Has Pope Francis known about the allegations against Cardinal McCarrick for years?
For immediate release, August 26, 2018
Statement by Tim Lennon, SNAP President, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org, 415-312-5820
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, claims that he spoke with Pope Francis about allegations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick engaged in sexual misconduct with priests and semanarians in 2013. The archbishop also claims that Pope Benedict had removed the cardinal from public ministry, but that Pope Francis "rehabilitated" him.
We are obviously in no position to confirm or refute Archbishop Vigano's allegations. However, it is notable that this is the first time that someone from within the Vatican hierarchy has publicly accused a pope of covering up for an abuser.
Just yesterday we issued a press statement urging the pope to stop talking and start doing on the allegations of clergy sexual abuse he called "repugnant."
If the archbishop's allegations are true, this situation provides a dramatic illustration of the gap between rhetoric and decisive action. Saying that something is scandalous is for survivors like me and groups like SNAP use our voices because that is the only power we have. Pope Francis has the power, but apparently does not have the will, to effect necessary change, whether or not he intervened on Cardinal McCarrick's behalf.
Moreover, we strongly disagree with Archbishop Vigano's attempts to falsely characterize the clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Predatory behavior within faith communities is not about sex, it is about power and control. Men, women, boys and girls are all targets of this despicable behavior. Abusers can be extremely liberal or extremely conservative, and everywhere else in between.
The archbishop's rhetoric, like the pope's, does nothing to solve the problem. Not one child in the world has been made safer by his false assessment of the problem.
SNAP urges everyone who suffered, witnessed or suspected clergy sex crimes and cover ups to come forward. Report to law enforcement, therapists and support groups like ours, not to the Church. We also urge everyone to prod your local AG to launch an investigation just like the on-going one in Pennsylvania, and also join us in demanding a federal investigation like those that have been implemented in other countries.
We urge everyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to come forward, but call independent sources of support - police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups, not church-hired individuals.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been working for thirty years to support victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)