal asserts that:

As an archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger was not involved in any cover-up of acts of abuse.

The reasoning behind this assertion is: The investigative report acknowledges that it has no proof one way or the other about what Ratzinger knew about the criminal acts of his priests.*

* That is, during his time as Archbishop. Remember: some of the criminals’ cases eventually made it to Rome, and Ratzinger then served as the competent Vatican official, or as pope. The investigators asked about what he learned while in Rome, and the pope-emeritus categorically refused to answer those questions.

And yet one of the ‘friends of Ratzinger’ has the temerity to call Pope Benedict XVI “the father of transparency.” Come on.

Anyway, the report concludes that Ratzinger probably knew at least something about Hullermann’s criminality (as well as other criminal priests.) The report has evidence supporting that conclusion, including testimony from parishioners at a parish to which Hullermann was assigned while Ratzinger served as Archbishop of Munich.

All that said, the investigators acknowledge that they have no certain proof.

As cited above, the rebuttal insists, therefore, that, in the absence of such proof, we must conclude that Ratzinger knew nothing.

That would be our necessary conclusion–if this were a criminal case, and we were jurors with the authority to put Joseph Ratzinger in jail.

But that is never what the investigation was. The report is an honest attempt to bring to light the facts. The facts of a long-term, secret human-rights-abuse catastrophe.

The investigators asked the pope-emeritus to participate as a source of information, not as a criminal defendant. And yet Ratzinger and his team have acted, from beginning to end, as if the man were a defendant on trial.

This confirms, rather than weakens, the report’s conclusions. To this day, Ratzinger makes the whole thing about himself. His long-time secretary Georg Ganswein says that Benedict’s enemies cooked up the report to destroy his legacy. Mind-blowing small-mindedness and narcissism.

last-judgment

When the Vatican published the Ratzinger-team rebuttal, they also published a letter from the pope-emeritus. In his letter, the aging Benedict expresses his hope that he will meet a friend as judge, after he breathes his last.

Indeed, we all must hope for that. Otherwise, we are doomed.

But Ratzinger was no friend to the innocent and defenseless young people who suffered at the hands of criminal priests in Munich. The investigators have brought to light many, many facts that lay hidden for decades.

The most-charitable interpretation of those facts, when it comes to Joseph Ratzinger, is this: He was too self-important and ambitious to be bothered with such details as whether or not his priests were dangerous criminals. To this day he wants to cover that fact up.

May the Lord have mercy on him for it.

The Exact Whitewash Used in the Vatican McC Report (with Compendium)

whitwash

The Vatican’s McCarrick report is a fundamentally dishonest document. Accepting it at face value, as an exercise in “transparency,” would require the reader to suppress his or her common sense. The anonymous author(s) of the report have applied a particular whitewash to the actual facts. Let me explain.

First, here are links to the posts I have written so far about the report:

Regnum Christi Memory Turned Painful

More-Readable Report?     My Interviews on TV

Capone De Niro
Robert De Niro as Al Capone in The Untouchables

Al Capone McCarrick

McCarrick Report Literary Genre

My Offer to Help with the Report

“Innocent” Bed Sharing?     Cover Up?

McCarrick Men and One Thing the Report Doesn’t Say

Throughout his adult life, Theodore McCarrick preyed sexually on innocent people. He damaged his victims’ faith, their relationship with the Church, their sense of themselves as human beings, their capacity for trust and openness in relationships, their earning potential, their interior freedom, and much more. He did damage like this over and over again.

We do not have a full reckoning of the damage. The Vatican report does not even pretend to offer such a reckoning.

In fact, the report even has a hole when it comes to something as “documentable” as legally binding financial settlements. As I alluded to in an earlier post, the report unwittingly shows that we remain altogether in the dark about multiple McCarrick settlements. (See the quote of Archbishop Myers of Newark on page 227, as well as footnote 815 on page 242.)

This lacuna, however, is far from the central whitewash that the Vatican report tries to slather in front of our eyes.

First, let’s call to mind the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica, pars II-II, question 60, article 5, reply 1. This question in the Summa explains how to make fair judgments; the article discusses giving the benefit of the doubt. The reply reads:

He who interprets doubtful matters for the best may happen to be deceived more often than not. Yet it is better to err frequently through thinking well of a wicked man than to err less frequently through having an evil opinion of a good man, because in the latter case an injury is inflicted [on the misjudged innocent man], but not in the former.

The Vatican report offers a thesis that would resonate with this teaching of St. Thomas. “The popes did not have clear evidence of guilt, at least not until they somehow obtained it in 2018. They rightfully gave McCarrick the benefit of the doubt until then.”

The report quotes Pope-emeritus Benedict about the doubtfulness of the matter, as things stood in November 2005, when the Vatican demanded of McCarrick that he resign as Archbishop of Washington. The pope-emeritus recalled: “There were suspicions regarding McCarrick’s prior conduct but a dearth of concrete evidence.” (See footnote 798, on page 233.)

This understanding of the situation, as Pope Benedict expressed it, produced the “foolhardy conspiracy” to which I referred in a previous post. The idea governing Vatican policy towards McCarrick under Pope Benedict was this: McCarrick says he’s innocent, and we believe him. But the danger of scandal hovers like a terrifying cloud, because ‘numerous voices’ have ‘raised red flags.’ We must make McCarrick vanish from the public eye.

st-thomas-aqPapal representative Gabriel Montalvo went to an early grave after having to pursue this policy. Then Montalvo’s successor, Pietro Sambi, complained about having McCarrick “always at my door,” looking for permission to continue his globe-trotting (page 308).

Sambi, too, died an early death, with the McCarrick situation still pending.

Both of these earlier nuncios, however–premature as their demises may have been–got off easy compared to their successor in office, Carlo Maria Viganò.

