Catholic Family News

BREAKING: Vatican Releases McCarrick Report, Archbishop Viganò Reacts

Today, the Vatican finally released the long-awaited internal report on the Theodore McCarrick scandal. The 461-page report can be read here.

Marxists and radicals are not very original. They seem to employ the same tactics time and again. One of the tactics that we have seen in spades during Donald Trump’s first term in office is the technique of accusing the good guys of exactly what in reality the Marxists are doing. Joe Biden extracted a quid pro quo from Ukraine, for example, but accused Trump of doing so. The Democrats would not commit to a peaceful transition of power and a fair election but accused Trump of these. Likewise, the Vatican report tries to shift blame to almost everyone except Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis), who is the person who lifted the meager sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI and returned McCarrick to public life. Even more shockingly, the report tries to blame the one honest whistleblower, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the one man whose public testimony forced the McCarrick scandal into the light. Such is the upside-down world of radicals. A short article cannot discuss every aspect of the report, but we will examine its salient points.

Laughable Claim that McCarrick’s Deep Pockets Played No Role

The report notes the vast power that Theodore McCarrick held within the Church and notes his extensive international travel that was a form of “soft diplomacy” in the realms of “pastoral work and cultural, educational, scientific and inter-religious dialogue.” Unbelievably (although not surprisingly), the report disclaims any attempt to complete an accounting of McCarrick’s vast fundraising activities over four decades. Yet, notwithstanding the report claiming ignorance of the details, it nonetheless concludes: “although McCarrick’s fundraising skills were weighed heavily, they were not determinative with respect to major decisions made relating to McCarrick, including his appointment to Washington in 2000.” The report doth protest too much! Based on no evidence (since the report disclaims an accounting having been completed), it simply asserts that his vast treasure troves were highly weighted but played no role in the motive to cover up his crimes. Rather, the report claims he was elevated in his career due to “his background, skills, and achievements.”

Promoting the Abuser and Implicating JPII

The report claims that Paul VI consecrated McCarrick a bishop without any knowledge of his abusive and deviant behavior and claims that all documents in the file on his appointment recommended him. Likewise, when John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Metuchen (1981) and Archbishop of Newark (1986), it claims no “credible evidence” surfaced of deviant acts.

The report clearly states that the elevation of McCarrick to the important Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and his subsequent elevation to the College of Cardinals were direct personal decisions of John Paul II. Yet, the report makes clear that the pope made the decision while he was aware of four types of accusations against McCarrick at that time:

(1) Priest 1, formerly of the Diocese of Metuchen, claimed that he had observed McCarrick’s sexual conduct with another priest in June 1987, and that McCarrick attempted to engage in sexual activity with Priest 1 later that summer;

(2) a series of anonymous letters, sent to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Apostolic Nuncio and various cardinals in the United States in 1992 and 1993, accused McCarrick of pedophilia with his “nephews”;

(3) McCarrick was known to have shared a bed with young adult men in the Bishop’s residence in Metuchen and Newark; and

(4) McCarrick was known to have shared a bed with adult seminarians at a beach house on the New Jersey shore.

These four allegations were summarized and documented by Cardinal John O’Connor (1920-2000) of New York, which the report claims were then transmitted through the Nuncio personally to John Paul II. They were credible enough to prevent McCarrick from being transferred from Newark to two other dioceses: Chicago (in 1997) and New York (1999/2000). Initially, John Paul II decided not to appoint McCarrick to the important Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. in July 2000. Yet, John Paul II reversed his own decision and did appoint McCarrick later in 2000 to the diocese of the U.S. Capital and then made him a cardinal in 2001.

Why did the long-reigning pope reverse his decision made in light of the serious allegations of moral depravity and abuse? The report catalogues a list of excuses.

First, an investigation by the Nuncio to the U.S., who interviewed four bishops in New Jersey, concluded that McCarrick did share a bed with young men but yielded no proof of sexual interaction. The report claims some evidence was withheld by the New Jersey bishops. This first excuse is astounding. Whatever facts they withheld, the bishops confirmed that McCarrick had the practice of sleeping in the same bed as young men. That should have been the end of the story. Could there be any good reason to do such a thing? They were living in lavish accommodations in the United States and not some hut in a third-world country in which there was only one room for everyone to sleep. The report tries to lessen the culpability of John Paul II by claiming the reporting bishops omitted facts. Yet, on the basis of the fact they did admit — the sharing of a bed with young seminarians — that should have ended his promotion.

