Vatican officials knew of McCarrick allegations in 2000, letter confirms

  Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A top official from the Vatican Secretariat of State acknowledged allegations made by a New York priest in 2000 concerning Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, according to a letter obtained by Catholic News Service.

Father Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph's Church Yorkville in New York City, told CNS Sept. 7 that he received the letter dated Oct. 11, 2006, from then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the former Vatican substitute for general affairs, asking for information regarding a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark who studied at Immaculate Conception Seminary and was being vetted for a post at a Vatican office. He made the letter available to CNS.

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Then-Archbishop Sandri wrote to Father Ramsey, "I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo."

Father Ramsey had been on the faculty of the seminary from 1986 to 1996 and had sent a letter in 2000 to Archbishop Montalvo informing him of complaints he heard from seminarians studying at the seminary, located in South Orange, New Jersey.

In the letter, Father Ramsey told CNS, "I complained about McCarrick's relationships with seminarians and the whole business with sleeping with seminarians and all of that; the whole business that everyone knows about," Father Ramsey said.

"I complained about McCarrick's relationships with seminarians and the whole business with sleeping with seminarians" Father Ramsey said.

Father Ramsey said he assumed the reason the letter from then-Archbishop Sandri, who is now a cardinal and prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, only mentioned "serious matters involving " seminarians and not McCarrick's behavior was because accusations against the former cardinal were "too sensitive."

"My letter November 22, 2000, was about McCarrick and it wasn't accusing seminarians of anything; it was accusing McCarrick."

A letter dated Oct. 11, 2006 from Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, then substitute for the Vatican Secretariat of State, to Father Boniface Ramsey references a Nov. 2000 letter Father Ramsey had written to Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, Vatican nuncio to the United States, warning about sexual abuse committed by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick.
A letter dated Oct. 11, 2006 from Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, then substitute for the Vatican Secretariat of State, to Father Boniface Ramsey references a Nov. 2000 letter Father Ramsey had written to Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, Vatican nuncio to the United States, warning about sexual abuse committed by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick. (CNS photo/courtesy of Father Boniface Ramsey)

While Father Ramsey has said he never received a formal response to the letter he sent in 2000, he told CNS he was certain the letter had been received because of the note he got from then-Archbishop Sandri in 2006 acknowledging the allegations he had raised in 2000.

The 2006 letter not only confirms past remarks made by Father Ramsey, but also elements of a document written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016.

"My letter November 22, 2000, was about McCarrick and it wasn't accusing seminarians of anything; it was accusing McCarrick."

In an 11-page statement, published Aug. 26, Archbishop Vigano accused church officials, including Pope Francis, of failing to act on accusations of sexual abuse, as well as abuse of conscience and power by now-Archbishop McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano stated that the Vatican was informed as early as 2000 -- when he was an official at the Secretariat of State -- of allegations that Archbishop McCarrick "shared his bed with seminarians." Archbishop Vigano said the Vatican heard the allegation from the U.S. nuncios at the time: Archbishop Montalvo, who served from 1998 to 2005 and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who served from 2005 to 2011.

In late June, Cardinal McCarrick, the 88-year-old retired archbishop of Washington, said he would no longer exercise any public ministry "in obedience" to the Vatican after an allegation he abused a teenager 47 years ago in the Archdiocese of New York was found credible. The cardinal has said he is innocent.

Since then, several former seminarians have claimed that the cardinal would invite groups of them to a beach house and insist individual members of the group share a bed with him.

Vincent Couling
1 week 2 days ago

Tim, you betray your dark agenda with your sly, cunning words “There is no evidence yet that Pope Francis knew McCarrick had abused minors [I was speaking of the time when he rehabilitated McCarrick, not when he sanctioned McCarrick].” Nowhere has Vigano ever suggested that either BXVI or Pope Francis were previously aware that McCarrick had abused minors. No wonder Pope Francis is reluctant to respond to Vigano, for it would draw him into a tawdry and drawn out “he said, she said” … an outcome that seems to be greatly desired by the Vigano camp (whose agenda is well described by Christopher Lamb in https://www.thetablet.co.uk/features/2/14355/culture-wars ).