In both 2006 and 2008, Viganò–while still working in the Vatican–tried to convince his superiors that the “hiding McCarrick” strategy would not work. Viganò suggested that the pope should put McCarrick on trial, canonically (as ultimately, the pope did have to do.) Viganò proposed that they make an example of McCarrick, to indicate to the whole Church that McCarrick’s abuses were intolerable.

Now, with its McCarrick report, the Holy See has thanked Archbishop Viganò for having been right–by making him out to be the dishonest villain of the story.

Be all that as it may, the ‘hide-McCarrick’ policy pursued under Pope Benedict did not actually resonate with the teaching of St. Thomas on giving the benefit of the doubt in uncertain matters. At the time, McCarrick called the Vatican’s bluff on that score.

All the Vatican’s communiques to McCarrick (until 2018) conceded that he was, in fact, innocent. (Even after two Metuchen victims gave sworn testimony about McCarrick’s sexual harassment.) Nuncio Sambi told McC that “no one believes the truth of the accusations,” and Cardinal Re, Prefect for Bishops, wrote to McC in June 2008; Re referred to the “unfounded reports” about McC.

So McCarrick made a reasonable answer. In a September 2008 letter to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone, McCarrick wrote, “I have asked for a complete investigation and have offered to submit to a lie-detector test.”

Ironically enough, therefore: McCarrick and Viganò agreed. Justice requires a thorough investigation which will result in a definitive conclusion of guilt or innocence. The policy based solely on an indeterminate fear of people finding out–that does an injustice to everyone involved. The judge must reach a clear decision.

Anno Fidei inauguration Benedict XVIAccording to canon law, only one authority in the Church can judge a Cardinal. The pope.

I speculated extensively about the McCarrick affair, prior to the release of the Vatican report. Turns out that I gave Pope Benedict a great deal more credit for perspicacity in this matter than he deserved.

I thought that Benedict understood the commitment to zero tolerance for sexual abuse that the American bishops had made in 2002. After all, they made that commitment in direct consultation with Vatican officials, including then-Card. Ratzinger.

I figured, therefore, that Pope Benedict recognized that he betrayed that principle with his “hide McCarrick” strategy, but that the pope felt he had no choice. McCarrick had just served as the public face of the Catholic Church in America during the biggest sex-abuse scandal ever. That made McCarrick ‘too big to fail,’ so to speak.

I speculated that Benedict thought to himself: “Yes, it is wrong for us to cover this up. We ought to judge and condemn McCarrick openly. But we can’t, because that would destroy the Church in the U.S.”

Now, I don’t mean to say that I thought such a line of thought made sense. To the contrary, in my speculations I concluded that Pope Benedict deserves the lion’s share of the blame for the McCarrick catastrophe. But I still managed to give the pope emeritus too much credit.

Pope Benedict apparently experienced no interior strife over orchestrating a cover-up. The Vatican report shows that he never really grasped the implications of the supposed zero-tolerance policy in the first place.

Benedict did as pope the same thing he had done as Archbishop Ratzinger of Munich, in the early 1980’s. The same thing that countless bishops have done, all over the world–thereby reducing our Church to the state of zero credibility: He pushed the whole business away from himself. He refused to deal with it. He left if for others. While the McCarrick case lingered, unresolved, for a decade, Pope Benedict focused on writing his books.

Pope Benedict had, after all, received a large bribe from McCarrick: $200,000 cash, in the spring of 2005. The Vatican McCarrick report insists, on page 4, that:

The examination [of all records involving McCarrick] did not reveal evidence that McCarrick’s customary gift-giving and donations impacted significant decisions made by the Holy See regarding McCarrick during any period.

This may be the most truly laughable sentence in the report.

Little Women drawing
Drawing from the original edition of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, 1868

We still, however, have not brought into focus the precise whitewash used in this report.

To return to St. Thomas’ principle: In cases of doubt, it is better to be deceived by a wicked man than to think ill of an innocent man. The supposed ‘doubt’ in the McCarrick case was: Some say he has acted inappropriately, that he has harassed, that he has abused. He states categorically that he has not.

But this much was never in dispute, never in doubt: McCarrick slept in the same bed with seminarians, young men, even teenage boys. With none of these bedfellows did McCarrick have any blood kinship.

McCarrick acknowledged the truth of this set of facts repeatedly; the written record of this acknowledgement begins with his August 6, 2000, letter to Pope John Paul II’s personal secretary (see page 169 of the Vatican report). McCarrick knew he could not deny his bed-sharing and remain even remotely credible, because too large a circle of people knew about it.

As I tried to explain in an earlier post, no honest person in the 1980’s, 90’s, or 2000’s could construe these facts as ‘innocent.’  An Archbishop sleeping in the same bed with a young priest of his diocese, or a seminarian, or a young man, or a teenage boy: that was, in and of itself, clearly wrong. An abuse had occurred. Even if no other facts were known, the bed-sharing was enough to justify the conclusion that McCarrick deserved clear and decisive punishment.

In other words, the popes, their ambassadors to the U.S., and their department heads in Rome never actually found themselves in the situation considered by St. Thomas in ST II-II q60 a4 reply1. They had enough evidence to clear up any doubt. They had this evidence all along.

Now, none of the popes, nor their close co-workers, have been dumb or naïve men. They all knew that you cannot really extend the benefit of the doubt to someone who has himself acknowledged sleeping in the same bed with his subordinates and with minors.

The Vatican report expects the reader to reject this clear fact from his or her mind. The report only makes sense if you take refuge in a dream world where popes and experienced priests can calmly think that McCarrick shared his bed with his targeted victims just like the sisters shared a bed in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

The popes and Vatican officials did not, in fact, think that. They knew better. That’s the ugly reality hidden beneath the whitewash. Scrape away that whitewash, and we see:

With its McCarrick report, the Vatican clearly declares to the world that bishops may freely abuse their subordinates, so long as there’s no big stink about it. Just don’t get caught. Keep it quiet. As long as you manage to keep it quiet, the Successor of St. Peter and his men will gladly look the other way.

