U.S. Catholic leaders react to the McCarrick report

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is seen at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome Jan. 31, 2020. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Top U.S. Roman Catholic leaders are reacting to the Vatican's investigation of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the findings mark “another tragic chapter in the church's long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy.”

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also said in a Nov. 10 statement as the report was being released at the Vatican that the findings were being reviewed by U.S. church leaders, and he expressed gratitude for Pope Francis' effort to address clergy sexual abuse.

"We are studying these findings," he said, "and we are grateful to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for his pastoral concern for the family of God in the United States and his leadership in calling the church to greater accountability and transparency in addressing issue of abuse and the handling of abuse claims at every level."

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Archbishop José H. Gomez said the findings mark “another tragic chapter in the church's long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy.”

The report summarizes the actions of church officials, including earlier popes, that led McCarrick to rise through the church hierarchical structure to become a cardinal despite years of rumors of sexual impropriety.

McCarrick used personal contacts, protestations of his innocence and a lack of church officials reporting and investigating accusations against him to advance in the hierarchy, according to the Vatican summary of its report on the matter.

The archbishop of Newark, N.J, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, said it “represents a significant and powerful step forward in advancing accountability and transparency regarding sexual abuse.”

Cardinal Tobin said “failures by some leaders in the Catholic Church have wounded many,” but “the Church has made progress in responding to clergy abuse by implementing and updating policies and programs to safeguard the faithful, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

Cardinal Joseph Tobin said the report “represents a significant and powerful step forward in advancing accountability and transparency regarding sexual abuse.”

Cardinal-designate Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington D.C., said his “heart hurts for all who will be shocked, saddened, scandalized and angered by the revelations" in the report.

Archbishop Gregory said the disclosure is necessary if there is to be “true redemptive healing.”

“This is an important, difficult and necessary document,” Archbishop Gregory said, "and it demands prayerful, thorough and thoughtful reflection.”

In his statement, Archbishop Gomez also offered "profound sorrow and deepest apologies" to "McCarrick's victims and their families and to every victim-survivor of sexual abuse by the clergy."

Cardinal-designate Wilton Gregory said his “heart hurts for all who will be shocked, saddened, scandalized and angered by the revelations” in the report.

He also urged all people who may have been abused by a priest, bishop or someone in the church to report their allegation to law enforcement and to church authorities.

"This report underscores the need for us to repent and grow in our commitment to serve the people of God," Archbishop Gomez said. "Let us all continue to pray and strive for the conversion of our hearts, and that we might follow Jesus Christ with integrity and humility."

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

More Stories from America:
– Vatican report tracks McCarrick’s rise despite allegations of abuse and misconduct
– A 3-minute summaryof what the McCarrick Report reveals
– Explainer: What the church has done to fight clergy sex abuse since 2018’s ‘summer of shame’

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.]

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