We also know that Vigano has provided absolutely no evidence that Pope Francis “rehabilitated” McCarrick, let alone that BXVI ever sanctioned him … all we have is Vigano’s personal “testimony”. This from a man who, according to the "personal testimony" of a cardinal in Rome, vowed that if the Pope forced him to move out of his lavish Vatican apartment, “all hell would break loose”! Even Pentin (who once mendaciously claimed to have sworn testimony from BXVI – via a vole – corroborating Vigano’s flights of fancy) now acknowledges that there were no sanctions … rather, there “might have been”! a “private request” that McCarrick keep a “low profile”. Vigano’s other gripe is that he has grown tired waiting for Pope Francis to bestow him with his red hat and socks … an honour usually provided to former US nuncios, but not him. Grinding his several axes, he has been true to his word, and has precipitated the breaking loose of all hell. (Mickens describes the scenario well: https://international.la-croix.com/news/sex-lies-vigan-takes/8369 )

That you are relentlessly sympathetic with the repulsive mentality that despises homosexuality and homosexuals is also noted with contempt and disdain. Such malign attitudes towards homosexuality seem to be the principal driver of those who are displaying such a vulgar animus towards the Holy Father, a shepherd who has followed Christ to the margins, thereby inverting a corrupt social order, paradoxically recognizing the peripheries as the true "centre" of His Kingdom.

Harvey Milk, MD
1 week 1 day ago

Vincent, people like Tim, fakes like Stockmarket Guru, Elaine Boyle and the rest, remind us of people who meet diagnostic criteria for Axis II in the DSM-IV for personality disorders (http://www.psyweb.com/DSM_IV/jsp/Axis_II.jsp)
Trolls like them delight in causing readers consternation. It is part of their psychopathy. Pope Francis is wise: do not engage people of ill will. Casting pearls before swine. Ignore them and that really gets them going

Shedding Light on Psychology’s Dark Triad
A dirty dozen test to detect narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201301/shed…

The Dark Triad of Personality: Trolls Just Want to have Fun
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886914000324

Vincent Couling
1 week 1 day ago

Thanks for the sage advice, George! You make a very good point. I got myself lured down Tim's rabbit hole. My bad! I will avoid him in future.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

George - it's very ironic that someone with your lifestyle and proclivities brings up the DSM?

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Vincent - you have a warped mind. The "yet" was meant to convey that he now knows that McCarrick is credibly accused of abusing a minor, but wasn't then. Unlike you, I believe Pope Francis is trying to follow the Catholic faith as in the Catechism. I do not charge him with believing homosex is a good thing, in opposition to the teaching of Holy Scripture and the Church all down through history. As to your last paragraph, my position is as described in the Catechism, as by Pope Francis in May. Your beef is with the Church's teaching, and with Truth itself. I have zero animus to the Holy Father. You are just projecting your hate of the true faith on all who hold it.

Crystal Watson
1 week 2 days ago

I feel almost the opposite. The pope has done a bad job on sex abuse ever since he took the job. Chile is an example, where, before he finally listened to the abuse victims, he first forced Barros on parishioners, causing actual riots, and then he insulted the victims. There are other examples. I can very well believe he would cover up abuse.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 2 days ago

Vincent - your timing is off, so you should be less certain of what Ratzinger and St. JPII knew and when. McCarrick was made Cardinal in Feb 2001. The CDF was given the responsibility for overseeing investigations of sex abuse allegations in May 2001 (Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela). We know a document from Ramsey went to a Vatican prelate in 2000 (the Secretary of State office). We have no idea yet if this was kept there or shared. You called for measured due process. This is why we need an investigation of the Vatican procedures and processes: how is/was information handled: who got to see it, and when: what criteria for credibility was used to pass it along or just file it (e.g. are claims and charges coming in all the time, many not credible); were lawyers involved early or late: - so many questions that a fair-minded judicial panel of mostly lay people could discover and recommend reforms. No pope is free of bias, bad judgment, and even venality. Our popes are sinful men, like we all are, and not all are intellectual giants or saints. Sanctity is not dependent on these attributes, only on a repentant heart and a sincere surrender of one's will to the Lord, at the end of one's life. This is Pope Francis' moment. He can have a papacy that history compares to Liberius or Pope Gregory (I or VII). Let's pray for him.

Vincent Couling
1 week 2 days ago

Tim, if Ratzinger wasn't aware in 2000, he must have been subsequently ... "Archbishop Vigano said the Vatican heard the allegation from the U.S. nuncios at the time: Archbishop Montalvo, who served from 1998 to 2005 and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who served from 2005 to 2011." Even before 2001, Ratzinger was to have knowledge of all sexual abuse cases in the church (Canon Law directed bishops to report sexual abuse cases involving priests in their diocese to him as prefect of the CDF ... I presume nuncios were to do the same for abusive bishops!).