Another excuse is as ludicrous as the first. McCarrick wrote a personal letter to John Paul II in which he denied any sexual interaction with anyone, ever. The denial echoes those of Joe Biden about his family’s criminal activities. McCarrick admitted that he slept with seminarians but denied abuse and depravity. He merely claimed sleeping with seminarians in his bed was “imprudent.” How dumb does the Vatican think we are? Of course, if someone denies a crime without any explanation for his bizarre sleeping behavior, that means the allegations are false! Do most people just throw their hands up and confess guilt when accused? He admitted the one corroborating fact of the accusations: young men were in his bed. Yet JPII simply believed “Uncle Ted’s” claim that they were “just sleeping”.

The third excuse given for John Paul II’s reversal is that the Holy See had not received any “direct” accusations of abuse and so this was only “gossip”. That is because the victims and witnesses reported it locally to U.S. authorities. John Paul II did not instruct the Nuncio to interview the accusers directly. The report also claims it was reasonable to dismiss the allegations of the priest called “Priest 1” because that priest had committed abuse himself and never sent a signed statement. Would not the fact that he was a sexual deviant himself make it more credible that he would be aware of McCarrick’s depravity? Also, the report does not say the Vatican asked for a written statement and the priest refused. It merely acts as if it were reasonable to dismiss the claim because he did not send it in writing on his own. The report acts as if it were reasonable to consider the allegations unproven gossip. Yet, John Paul II did not look for direct proof and accepted McCarrick’s self-proclamations of innocence.

The last two excuses are also bizarre. First, the report says that John Paul II knew McCarrick well for decades. Yet, doesn’t that reason condemn rather than exonerate the pope? If he knew this person well, should he have not been more likely to note his deviant behavior. Finally, the report claims that the pope dismissed the allegations because in his native Poland the Communists sometimes made up calumnies about priests to discredit the Church. That may well have been true in Cold War Poland, but these allegations did not come from Soviet agents or communists. They came from Catholic priests and the Archbishop of New York. This is the most lame of the excuses to attempt a whitewash of John Paul II’s personal decision to promote McCarrick after many allegations of deviant behavior surfaced.

The real reason for the promotion is contained in the list of excuses. McCarrick was a useful courtier. He got things done in his diocese and on “sensitive” missions in his role as a soft diplomat around the world. We are supposed to believe that all this hard work that weighed so heavily on John Paul II’s decision had nothing to do with the vast sums of money McCarrick collected on his trips for himself and the Vatican! It seems clear that McCarrick bought his free pass to continue his scandalous activities.

Revising the History with Benedict

Notwithstanding the repeated testimony of Archbishop Viganò and others that Benedict XVI imposed restrictions on McCarrick, the report creates the impression that there were really no restrictions. Although it claims that Benedict reversed his earlier decision to keep McCarrick in D.C. after mandatory retirement for two years, it characterizes the other sanctions as simply an appeal to “McCarrick’s conscience” with an indication “to him that he should maintain a lower profile and minimize travel for the good of the Church.” This characterization of an indication merely to keep a low profile is in direct conflict with Archbishop Viganò’s 2018 testimony in which he characterizes Benedict’s actions as “sanctions”, including that “the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.” The report, in contrast, presents Benedict XVI as out of touch and uninformed. It also acts as if McCarrick were not even slapped on the wrist but merely told to lie low for a bit. Why is the Vatican report rewriting Benedict’s sanctions. As we shall see in the next section, it is to prepare for the claim that only Pope Francis saved us from this monster cardinal.

Framing the Whistleblower and Praising Francis

We know that McCarrick’s deviant life was kept secret and tolerated (even under Benedict’s private sanctions) until Archbishop Viganò forced Pope Francis’ hand in 2018 by issuing his bombshell testimony. Yet, the real goal of the report emerges in the part discussing Francis, namely, exonerating the current pope who dispensed with even the meager sanctions imposed by Benedict XVI. The report also attempts to implicate Archbishop Viganò in the cover-up operation, even though he is the one who brought the misconduct to light.

The report does admit that Viganò penned a 2006 memorandum which recommended a canonical investigation and trial and that McCarrick be subject to exemplary punishments. Yet, it then goes on to claim that Viganò, during his tenure as the Nuncio to the U.S. (2011-2016), was complicit in the cover-up of McCarrick’s unnatural and sinful acts.

The report alleges that McCarrick kept Viganò informed of all of McCarrick’s “travels and activities” that flaunted Benedict’s sanctions. Further, the report alleges that the Vatican, after receiving more allegations from a different priest than Priest 1 (Priest 3), instructed the Nuncio to conduct an investigation. It then claims that “Viganò did not take these steps and therefore never placed himself in the position to ascertain the credibility of Priest 3. McCarrick continued to remain active, traveling nationally and internationally.” Astoundingly, the report accuses the one whistleblower of being part of the very cover-up he exposed, by disobeying his superiors and neglecting his duty to investigate.