Cover Up?

Bishop Robert Barron gave an interview to share his reaction to the Vatican’s McCarrick report. The bishop quibbled with the interviewer’s question about a “culture of cover-up.” Barron said:

When you press the issue of cover-up, you’re looking at real wickedness. You’re looking at people who were desirous of suppressing the truth. That’s a harder thing to judge. You’re looking at motivation. I think what’s clear objectively is how the system failed… What struck me is a clunky, sclerotic, dysfunctional system.

Bishop Barron’s lack of moral clarity here comes as no surprise. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Vatican report itself reaches no clarity about McCarrick’s guilt.

In fact, if you took the Vatican report as your primary source of information, you would wind up thinking, “McCarrick is a saintly man who served the Church selflessly over a long and brilliant career. Pope Francis had to defrock him after some anonymous people said terrible things about him in 2018. But who really knows the truth? McCarrick himself said, over and over again, that the men accusing him were just after money.”

PopePaulVI
Pope Paul VI

On the other hand, if you have any moral clarity about the situation at all, you recognize the evident fact that McCarrick’s accusers are not all lying. You recognize that the offense for which the Vatican gave McCarrick a pass for decades–forcing subordinates and minors to share his bed–itself merits defrocking. A clear-headed, non-compromised reader of the report sees the evidence of a “culture of cover-up” begin to pile up on page 1 of the Vatican report.

The phrase “cover-up” does not do justice to the depths of wickedness that the report unwittingly reveals. One of my book editors pointed-out to me that the term “cronies,” which I use at crucial points in my narrative, falls short of the mark. A “crony” is some kind of government or union official without scruples. But a union or government crony has considerably less of a duty to exemplify Christianity than a Catholic prelate does. A Catholic prelate can’t be just a “crony.” A Catholic prelate who doesn’t care about justice is something more wicked than a crony.

What the Vatican report reveals is a network of cowards who have transformed responsibility-shirking into a genuine art form. This network of men has convinced itself that taking no responsibility whatsoever for the welfare of the vulnerable is precisely what makes for a successful churchman.

Robert Ciolek New York Times
Robert Ciolek in a New York Times photo

According to the report, Pope Paul VI made McCarrick a bishop on the testimony of dozens of fellow clergyman–at a point in history when McCarrick belonged in jail, 1977. As auxiliary bishop of east Manhattan, McCarrick established a domicile for himself in a building that had been a children’s hospital. It was in this place that McCarrick traumatized the victim that the Vatican report calls “Priest 1.”

The Vatican report treats “Priest 1” and other McCarrick-survivor-priests with thinly veiled contempt. The report calls them by number, rather than by name–even when they have spoken openly about their experiences. Priest 2 is Robert Ciolek. Priest 3 is Father Lauro Sedlmayer. Priest 1’s name is publicly available, but apparently he prefers to retain his privacy at this point, so I will respect that here.

These are the men who tried in vain–for years, decades, quarter-centuries–to get some Vatican official to own the McCarrick problem. Apparently, in 2006 and 2008, Archbishop Viganò tried to do just that, but his proposals met with rejection by his superiors. (More on that in a subsequent post.)

The Vatican report fails to sympathize with the survivor-priests’ point-of-view. In footnote 833 on page 253, the report even tries to set two of them against each other. Priest 1’s and Ciolek’s testimony agrees on the basic facts. The discrepancies between them are understandable, given the traumatic nature of McCarrick’s predation. But instead of recognizing that the Church owes these survivors not only sympathy, but praise for their courage and honesty, the report continues the cruel cover-up tactic of trying to cast doubt on their word, and does so by disingenuously pitting them against each other.

Archbishop Vigano
Archbishop Viganò

Father Sedlmayer, “Priest 3,” fares even worse. The report treats him solely as a pawn in the Vatican bureaucrats’ petty little cat-fight with Archbishop Viganò.

Sedlmayer spoke with the Washington Post in 2019. He gave the Post the testimony he had submitted to the Vatican for the McCarrick report. We find here another piece of hard evidence demonstrating the unreliability of the Vatican report as a source of facts. Sedlmayer’s testimony to the Vatican included this statement:

I know some find it hard to believe that an adult could be forced so easily [into mutual masturbation, which McC repeatedly forced upon Sedmayer.] The answer is fairly straightforward: a bishop holds your professional life, your reputation, your assignments, and your dignity in his hands… It was extremely difficult to resist the sense of fear and control that McCarrick exercised over me.

Sedlmayer gave his written testimony for the Vatican report to the Post; the Post printed these words of his. The Vatican report, however, does not include this statement. Perhaps because it so eloquently expresses the experience of McCarrick’s many victims.

In fact, the Vatican report blithely leaves the reader with the impression that Father Sedlmayer is a dangerous liar. The report only invokes him in order to make Archbishop Viganò look negligent. (Viganò appears, in fact, to have neglected Sedlmayer; as I mentioned, I intend to write more on that later.) The report happily ignores the torture to which ecclesiastical officials subjected Father Sedlmayer for decades. McCarrick’s successors in the diocese of Metuchen all told Father Sedlmayer to shut up.

No one in the Vatican would do anything about it. They still won’t.