As regards a thorough investigation, we are essentially in agreement ... I already suggested above that "All of these shenanigans need to be included in a broad, all-encompassing investigation of clerical sex-abuse in the Catholic Church, incorporating the hierarchical cover-up. "

Tim O'Leary
1 week 2 days ago

Vincent - you are making unsubstantiated presumptions re the CDF. We do not yet know if the settlements in Newark ever reached the CDF or Cardinal Ratzinger at the time. But, we do know of Pope Benedict's strong words ('the filth", his apology" for the Church) and action (over 800 priests defrocked). The sanction on McCarrick may have been private an not fully enforced, but it certainly coincided with a change in McCarrick's activities, which rebounded after Pope Francis was elected.

Stock Market Guru
1 week 2 days ago

Tim is spot-on but I think even he misses this point: McCarrick and others of his ilk were necessary to elect Francis with their pro-pedophile, pro-sodomy agenda. It doesn't matter that Pope Francis opposes their most extreme positions, what matters is that he was elected with their support and can't move against them. This was no doubt the same Lavender Mafia that blocked B16 and led him to resign.

On sanctions: I think you all are missing the point. The Vatican moves SO SLOW and even today its difficult to enforce the sanctions because of the Vatican beuracracy. Case in point: Sr. Grammick and her "New Ways Ministry." She was told to cease-and-desist in 1998 when JP2 still had his marbles and Cardinal Ratzinger was still physically/mentally strong. Yet she gave them both the finger and they did nothing. You could even include Hunthausen, aside from Ratzinger coming to the States to chew the clown out. He should have been told to eliminate the violations and filth or he'd be removed as bishop. Instead, they treated an apostate bishop like they would others, including Ulm (MN), Hubbert (NY), Clarke (NY), Sullivan VA), etc.

Notice a pattern ? All social justice liberals. Another cancer we need to get rid of. You'll notice none of these sodomy-loving pedophile bishops are fans of Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, Ludwig Von Mises, or Friedrich Hayek.

1 Last Point: if Francis gets a pass on corruption and filth in the Church because he inherited it from JP2 and B16 (even though he was elected with the supporters of the filth whereas they were elected by the OPPONENTS of the filth)....does this mean that Cardinal Law should be seen in a different light since all of the filth he inherited was a result of Boston Jesuits, Boston College, the Kennedys, Fr. Drinan, and Cardinals Medeiros and Cushing ?

J. Calpezzo
1 week 2 days ago

Roger Mahony.

Stock Market Guru
1 week 2 days ago

Mahony......a pedophile priest went to him in his 1st days as Cardinal/Bishop of LA....he practically begged the guy to HAVE ME ARRESTED/DEFROCKED.....Mahohy said "Hey, I have illegal aliens and social justice malarkey to worry about" and let the guy molest for a few more years. I think his name was Michael Baker....LA Times piece on Mahony was devestating.
Mahony was FAR WORSE than Law but gets a free pass because he was a liberal ass-kisser.

John Chuchman
1 week 2 days ago

Knights of Columbus and Opus Dei much too powerful for Rome. Vatican dare not take on the U.S. Roman Church.

Jim Lein
1 week 2 days ago

This discussion and the discussion in many other places seems more about liberal v. conservative and who to blame rather than how to best make amends and help those who were harmed by the church and how to prevent further abuse.
The huge secretive Roman bureaucratic and legalistic and even militaristic structure gradually adopted over the years by the church when it became like the official religion in the Roman Empire in 380 AD seems more to blame.
PJ XXIII wanted to open the windows, and they were a crack, but then closed again. We could have faced things then if we'd had the courage. No one person is to blame. The blame game is avoiding the truth that John at least sensed. The Roman church is a mess and has long been so. We need some shift toward the faith of the desert fathers and mothers who left rather than stay in the Romanized church. Abbeys and monasteries are keeping this tradition alive. While not perfect, they are closer to Jesus' way without all the pomp and drama of Rome.
They can offer some guidance

Vincent Couling
1 week 2 days ago

Jim, I'm afraid that the Abbeys are often VERY far from perfect ... the Ampleforth and Downside sex-abuse scandals show that abuse was endemic ...

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/9656/sexual-abuse-of-children-so-bad-a…

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/9612/-i-bear-this-shame-in-a-direct-wa…-

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/features/2/14167/a-gross-betrayal-of-trust-…

And while there is a danger of playing the blame game, for me personally, there is a fear that those who wish to have Pope Francis removed are more concerned about self-preservation than making amends and reforming the Barque of Peter ... I am convinced that Pope Francis's leadership is our best hope for reform and the prevention of further abuse ... of course, should he be found to have been complicit ... well, let's just say that there should be no sacred cows, so to speak.

john schmidt
1 week 2 days ago

It doesn’t confirm any of the archbishops accusation against the Pope.