Finally, in its attempt to build the case that Pope Francis knew absolutely nothing about McCarrick’s deviant behavior, the report claims nobody told Francis about the past allegations until a new allegation arose through the Archdiocese of New York in 2017. The report speaks as if Francis acted swiftly to punish McCarrick once he was informed. The report claims that Francis never revoked the “indications” of Pope Benedict and never sent McCarrick as an “official” diplomat of the Vatican. This is another sly use of a phrase. We know from the report itself that McCarrick was never used as an official diplomat but as a “shadow” diplomat. We also know from McCarrick’s own bragging that Francis sent him to China as part of the effort to capitulate to the Chinese Communist Party, which materialized in the sell-out secret agreement of 2018.

The worst part of the report is that it attempts to discredit the claim of Archbishop Viganò that he directly warned Pope Francis about McCarrick. In his 2018 testimony, Viganò asserts that told Pope Francis directly on June 23, 2013: “If you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him [McCarrick]. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” Viganò’s account is incredibly detailed and explains all the surrounding circumstances of the meeting. Yet, the report uses a classic technique to discredit with partial information. It states that “no records support Viganò’s account.” There are no records because, notwithstanding Viganò’s request for a formal audience with the pope, which would have appeared on a calendar, Francis chose to meet him in “the first floor in his apartment” (Domus Sanctae Marthae) at a time that would not be documented. The report simply claims that “evidence as to what he [Viganò] said is sharply disputed.” Of course it is disputed, because it doesn’t agree with the narrative that Francis is as pure as white snow on this matter.

The press, the fifth column of the revolutionaries, quickly responded to the cue from the report that it should be used to discredit Archbishop Viganò. Thus, we have already seen from Catholic News Service a headline such as “Vatican report reveals omissions in Archbishop Viganò’s ‘testimony’” for an article that claims the report calls “into question the 2018 ‘testimony’ of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.”

Archbishop Viganò has responded to the assault on his testimony and character in a decisive statement published by CFN earlier. The Archbishop expresses his “indignation in seeing the same accusations of cover up being made against me, when in fact I repeatedly denounced the inaction of the Holy See in the face of the gravity of the accusations concerning McCarrick’s conduct.” He calls the account in the report “fraudulent” and a “suggestive reconstruction of the facts.” Rather than investigating McCarrick and his enablers, Viganò claims the report is being used to “delegitimizing the one who brought to light an unparalleled network of corruption and immorality.”

As Archbishop Viganò has told us many times before, the deep state and the deep church work hand-in-glove to achieve the goals of Marxism. This observation sheds light on what he must mean when he notes the “more than suspicious timing of the report’s publication.” The report that attacks him is released just days after His Excellency published two letters to the American people (here and here) denouncing the fraudulent attempt of the Democratic Party to steal the election from President Donald Trump and give it to Pope Francis’ and China’s ally, “Uncle Joe” Biden. The timing of the publication of a report that has been kept hidden for some time is as suspicious as the hundreds of thousands of found ballots, all of which were marked Biden.

As has become customary, the Archbishop ends his statement on a note of hope. Notwithstanding the attempts to hide the truth, the facts will come to light eventually. He proclaims:

Unlike many characters involved in this story, I do not have any reason to fear that the truth will contradict my denunciations, nor am I in any way blackmailable. Anyone who launches unfounded accusations with the sole purpose of distracting the attention of public opinion will have the bitter surprise of finding that the operation conducted against me will not have any effect, other than giving further proof of the corruption and bad faith of those who for too long have been silent, made denials, and turned their gaze elsewhere, who today must be held accountable. The Vatican fiction continues.

Let us turn to the weapon Archbishop Viganò continually urges upon us: prayer. Let us pray that the heavenly host will protect and defend the instruments God has chosen to inspire the children of light in this time of apocalyptic chaos.

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Brian McCall

With degrees from Yale University, the University of London, and the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. McCall is a member of the faculty of the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Mr. McCall became Editor-in-Chief of Catholic Family News in 2018. He is the author of numerous books and articles on law, politics, and Catholic Social Teaching and has made frequent speaking appearances at academic and Catholic conferences on these topics. He and his wife are the parents of six children.

Brian McCall

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With degrees from Yale University, the University of London, and the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. McCall is a member of the faculty of the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Mr. McCall became Editor-in-Chief of Catholic Family News in 2018. He is the author of numerous books and articles on law, politics, and Catholic Social Teaching and has made frequent speaking appearances at academic and Catholic conferences on these topics. He and his wife are the parents of six children.