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Gerard O’ConnellOctober 06, 2018
  Pope Francis prays at the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

The Vatican has issued a first or interim response, approved by Pope Francis, to the accusations that have been leveled against the pope and senior Vatican officials by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. The accusations involved how three pontificates dealt with the allegations of abuse against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and how he could nevertheless rise in the ranks of the hierarchy.

It revealed that “from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances” that have already been made, a final report may conclude that “choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues.” These words would seem to indicate that the Vatican recognizes that mistakes were made in the way Archbishop McCarrick’s case was handled by the Holy See.

A final report may conclude that “choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues.”

It is noteworthy, however, that the statement never mentions the name of the former nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Viganò, whose testimony has caused such division and scandal in the church and the wider world. Nor does it mention the word "sanctions" that Archbishop Viganò alleges Pope Benedict XVI imposed and Francis lifted.

The Vatican statement, issued around 3 p.m. Rome time, said that “after the publication of the accusations regarding the conduct of Archbishop Theodore Edgar McCarrick” Pope Francis, “aware of and concerned by the confusion that these accusations are causing in the conscience of the faithful, has established that the following be communicated.”

In other words, Pope Francis is concerned that Catholics in the United States are given truthful answers to the disturbing questions that have been raised by the McCarrick case. He offers this by way of a first response, clearly indicating that there will be a much fuller response in due course.

The statement said that “in September 2017, the Archdiocese of New York notified the Holy See that a man had accused former Cardinal McCarrick of having abused him in the 1970s.” It revealed that Pope Francis then “ordered a thorough preliminary investigation into this, which was carried out by the Archdiocese of New York, at the conclusion of which the relative documentation was forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Francis intervened because only a pope can intervene in the case of a cardinal.

“In the meantime,” it said, “because grave indications emerged during the course of the investigation,” Pope Francis “accepted the resignation of Archbishop McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, prohibiting him by order from exercising public ministry and obliging him to lead a life of prayer and penance.” The statement does not reveal whether Francis asked for his resignation.

Pope Francis is concerned that Catholics in the United States are given truthful answers to the disturbing questions that have been raised by the McCarrick case.

Then referring to “other accusations brought against Archbishop McCarrick,” presumably meaning the various allegations made by Archbishop Viganò, the Vatican said that Pope Francis “has decided that information gathered during the preliminary investigation be combined with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick, in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively. “

It does not say that all the documentation will be made public, but it is expected that the conclusions of this evaluation will be made public.

It offered assurance to American Catholics that as Pope Francis said in Philadelphia on Sept. 27, 2015, “We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.” It stated categorically that “both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated and a different treatment for bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.”

Francis has spoken many times against “clericalism” and made clear his determination to root it out: he sees it as among the root causes of the abuses of power, conscience and sex by clergy. It is clear that clericalism was a key element in the McCarrick case.

The statement concluded by saying “Pope Francis renews his pressing invitation to unite forces to fight against the grave scourge of abuse within and beyond the Church, and to prevent such crimes from being committed in the future to the harm of the most innocent and most vulnerable in society. “

It recalled that as part of the effort to eradicate and prevent further crimes of abuse in the church, Pope Francis “has convened a meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences from around the world for next February.”

It recalled too what the pope said in his Aug. 20 letter to the People of God: “The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within.”

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arthur mccaffrey
4 years 4 months ago

So the Pope's response "to this evil" is to say it is a task for "all of us"? ok, then, here's my 2 cents= call the cops! my translation of "penitential openness" means opening the gates of the penitentiary so the clerical offenders can be "renewed from within"!

sheila gray
4 years 4 months ago

The voices of survivors are reaching the top. Now what? First and foremost we must concentrate efforts to help survivors heal, and to encourage victims to come forward. When are we going to put the healing of survivors first? We need to create spaces of healing in our communities, if we are at all serious about moving forward in new ways. What does healing look like? Feel like? If these issues became a focus of The Church it could also heal and transform it in the process. It’s now about healing, in my humble opinion. Prevention is very, very important. But the way forward, I sincerely believe, is to focus on the victims and survivors. There are a couple generations of us still alive and kicking, and we have some answers!