Regnum-Christi Memory Turned Painful

sheep-goats

I have had a little crucifix for over twenty years. Every morning when I first wake up, I kiss it and say, “Christ our King, Your Kingdom come.” Same thing when I lay down to sleep at night. “Christ our King, Your Kingdom come.” This little daily ritual with the crucifix is one of the customs of the Regnum Christi movement. Regnum Christi means “Kingdom of Christ.” [Spanish]

Everyone knows that we read the same Sunday readings on a cycle of… how many years? Correct: three. Six cycles ago, on Christ the King Sunday, 2002, we celebrated a large Mass for members of the Regnum Christi movement at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. The Archbishop celebrated the Mass. The seminarian, who was a deacon, chanted the gospel reading. Same gospel reading as this Sunday, the separation of the sheep from the goats in Matthew 25.

Father Marcial Maciel founded the Regnum Christi movement. He turned out to have been a serial sexual predator, protected for decades by higher-ups in the Church. He victimized countless people and ruined many, many lives. The Archbishop who celebrated that Regnum Christi Mass at the Shrine, Christ the King Sunday, 2002: Theodore McCarrick. The deacon who chanted the gospel: me.

macielIn the gospel passage, the Lord Jesus invites the sheep into the Kingdom of heaven. They have been kind to the weak and suffering. They have acted humbly and gently towards everyone. They’re surprised that the king beckons them, because they never thought of themselves as anything great. They lived obscure lives of daily kindness.

Maybe you know that the Vatican published a “McCarrick Report” last week. For thirty years, the higher-ups in the Church left us seminarians, young priests, and young people at risk. They knew that McCarrick posed a serious danger to us, but they did nothing.

On that Christ the King Sunday, 2002–when McCarrick and I stood next to each other at the altar in that huge church filled with eager Christians–the higher-ups already knew about him. McCarrick had already destroyed a lot of lives. The pope knew it; Cardinals and bishops knew it.

They did not think of the suffering wounded. They thought only about their own reputation. They had comfortable lives with servants at their beck and call. They wanted it to stay that way. It never so much as crossed their minds to seek out the lost souls whose lives McCarrick had destroyed. Most of the prelates who knew the dirty secret hated McCarrick—not because of what he had done to defenseless, innocent people, but because of the danger he posed to the stability of their own coddled lives. They just wanted everyone to shut up about the whole thing.

What if the King has this to say to the goats, before he sends them to hell: “A sexual predator manipulated, demeaned, and abused me, and you did not care. A powerful Church careerist crushed my faithful, innocent soul, and you worried about your own reputation. I tried to tell you that this man is a dangerous criminal, and you said it was all my fault. The predator threw me out on the street for refusing to give into his advances, and I appealed to you. You never even wrote me back.”

My print-out of the McCarrick Report appears to be missing the last page. The page where they all say: “We are terribly sorry. We clearly do not know what we are doing. We have wronged the innocent and defenseless victims for decades, turning a deaf ear to their cries, treating them as the problem. We still have no earthly idea how to handle what they say. We have failed you, dear earnest Christians. You deserve much braver, more honest leaders.”

I cannot tell you how much it hurts to think about that Christ the King Sunday eighteen years ago. Now that I know how the hierarchy betrayed us. They betrayed all of us who were there because we kiss our crucifixes every morning and every night, and long to get to heaven, and just want to treat everyone kindly. We’re no saints or heroes, but we would have known what to do with McCarrick, if we had the information and the power.

The hierarchy offers excuses, rather than take responsibility. The McCarrick Report is 449 pages of “It’s someone else’s fault.” No churchman has ever been willing to own the McCarrick problem. Not for the past 35 years, and not now.

What if the king says, “I came looking for encouragement in living an upright, responsible life, and you passed the buck. I needed someone to give me an example of courage, and you called a lawyer to protect yourself from liability. I came to church hoping to find someone who believes enough in Christ crucified to admit his sins, and you insisted that you have no memory of any conversation having to do with that issue.”

I’m going to keep kissing my crucifix and celebrating my Mass. We live in dark, dark days for His Church, our Church. Let’s hold onto our faith and just keep trying to live in the truth.

“Innocent” Bed Sharing?

Washington Post photo of McC and Susan Gibbs
Washington Post photo of Susan Gibbs with McCarrick

The Vatican McCarrick Report recounts this episode:

In the spring of 2002, when the American press buzzed about the Catholic sexual-abuse crisis, Theodore McCarrick emerged as the primary spokesman of the hierarchy. He had been in office as Archbishop of Washington for just over a year, having been transferred from Newark, New Jersey, at the end of 2000.

From the Vatican report:

In early April 2002, Susan Gibbs, the Executive Director for Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, was informed that reporters were asking questions about Cardinal McCarrick’s conduct with adult seminarians at the beach house on the New Jersey shore. Gibbs prepared questions for McCarrick based on the limited information she had been provided and met with McCarrick at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center on 11 April 2002 to ask him about the rumors. Gibbs stated that she had “steeled” herself to “ask a series of very intense questions to try to understand whether something had happened.”

During their meeting, Gibbs first asked McCarrick whether it was true that he had shared a bed with seminarians; McCarrick acknowledged that it was true. (page 215)

McCarrick went on to tell Gibbs that he had never had sex with anyone–man, woman, or child. He lied about that. But he did not lie about sharing his bed with subordinates. McCarrick knew that he could not lie about that particular fact. Dozens of people knew it already, including the pope.

john paul ii theodore mccarrick newark 1995

According to the Vatican report, in October 1999, the then-Archbishop of New York wrote the following, to alert the Vatican about McCarrick:

He would frequently invite male visitors for dinner and to say overnight. Usually they shared a bed, although there were sufficient guestrooms… [At the beach house] one of the seminarians shared the bed with the Archbishop. This became known and was a source of joking among the clergy. (page 132-33)

When the Vatican inquired among neighboring bishops about this, the then-bishop of Long Island, NY wrote:

McCarrick would invite young men, some of whom were his relatives, to visit and occasionally spend an overnight at the Cathedral [in Newark, where McCarrick lived]. The guest shared his bedroom rather than using a guest room. This was known to priests living in the Cathedral Rectory… McCarrick also invited seminarians to overnight visits at a vacation house… the sleeping arrangements involved sharing bedrooms and two sleeping in the same bed. This became widely known. (page 149)

We have to understand the reference to “relatives” in this bishop’s letter in light of what the then-bishop of Trenton NJ wrote about McCarrick, in answer to the same Vatican inquiry:

The only thing that seemed odd to me was [McCarrick] calling people ‘family’ who were not really blood relatives. (page 157)

That summer, McCarrick learned that other bishops had written to the Vatican about him. According to the Vatican report, someone recently interviewed McCarrick about what he learned from his Vatican source that summer. McCarrick said there was “some kind of criticism of me for the seminarian thing. The sharing of beds.”