Crystal Watson
1 week 2 days ago

From the LA Times (not a conservative rag) ...
"[...] Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, at the center of a storm rocking Pope Francis' papacy, cited Ramsey's 2000 letter in his own expose of a cover-up about the McCarrick affair. He named Sandri among a long list of Vatican officials who knew about McCarrick's penchant for seminarians. Vigano also accused Francis of knowing in 2013 of McCarrick's misconduct but of rehabilitating him from sanctions purportedly imposed by Pope Benedict XVI. Sandri's letter is significant because it corroborates Ramsey's story as well as Vigano's claims ....." ... http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-vatican-mccarrick-20180907-story.html

Danny Collins
1 week 2 days ago

Good article and summary, Crystal. I think the LA times hit the nail on the head with this quote: "Vigano says Benedict eventually imposed some form of sanction on McCarrick in 2009 or 2010, nearly a decade after Ramsey's letter arrived. The fact that Sandri cited it so readily suggests it wasn't lost in a pile of unread mail somewhere, but was relevant even for a simple job reference."

If the Vatican was using that letter as a point of reference to clear candidates for jobs in the Vatican, then they thought the information was important enough that anyone tainted with possible association with McCarrick at the seminary would face extra scrutiny for job applications. The more we learn, the more likely it seems that Vigano is telling the truth.

Patrick Reynolds
1 week 2 days ago

Does the letter really serve to confirm that the Catican knew? It seems to me that the letter is ambiguous at best as to what it is discussing, and a person has filled in the blanks. That’s different.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
1 week 2 days ago

Bernard Cardinal Law misdeeds were known to everyone in the Vatican as of 2002.
Start there.

“Two years after Law resigned from his position in Boston, which Bishop William S. Skylstad called "an important step in the healing process", Pope John Paul II appointed him Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome in 2004. He resigned from this position upon reaching the age of 80 in November 2011 and died in Rome on December 20, 2017, at the age of 86.” - Wiki

Danny Collins
1 week 2 days ago

The "blanks" are being filled in by Fr. Boniface Ramsey, the whistleblower who repeatedly complained about McCarrick.

James M.
1 week 1 day ago

Why did a supposed Saint make a scoundrel like McCarrick a cardinal-archbishop - cardinals are, supposedly, meant to be good Christians - and call another scoundrel, who was as much a pervert as McCarrick, “an efficacious guide to youth” ? Why did the same supposed Saint do absolutely nothing to investigate accusations of pederasty against the aforesaid “efficacious guide to youth” ?

If he was unable to investigate them because he was gaga, he should not have stayed as Pope, but should have resigned so that someone more competent and energetic could do what needed doing. A Saint, if he is Christian in any sense worth discussing, does not inflict pederasts on the Church. St Peter was not told “Bugger and corrupt My sheep, and fleece My lambs”.

Michael Barberi
1 week 1 day ago

It is becoming obvious that more and more evidence is beginning to be known over the highly irresponsible and gross negligent actions and inactions of the past 3 popes concerning McCarrick. IMO, it is immoral that Pope JP II either ignored and/or minimized McCarrick's sexual abuse, and despite this, he promoted him to Cardinal. It is obvious that Ratzinger, as the prefect of the CDF, had to know about all the accusations about McCarrick. How could he not?

It is clear that whether Pope Francis knew about McCarrick's sexual abusive behavior with seminarians or not, as well as Benedict XVI's sanctions, are questions we need answers to. We do know that at that time, McCarrick was not abiding by B16's sanctions, so it is possible that Pope Francis may have questioned the credibility of Vigano's comment to him in 2013. However, if he did know about B16's toothless sanctions he should have done something about it.

If these things are true there are Implications that many may not be thinking about. For example, if JP II can coverup or minimize clergy sexual abuse and promote McCarrick to Cardinal, and B16 can practically do nothing about McCarrick with his private and toothless sanctions, then the 'credibility' of many controversial sexual ethical teachings that have been claimed to be intrinsically evil since the 1960s is severely damaged as well. Will not people ask: What information was withheld or ignored here? What exaggerated fears put the reputation of the Church ahead of legitimate reforms or developments here?

This culture of clericalism and moral corruption must be thoroughly condemned and eliminated from the Catholic Church. The victims not only need our prayers now but those found guilty of crimes, coverup and gross negligence must be held accountable. We need significant reforms now.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Deleted.