Frank T
4 years 4 months ago

I am going to be so bold (or stupid) as to make the assertion that ALL clergy ought to be allowed to marry within the rites of the Church. The need for human sexuality and love is innate to almost everyone at some point in their lives and should not be tampered with.
Mandated celibacy perhaps is the real sin against humanness , and if so, the Church is largely to blame. Homophobia and misogyny are remnants of the past. Past sins, if you will.
It is time for a new approach.

Michael Barberi
4 years 4 months ago

I hope that this investigation will explain how and why Pope JP II promoted McCarrick to Cardinal when many US Bishops and Cardinals knew about his sexual abusive behavior for decades, and the Apostolic Nuncio to the US at that time also knew of McCormick's sexual abuse of seminarians by Fr. Ramsey's letter.

My only disappointment is that it appears that this Holy See investigation will not be conducted by an independent lay-lead and impartial committee. I hope that this investigation will be completely thorough and will answer all the questions and accusations that have been raised, not only about JP II but also of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

This investigation should be made public and transparent in order to give it credibility. Given the strong skepticism about how Bishops and Cardinals can investigate themselves, how can anyone know for certain if all the information/evidence were accurately reviewed and the right conclusions drawn, or whether some information/evidence was minimized or ignored?

F C
4 years 4 months ago

Michael Barberi
You argue one way in the Kavanaugh affair and in the opposite way re Carrick - despite the evidence pointing to similar issues: sexual abuse, disregard for the those abused, cover-up, partisan/tribal behaviour.

Michael Barberi
4 years 4 months ago

FC,
See my reply to J Brookbank above. It will reply to your misguided assertion.

Crystal Watson
4 years 4 months ago

The pope knew McCarrick personally long before he became pope. Once he did become pope, Francis brought McCarrick back into prominence (he had retired in 2006 and was ignored under Benedict) ... https://religionnews.com/2014/06/16/globe-trotting-cardinal-theodore-mccarrick-almost-84-working-harder-ever/ ... I find it incredible that Francis was unaware of the rumors about McCarrick from even before he was pope. Why doesn't Francis just say what he knew about McCarrick and when he knew it and what he did or did not do about it?

Michael Barberi
4 years 4 months ago

Crystal,
I agree. We need to know what each pope (Francis, Benedict XVI, JP II) knew and when they knew it. Perhaps we will find out that each pope did not make good decisions and ignored the known sexual abuse of McCarrick. If this is true, one thing it demonstrates... that priests/bishops/cardinals/popes are human and not Divine. They make mistakes, and in this case big mistakes. Let's not forget that history has taught us that popes and councils have erred (slavery, usury, freedom of religion) but such teachings that were taught as truth for centuries were eventually reformed.

With respect to this sexual abuse crisis, clericalism must be stamped out and process and procedures must be instituted to hold bishops, et al, accountable for things from sexual crimes to sexual abuse to gross negligence. I think the scope and degree of this sexual abuse scandal will hopefully have a positive outcome and we will see appropriate structural, process and judicial reforms that our Church needs.

first time
4 years 4 months ago

All make valid points on the issue of sexual abuse and total transparency. I have one question, if someone would be so kind as to address, whereas the Catholic Hierarchy should be held accountable and actions should be taken to try and prevent any of them from ever happening again, I note one comment in particular about prison sentences. I recall reading one article through all of these sexual accusations, where one case fell within the civil times limits & the abuser ended up in prison for 15 years. Look at the benefits of that; a place where one can truly reflect on the error of their ways; help others in the prison system who have other faith issues; and pray for whatever time the penal system allows. The clergy may have been laicized by this time but he can still help others, if he so desires.