To protect his reputation with the pope, McCarrick wrote to the pope’s personal secretary on August 6, 2000. In that letter, McCarrick admitted what he would later admit to Susan Gibbs: “I have made some mistakes and have sometimes lacked in prudence.” (p. 170) The Vatican report interprets McCarrick’s statement here in this way: “McCarrick admitted that his sharing of a bed with seminarians at the beach house was ‘imprudent.’” (pg. 9)

In his letter in 2000, McCarrick then went on to offer to the pope the same denial that he offered to Gibbs: “I have never had sexual relations with any person.”

That second statement has proved to be a bold lie. But the important thing to note here, for our purposes, is this: McCarrick did not deny that he slept in the same bed with his subordinates.

The Vatican report summarizes what I have just outlined:

Inquiry [in the year 2000] confirmed that McCarrick had shared a bed with young men…

The report adds:

but did not indicate with certainty that McCarrick had engaged in any sexual misconduct. (page 7)

This is a contradiction in terms. To say that the inquiry confirmed that McCarrick shared a bed with subordinates and minors but that the inquiry did not indicate with certainty that there was sexual misconduct: that is worse than a non-sequitur; it is a canard, a deception. Let me explain.

lincoln-cameoAbraham Lincoln often slept with other grown men, in the same bed. In the mid-nineteenth century, in the United States, only rich people had mattresses; most Americans slept on straw. Buildings had no central heating. For two men to sleep in the same bed was perfectly normal–in the 1830’s, 40’s, and 50’s.

By the 1980’s and 90’s, however, things had changed. Completely. Grown American men did not sleep in the same bed with any regularity in the 1980’s and 90’s. To the contrary, it was generally taboo, just as it is now.

If some emergency circumstances arose, without enough mattresses for everyone, someone would sleep on the floor. One night in 1988, I was among a group of eight tough-jock high-school seniors who went to see the Mickey-Rourke thriller Angel Heart. When we left the theater, we were all so terrified by the movie that we resolved to sleep in the same room (promising never to tell anyone.) There were two beds in the room where we slept. It would never have occurred to any of us that anyone would share a bed. Unthinkable. We played rock-paper-scissors for the beds, and the other six of us slept on the floor.

Theodore McCarrick and Abraham Lincoln were never contemporaries. By the time Theodore McCarrick was born in 1930, the practice of American men sharing a bed for convenience’s sake had declined to the vanishing point.

My point: McCarrick violated social norms. Glaringly.

And McCarrick did it–not his bedfellows. McCarrick was the one with the authority; the young people could not refuse. McCarrick intentionally set up the situation: a young person he found attractive would have no real choice but to get into bed with him. He would cloak the whole thing in offhandedness; he would add weird to weird by saying to the seminarians at the beach house, “You guys can’t sleep together; that would be wrong. But you [his chosen target] can sleep in bed with me. I’m the Archbishop. I’m not going to do anything wrong!”

Blessed be the seminarian with mettle enough to say, “No, your Grace, I will sleep on the floor in the living room.” Under the circumstances, that would have required courage beyond what most human beings possess. It would have meant risking your entire future. His Grace held that future in his hands. You had to please him; that was your job as a seminarian. You had to please the bishop, so that he would ordain you, so that you could pursue the life you believed God had called you to live.

By the time me and my confreres came along as unwitting, idealistic seminarians under Theodore McCarrick, dozens of people–including numerous journalists, Cardinals, and the pope–already knew, as an established fact, that McCarrick regularly forced his subordinates to share his bed. In clear violation of social norms.

Let’s imagine, for the sake of argument, that Abraham Lincoln once shared a bed with a stranger, some random 65-year-old woman, in a ramshackle tavern in rural Illinois, in order to stave off frostbite during a blizzard. (Lincoln traveled frequently, on horseback, all over the state, for his law practice, and as a politician.) Those two could very well have shared that bed innocently. They would have had a good reason. But Lincoln never would have done it, because he was an honorable (and married) man, and: Anyone who knew about the bed-sharing would have had a hard time resting easy in an “innocent” interpretation of it.

In the United States, in the 1980s and 90s: an “innocent interpretation” of the Catholic prelate Theodore McCarrick forcing a subordinate or minor to share a bed with him? Not available. You simply could not take as a settled fact that McCarrick shared the bed in that way–a fact that McCarrick never denied–and also hold that McCarrick “could be perfectly innocent of wrongdoing.” That was not a reasonable option.

It was evident then, based on the undisputed fact, that McCarrick was a serial sexual predator, constantly looking for and grooming potential victims. The recent Vatican report would have us believe otherwise. But the report’s contention to that effect is just as untenable as the magical thinking about McCarrick being innocent twenty years ago.

The Vatican report quotes an anonymous priest (“Priest 4”) whose testimony unveils McCarrick’s genuine intentions in his “innocent, imprudent” bed-sharing strategy: [WARNING: Reading this will likely make you vomit.]