Michael Barberi
1 week 1 day ago

It is frustrating the the auto-edit keeps correcting what I type...namely McCarrick. Note change.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Michael - before you were calling for an investigation but you seem to have already convicted everyone. How can you know that when St. JP II was making 44 Cardinals in 2001, he "ignored and/or minimized McCormick's sexual abuse" when you can't even get the name right? I can understand that Guillermo and George and (sadly) Vincent have jumped the shark, given their desperate desire to be justified, but please return to your more measured self.

Michael Barberi
1 week 1 day ago

Tim,

Carefully read my comments. My remarks do not find anyone guilty of crimes, immoral behavior et al. Note that I use phrases such as "if these things are true" and "those found guilty". I also said that "whether JP II knew about McCarrick or not, etc, are questions that we need answers to". Thus, my comments were measured and appropriate.

More importantly, I have not changed my call for a lay-lead investigation Tim, so please don't exaggerate things. You should know me by now. If I wanted to accuse someone of immoral behavior, I would say so. This entire scandal sticks to high heaven and if you can't grasp it, that is your problem. Of course, things must be thoroughly investigated and people have to be found guilty of immoral behavior, et al. before we can truly reform things and sanction or defrock clergy. I have been blogging about this since the scandal broke.

You should stop your sarcasm Tim...like "you can't even get the name right". Try being measured yourself.

Tim O'Leary
1 week 1 day ago

Michael - you cannot be serious. Your first two paragraphs are direct accusations, without any "if." Making the proviso in the 3rd paragraph is a very weak step back in your certainty. It doesn't even show up if someone doesn't expand your comment. Try to be more responsible.

Michael Barberi
1 week ago

Tim,

If some people do not want to read all of my expanded comments, then that is their problem. My comments have been consistent, reasonable and responsible.

You are not the comments police Tim, so please don't lecture me about how I am supposed to write a comment or about being "responsible". I have not accused anyone of being 'guilty' of a crime or immoral behavior except those already found guilty.

I continue to call for a thorough investigation. However, the facts as we know them today seem to point to moral corruption or gross negligence from priests to popes. Hopefully, we will know the complete truth in time and those guilty will be brought to justice. We need significant reforms now.

As for being more responsible, look in the mirror Tim and pray for enlightenment.

Crystal Watson
1 week 1 day ago

This from RNS 2014 ... "The two men [McCarrick and Pope Francis] had known each other for years, back when the Argentine pope was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires .... McCarrick is one of a number of senior churchmen who were more or less put out to pasture during the eight-year pontificate of Benedict XVI. But now Francis is pope, and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper (another old friend of McCarrick’s) and McCarrick himself are back in the mix, and busier than ever ..." ... https://religionnews.com/2014/06/16/globe-trotting-cardinal-theodore-mc…

Vincent Couling
1 week 1 day ago

It looks like something is at last about to unfold ... see news from The Tablet ...

Vatican prepares to respond to Viganò, https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/9721/vatican-prepares-to-respond-to-vi…-

The Vatican is preparing to issue a response to an explosive dossier of allegations that Pope Francis covered up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse of priests and seminarians.

A statement released by the Pope’s council of nine cardinals said it was “aware that in the current debate” of recent weeks the Holy See is about to issue “necessary clarifications”.

The council also expressed their “full solidarity” with the Pope after Archbishop Carlo Mario Viganò released an 11-page dossier calling on Francis to resign and accusing him of being informed about McCarrick’s behaviour. The former papal ambassador to Washington claimed he was told Francis knew about sanctions placed on McCarrick by Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010.

But the document – an unprecedented attack on the papacy from inside the Vatican – was coloured by claims about “homosexual networks” inside the Church and included a slew of accusations against Francis’ allies. Furthermore, the restrictions placed on McCarrick were unenforced, and Archbishop Viganò has admitted they were “private”.

When asked about the allegations, Francis said he would not say a “single word” about them, but that did not rule out an institutional response from the Holy See. Archbishop Viganò writes that the Vatican was aware of McCarrick allegations in 2000, but despite that was named Archbishop of Washington and made a cardinal in 2001. He continued to be an influential power-broker in the Church after his retirement in 2006.

The statement from the C9 today also said it had asked the Pope to reflect on the “work, structure and composition” of the council given the “advanced age” of some of its members.

Five of the council include cardinals who have reached or passed the retirement age of 75: Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, 84, Laurent Monsengwo, 78, George Pell, 77, Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, 75, Giuseppe Bertello, 75.

After allegations that Archbishop McCarrick was accused of abusing a minor emerged this summer, Francis authorised McCarrick's removal from ministry and the removal of his red hat.

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