Now the one problem with all of the case we've been talking about for weeks, is the CIVIL LAWS, which do not seem to be constant from state to state, the failure of the Catholic Church to report these crimes & the fear of the abused. What would you expect from the abused; for one thing they've been traumatized & both systems always seem to turn their heads. First thing that needs to be done is the transparency we talk about need to start with the Catholic Church and then all states need to establish a realistic time line for anyone to report these gross and sickening types of crimes. My thought, right or wrong, is classify them within the same category as MURDER; these type crimes wreck lives & families. Why shouldn't we treat them the same way and if someone thinks that financial settlements wipe away the hurt & guilt, I would bet you that all sex abuse persons; both the ones we've been talking about & the many others, outside of the Catholic Church, would tell you NO WAY. Now it seems that I just saw where the California Governor just refused to sign a bill addressing this exact issue.

So until both Catholic Law & Civil Law get their acts together I would venture to state that this problem will never be resolved; at least not by any human element.

Regards

Crystal Watson
4 years 4 months ago

Getting rid of the statutes of limitation on sex abuse is the last thing the church wants. The US church spends literally millions of dollars lobbying against that ... http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/catholic-church-hired-lobby-firms-block-n-y-kid-rape-laws-article-1.2655010

James Haraldson
4 years 4 months ago

And how many centuries will it be before Catholics will stop liberties with bearing false witness against the Church about what its positions were about slavery, usury, and freedom of religion?

Snap Dragon
4 years 4 months ago

Great Post of the Day!
Thanks
Source

Vincent Gaglione
4 years 4 months ago

It is obvious from the comments here that there is wide disagreement on the transparency of Pope Francis regarding the issues of McCarrick. Despite faults and mistakes regarding the Chilean situation I am of the opinion that Francis has learned the lessons of that episode.
I don’t need to know the specifics of the situation. I need to know that the matter is properly investigated and discussed and that better policies are developed in its wake.

Carol Cox
4 years 4 months ago

WHERE IS MCCARRICK? How about this? UNFORGIVABLE!
By Kelly Heyboer
kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Victims advocates are questioning why the Catholic Church has moved former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to a home for priests in Kansas located within feet of an elementary school. The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where McCarrick had been living, confirmed Friday that McCarrick was moved to St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, after Pope Francis told him to withdraw from public ministry and events.
Officials at the elementary school were stunned to learn a priest accused of sexually abusing young boys was living next door, the Kansas City Star reported.

Dr Robert Dyson
4 years 4 months ago

'Interim' response? How many responses are necessary before finally admtting or denying such plain and explicit accusations?

Yet more fudge from Rome and HH, I'm afraid.

gerald nichols
4 years 4 months ago

"a final report may conclude that “choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues.” These words would seem to indicate that the Vatican recognizes that mistakes were made in the way Archbishop McCarrick’s case was handled by the Holy See.
It recalled that as part of the effort to eradicate and prevent further crimes of abuse in the church, Pope Francis “has convened a meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences from around the world for next February.”
If I were not "former Catholic" this would problably push me right out of the RCC. More of the same old same old.

M A Langkilde
4 years 4 months ago

These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Allison Quinn
4 years 4 months ago

I’m convinced that liberal catholics will simply become like Reform Jews: totally removed from God and his Divine Law. The value their worldliness and political ideology over the Divine Lord.

M A Langkilde
4 years 4 months ago

These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Allison Quinn
4 years 4 months ago

THANK YOU, Arch. Viganò for exposing these people. Make them squirm. Catholics can only imagine what they would hide, and still are. V is for Viganò!!!

Lucie Johnson
4 years 4 months ago

A disappointing statement from the Vatican. Not much better than no statement at all...

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Henry George
4 years 4 months ago

What needs to be explained is how was it possible that McCarrick could drop by the Seminary and pick out Seminarians to go to his vacation house. Where was the Rector, where were the
Vocation and Bishops of these Seminarians ?

Why didn't anyone stand up to McCarrick ?

Does anyone know why McCarrick did not join the Jesuits, since he went to
Fordham Prep and Fordham University ?

Paul Mclaughlin
4 years 4 months ago

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