The report on the Vatican’s treatment of the highest ranked church figure for sexual assault comes after two years of investigation, and years of scrutiny of how McCarrick was allowed to rise through the hierarchy.
McCarrick was promoted to Cardinal in 2001 by John Paul II, a year after he became Archbishop of Washington, and became a strong player in both the Church and Washington, D.C., and was known for fundraising and influence.
The Vatican report appears to absolve current Pope Francis of blame.
“As of 2017, no one … submitted to Pope Francis any documents regarding the allegations against McCarrick,” the report’s executive summary said.
“Pope Francis only heard that there were allegations and rumors of immoral behavior with adults that occurred prior to McCarrick’s appointment in Washington,” the report stated, adding that Francis initially believed “that the Pope had already reviewed the allegations and rejected them. John Paul II.”
Details of the allegations against McCarrick were reported at the time Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Washington, which the report said fall into four categories.
The allegations included a priest who claimed to have noticed McCarrick having sex with another priest; Anonymous letters accusing him of child sexual abuse; McCarrick is “known to have shared a bed with young adults in the Bishop’s House in Meuchin, Newark”; And that he “has been known to share a bed with adult seminarians in a house on a New Jersey beach.”
The report found that these alleged incidents related to McCarrick’s tenure as Archbishop of Metuchin from 1981 to 1986, and Archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000. John Paul II appointed him to both positions, and made a personal decision to appoint him Archbishop of Washington.
A two-year investigation
Tuesday’s Vatican report does not focus on McCarrick’s alleged abuse or conviction under canon law, instead shedding light on what the Holy See knew about him and when.
However, the report notes that “several individuals who had direct physical contact with McCarrick were interviewed” over the course of the two-year investigation.
“During the lengthy, often emotional interviews, people described a range of behaviors, including sexual assault or abuse, unwanted sexual activity, intimate physical contact, and family sharing without physical contact. These interviews also included detailed accounts of abuse McCurry for power and strength. “
The report alleges that Pope Benedict XVI requested the resignation of McCarrick in 2005 after “accusations of harassment and ill-treatment against adults surfaced again.”
She adds that the Vatican Bishop’s Office informed McCarrick orally in 2006 and in writing in 2008 of retirement from public life, but ignored those recommendations.
The report says that Pope Francis was also aware of “rumors of immoral behavior with adults” prior to McCarrick’s appointment in Washington but decided not to take any further action to alter “the path taken by his predecessors.”
When the first charge of sexual assault against a minor surfaced in 2018, Pope Francis’ response was “immediate” according to the report, and the former cardinal was expelled from the priesthood.
This is an urgent story and will be updated.