During the Summer of 1985, Bishop McCarrick’s priest secretary telephoned Priest 4 to tell him that McCarrick had invited him on an overnight trip to the beach house in Sea Girt, New Jersey, along with some other seminarians. The invitation made Priest 4 uneasy given McCarrick’s previous behavior, so he decided to speak to Monsignor Gambino, whom he trusted. Gambino told him that he “should go” and that “if I did not accept the invitation it would be frowned upon by the Bishop,” so Priest 4 decided to accept.

Priest 4 received directions to the Sea Girt house, which was a few blocks from the beach, and drove there in his own car. Priest 4 described the house as two stories with a spacious living room that was furnished with some recliners and chairs. The house had three bedrooms upstairs, with two double beds in one room and one bed in another. In the third room, where McCarrick stayed, there was one large bed, a “king or queen.”

The first trip to the beach house was uneventful. Nothing transpired that was alarming to Priest 4, who has little memory of the trip. Priest 4 stated that it seemed “normal” and that this allayed his initial anxiety.

Later in the summer, Priest 4 again received a call from Bishop McCarrick’s priest secretary who invited him, on McCarrick’s behalf, on a second trip to the beach house. About this trip, Priest 4 has a clear recollection.

…After dinner, Bishop McCarrick dictated the sleeping arrangements. McCarrick told the group that he had over-calculated the number of guests and beds – a fact about which the seminarians were well aware – and said to Priest 4, “There is not enough room; don’t worry about it, you can come with me.’” …McCarrick’s “miscalculation” appeared to be a ploy, so the sleeping arrangements announced by McCarrick made Priest 4 anxious, but he felt “pressured” because there was no other bed available and the Bishop “insisted that it would be fine since it was a large bed.”

Reluctantly, Priest 4 did not object: “The situation made me uncomfortable, but I thought I could tolerate it because I had seen the bed so I knew that it was large enough that I could have my own side.”

In Bishop McCarrick’s bedroom, “with the door closed,” Priest 4 began to change for bed. Priest 4 felt “upset” because “I was placed in the position of having to change into sleeping clothes in front of my bishop.” When McCarrick noticed that Priest 4 was wearing pajamas over his underwear, he was displeased, stating “‘What are you wearing those for? It’s warm.’” McCarrick himself changed quickly in the bathroom and emerged wearing only “tighty-whitey” underwear and a sleeveless undershirt.

Initially, Bishop McCarrick asked Priest 4 to sit with him on the bed and began talking about how he had “‘so many troubles’” and “‘a diocese to run,’” and complained about the fact that his back hurt. McCarrick asked Priest 4 to rub his back, which Priest 4 did “[b]ecause it was very difficult to say ‘No’ in that situation.” Soon McCarrick lay down on the bed and asked Priest 4 to continue rubbing his back. McCarrick then offered to give Priest 4 a backrub; although Priest 4 “did not want a backrub from him,” he “found it was very difficult to say no” and felt compelled to acquiesce. After the exchanged backrubs, the lights went out for sleep.

Though on guard, Priest 4 hoped that the touching had ceased and, wishing to avoid any further physical contact, he lay on his side near the edge of the bed turned away from McCarrick. Sometime later, but while Priest 4 was still awake, McCarrick began to rub Priest 4’s back again and, as he drew closer, reached around and rubbed Priest 4’s chest from behind. Then, rubbing his back again, McCarrick worked his way down to Priest 4’s buttocks. Priest 4 felt “frozen and trapped.” As McCarrick “wrapped his body around me,” Priest 4 described himself as being “ensnared” and could feel that McCarrick was sexually aroused. This “shocked” Priest 4 out of his frozen state, and he realized that he “had to escape.” Priest 4 recalled what happened next:

I told him point blank, “I don’t like this.” I didn’t like it. “I don’t like this.” And he said, “Oh, I’m not doing anything;” “Uncle Teddy is under pressure;” “I don’t mean anything;” “Oh, it’s just a rub down, it’s ok.”

I said, “You know what? I just can’t sleep here.” And when I objected like that and let him know it would not be OK to continue like that, he got pissed. He got mad. At first, he was trying to convince me to stay and trying to convey that he was doing nothing wrong. He was trying to be reassuring: “It’s OK, it’s between us.” But then he got angry. He got so angry when I left, and when I went downstairs [to sleep on a recliner], he was so pissed off at me. So much so that he did not even address me the next morning. He did not even say hello. . . . [H]e gave me a very bad look but did not communicate with me. And I just left [the beach house]. I thought, “I am finished in the diocese.”

The report continues:

Shortly after his return to Metuchen, Priest 4 went to see Monsignor Gambino to tell him what McCarrick had done, expecting to receive support.

Priest 4 recalled Gambino’s reaction: “I explained what had happened to me and, according to the way he handled it, he treated me like I was somehow at fault for making an accusation.” Gambino admonished Priest 4 that he was making “serious accusations” against the Bishop and that he needed to go to counseling or else he “‘may not be ordained.’” (page 69-73)

The psychologist proceeded to sexually abuse Priest 4 also. May God give us grace. Priest 4 is a brave, brave man.

My point in reproducing this entire painful story is this: The only reasonable conclusion, based on the established fact of McCarrick forcing subordinates to sleep in the same bed with him, was that McCarrick was after precisely what Priest 4 described.

What occurred twenty years ago among the people who knew that McCarrick slept in the same bed as other grown men: it was not rational deliberation. It was distorted groupthink. McCarrick was a sexual predator; there was no other reasonable conclusion to come to.

But they refused to come to it. For three decades they pretended that they “did not have hard evidence.” These people should all be ashamed of themselves.

My Offer to Help with the McC Report

From the editorial…

Wouldn’t it be nice if the church realized a mistake born of a colossal blunder and allowed Father White to return to his adoring parishioners in Martinsville and Rocky Mount?

…I appreciate the kind encouragement. Thank you, dear editors. That certainly sounds like a good idea to me. I adore the parishioners, too.

I mentioned last week how the Vatican’s McCarrick report hides its sources of information, making it practically impossible to verify what it says. Quoted sources have taken to the airwaves to dispute the report’s claims.

The report quotes well-known Catholic psychologist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons repeatedly. The report includes a letter purportedly written by him.

Dr. Fitzgibbons has written that the report contains “falsehoods and fabrications” about his work. On a Catholic radio show, the doctor said, “in that document are pages and pages of total fabrications…totally untrue…They have a letter they claim that I wrote. Totally a lie.”

To hear what Dr. Fitzgibbons had to say, start at 22:00 here:

The lawyer who put the report together is Jeffrey Lena. Apparently, Lena made some false assumptions in his investigation. I would summarize them as follows:

1. The report does not comprehend an important fact: For every victim of McCarrick’s predations that the Vatican knew about over the years, there are likely five or ten (or twenty or fifty) that they didn’t know about and still don’t know about.

Lena gets himself tied up in knots in a footnote on page 242. He does not understand how McCarrick referred to a mediated settlement in a January 2006 letter, when that settlement wasn’t actually reached until over a year later. But maybe there was another settlement?

On page 281, Lena assumes that the priest to whom Dr. Richard Sipe refers in a letter is Lena’s “Priest 1.” But it could just as easily be another victim, about whom Lena knows nothing.

False assumption by Lena: “I know about all the abused priests and all the settlements.” More likely truth: You do not know the half of it, sir.

2. Crucial pieces of information in this report apparently come from McCarrick himself.

On page 314, Lena refers to a letter McCarrick wrote to the Vatican Secretary of State in September 2008. Lena acknowledges, however, that the letter was not in the Vatican archives. How does Lena know about the letter’s existence then? One assumes the answer must be: McCarrick himself.

When I came across this, I realized: Lena’s #1 source is McCarrick himself. McCarrick himself shaped the narrative of this report.

McCarrick is a pathological liar. He continues to lie to himself about the most-decisive facts of his own life. Soon he will die and meet The Judge, and he will have to face with genuine, crushing shock the full toll of the damage that he himself has done.

Having the unfathomably dishonest McCarrick as the primary source of information makes this report highly unreliable, to say the least. In the spring of 2002, McCarrick bamboozled the journalists of New York, New Jersey, and Washington–a fact that Lena lays out. Lena does not see, however, the extent to which McCarrick has bamboozled him, winning his sympathy to keep him from seeing the obvious: McCarrick is a depraved man, a master manipulator who knows no real truth other than his own compulsive desires. You cannot trust him about anything.

3. Lena makes a glaring error as a lawyer in his summation of McCarrick’s canon-legal situation as of 2009 (pages 340-341.) Lena claims that, at that point, there have been no “findings of fact” about McCarrick’s crimes.

This is false. For years before then, all the parties, including McCarrick, agreed that McCarrick many times slept in the same bed with seminarians, priests, and other young men.

This is a highly significant fact, in and of itself. I will explain the importance of it in a subsequent post. For now, I simply want to point out. Lena is wrong. This fact was never in dispute. It was a settled “finding of fact” all along.

We need to have every factual assertion in the Vatican McCarrick report verified by an independent investigator. The Vatican needs to give such an investigator access to all the secret source material that underlies this report.

I hope that Bishop Knestout heeds the Bulletin editors’ call. I hope we can get back to normal in the parishes here.

But: If that is not to be, I offer my services to conduct the independent investigation of the underlying source material of the McCarrick report. I would be glad to put together a team to double-check Mr. Lena’s work, from a more-realistic perspective.

McC Report Literary Genre

Happy Friday, Mother-Cabrini 13th.

The pope declared her to be in heaven 82 years ago today.

I present my literary analysis of the Vatican McCarrick Report

Synod of Bishops Pope Francis

On the one hand:

The report contains testimony about McCarrick’s crimes, testimony that never saw the light of day until now. This testimony adds to the picture already painted by other survivors.

Now that the Vatican has published this report, other heretofore-silent survivors will speak out. I received a phone call yesterday from one such survivor, a one-time seminarian, who had never before spoken to anyone about what McCarrick did to him. Just talking to each other made us both feel better.

On the other hand:

It is perfectly clear that the Vatican did not publish this report to contribute humbly to the public record. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

The Vatican report does not explain McCarrick’s canonical conviction. This report has only a brief summary of the testimony gathered in that process, and the public has no access whatsoever to any of the underlying evidence.

The process by which McCarrick faced justice in the Church remains completely opaque. None of James Grein’s public testimony appears in this report, nor does the testimony of “Mike” (the boy whose penis McCarrick fondled in the St. Patrick’s cathedral sacristy), nor the testimony of any of the “Nathans.” [It appears that Nathan Doe will have more to say, and I very much look forward to reading it.]

My point is: We cannot see the Vatican report as an honest attempt at “transparency.” It is a work of propaganda, produced by an unstable regime, aimed at regaining some of its long-lost credibility.

Cabrini Shrine Mass.jpg
Holy Mass on Mother Cabrini’s tomb.

The Vatican report relies on sources that remain 100% secret. There is no way for anyone to check the accuracy of the report against its sources of information. The report has 1,410 footnotes, but those footnotes do not serve the purpose of footnotes in respectable publications.

A footnote in a respectable publication gives the reader the opportunity to check the accuracy of a clam that the author makes. In the Vatican McCarrick report, only a tiny portion of the cited sources are available to the public.

I am by no means dismissing this report out-of-hand. It contains a great deal of information, which I intend to study very carefully and write about in a series of subsequent posts. I do not think that the report is patently false. Not at all.

The few cup-fulls of truth, however, have been dipped out of a huge swamp of total secrecy. And those cup-fulls of truth have been dipped to serve a clear purpose. Namely, shoring up the power of a teetering corrupt regime.

We believe in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, founded by the Lord on the rock of St. Peter. Pope Francis is the legitimate successor; he is the pope. We can hold these truths while simultaneously recognizing that many of the incumbents in ecclesiastical office right now are dishonest, self-serving cronies.

A skillful lawyer produced the Vatican McCarrick report. Lawyers serve clients. This lawyer served his client well. He produced a document that contains true information arranged in such a way as to reinforce the prevailing myth that keeps the current cronies secure in their self-righteousness.

The myth is: “We are dutifully fixing an old problem, for which we are not really responsible. Things were bad before ’02, but we have steadily improved the situation since then. Things are better now in the Church. Don’t blame us.”

It would appear that the sole aim of the report is to shore up this self-assurance of the incumbent cronies. They certainly need shoring-up in their self-assurance: In any honest organization, they would have resigned in disgrace long ago.

McCarrick sofa

But re-assuring the cronies in their self-righteousness does not do any of the rest of us any good. The episcopal hierarchy of the Catholic Church has lost its credibility completely. This Vatican document does nothing to restore that credibility. It actually tarnishes it further, for two reasons…

First, the obvious one: The Vatican report contains appallingly embarrassing material. For decades, the bishops and the pope were utterly deaf to cries for justice. Those cries were insistent and convincing for thirty years, and the prelates of our Church ignored them.

The report reinforces with concrete details what I have written about the dishonesty of Pope Francis, Donald Card. Wuerl, and Archbishop William Lori. All three had written evidence in their hands, evidence of the danger McCarrick posed. They turned away from it. They justified themselves with excuses that now look utterly ridiculous, considering the magnitude of the damage that McCarrick has done.

As someone who strives to be a conscientious human being, I am profoundly embarrassed to be associated in any way with these three men, and with their cronies. The report reveals the three of them to be the cowardly, careerist apparatchiks that many of us have known them to be for years. (This goes for the pope-emeritus, also.)

Secondly, even though the report reveals all this, it nonetheless reaches an evidently self-serving and mendacious conclusion, exonerating all the incumbent office-holders.

This fact raises the question: What information does the report withhold? We cannot know, since the Vatican is as “transparent” as a brick wall, and this report is no exception. The report could be a pure tissue of lies, for all we know. The ecclesiastical cronies continue to guard all their secrets with an iron fist.

I leapt with surprise when I read McCarrick himself quoted at length, beginning with footnote 245 on page 55. He apparently submitted to extensive interviews for the report. The report discloses absolutely nothing, of course, about how the interviews were done. Under oath? With a lawyer present? We do not know.

McCarrick has claimed that he never got an adequate opportunity to defend himself against the charges leveled against him in his canonical trial. Those charges were leveled by a secret Church prosecutor, we assume. But do not know. 

The preposterous fact of the matter is: McCarrick may very well be right about that. He may not have been given due process and a fair trial. His contention to that effect is reasonable enough, given the time-frame in which he was convicted. This Vatican report does absolutely nothing to resolve that question.

The even-more incredible irony is: That has been the problem all along. A Church prosecutor should have tried and convicted McCarrick, in open court, thirty-five years ago. But this mafia of obtuse narcissists does not know how to do anything like that. They did not know how to do it when Ronald Reagan was president, and they do not know how to do it now.

Al Capone McCarrick

Capone De Niro
Robert De Niro as Al Capone in The Untouchables

The McCarrick Report has a lot of blood-curdling passages. The most utterly nauseating: section IX.D, “Incident at the Newark Catering Hall.”

Here is a LINK to the banquet scene in Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables. [WARNING: R-rated violence. Extremely disturbing content.]

From the McCarrick Report, covering January 25, 1990: [WARNING: Extremely disturbing content.]

In an interview, Bottino [a New-Jersey priest] stated that it looked like McCarrick, [then-Newark-auxiliary Bishop] Smith and the young cleric [accompaying McCarrick] “had been [at the catering hall] for a while.”

It also appeared that McCarrick had been drinking, because he had a large tumbler in front of him, with another empty glass on the table near him. Several hors d’oeuvres had already been served, and waiters continued to bring more appetizers to the table. The young cleric sitting next to McCarrick looked nervous and remained silent.

Soon after Bishop McHugh and Monsignor Bottino sat down, McCarrick turned to speak to Bottino, referring to him as the “new attaché at the Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations.”

…Bottino recalled that McCarrick explained to him that the Vatican UN Mission regularly received a diplomatic pouch which contained, among other things, episcopal appointments for dioceses in the United States. Placing his hand on Bottino’s arm, McCarrick asked whether he could “count on” Bottino once he became the attaché to provide him with information from the pouch. After Bottino stated that it would seem that the material in the pouch needed to remain confidential, McCarrick patted his arm and replied, “You’re good. But I think I can count on you.”

…Bottino stated that McCarrick then turned his attention to [Camden Bishop] McHugh and Smith. While talking to the two bishops, McCarrick pounded the table and blurted out “I deserve New York!”

Bishop Smith quickly changed the subject by standing up and raising his glass to make a toast to the occasion of the dinner, namely the second anniversary of the [episcopal] consecration of Smith and McHugh [by McCarrick]. McHugh, Bottino and the young cleric, but not McCarrick, stood up for the toast.

After everyone sat back down, Monsignor Bottino observed McCarrick turn towards and begin speaking to Bishops Smith and McHugh about the consecration. In the same moment, Bottino saw McCarrick move his right hand to the young cleric’s crotch area. Bottino observed McCarrick “moving his fingers up and down on the cleric’s crotch” for several seconds, which was “plenty of time to see what he was doing.” As McCarrick was touching him, the young cleric looked as though “he was paralyzed,” with his eyes “wide open” like “a deer in the headlights.”

McCarrick Report Interviews