Pope Francis vows to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis pledged Wednesday to rid the Catholic Church of sexual abuse and offered prayers to victims of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a day after the Vatican released a detailed report into the decadeslong church cover-up of his sexual misconduct.

The Vatican report blamed a host of bishops, cardinals and popes for downplaying and dismissing mountains of evidence of McCarrick’s misconduct starting in the 1990s — but largely spared Francis. Instead, it laid the lion’s share of the blame on St. John Paul II, a former pope, for having appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington in 2000, and making him a cardinal, despite having commissioned an inquiry that found he had slept with seminarians.

Francis concluded his weekly general audience Wednesday by recalling that the report into the “painful case” of the former high-ranking American cardinal had been released the previous day.

“I renew my closeness to victims of any abuse and commitment of the church to eradicate this evil,” Francis said. He then paused silently for nearly a minute, apparently in prayer.

Francis defrocked the 90-year-old McCarrick last year after a separate Vatican investigation found he sexually abused children as well as adults. Francis authorized the more in-depth study into McCarrick’s rise through the hierarchy after revelations that it was an open secret in the U.S. and Vatican hierarchies that he behaved inappropriately with seminarians, sleeping with them in his bed on weekend getaways.

The report raised uncomfortable questions about John Paul and his trusted secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who has been subject to increasing scrutiny and criticism in his native Poland over allegations he covered up other cases of clergy sexual abuse.

Just this week, the head of Poland’s bishops conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, said he hoped an “appropriate commission of the Holy See will clarify all the doubts” about Dziwisz’s record — scrutiny Dziwisz himself said he welcomed.

In his remarks Wednesday, Francis held up for praise John Paul, who was beloved in his native Poland and by many Catholics elsewhere but has come under criticism for his failure to take action against pedophile priests. Noting that Wednesday marked Poland’s independence day, Francis quoted John Paul as telling young people what it means to be truly free.

“While we thank the Lord for the gift of national and personal freedom, what St. John Paul II taught young people comes to mind,” Francis said. He then cited the former pope as saying that being free means being “a man of upright conscience, to be responsible, to be a man ‘for others.’”

The Vatican report noted that John Paul — and presumably Dziwisz, too — often dismissed allegations of sexual impropriety involving priests because of their experience in Communist Poland, when many priests were discredited with false allegations.

The Vatican report found that John Paul initially agreed to take McCarrick off the list of candidates to be archbishop of Washington after his own ambassador to the U.S. determined that there was a reasonable doubt about McCarricks’ “moral maturity” given the allegations of sexual misconduct. The ambassador, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, concluded that it would be “imprudent” to promote him given the chance the rumors could become public.

John Paul initially agreed. But he changed his mind after McCarrick made a last-ditch, handwritten appeal in an Aug. 6, 2000, letter addressed to Dziwisz, denying he ever had “sexual relations” with anyone.

The Vatican report went into great detail, including with substantial footnotes, about what Dzwisz did with the letter next, suggesting that the Polish secretary had something to hide about his involvement.

For starters, McCarrick’s letter begins by referencing a previous letter he wrote to Dziwisz about his possible promotion, but which has disappeared from the Vatican archives.

Subsequently, the report says Dzwisz ordered that his name be removed from McCarrick’s Aug. 6 letter when it went into the archives. Both points suggest Dziwisz wanted to remove any trace of his involvement in the appointment or in having possibly tipped McCarrick off to the fact that his promotion had been imperiled.

The authoritative archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor, had warned John Paul not to promote McCarrick in an Oct. 28, 1999, letter he wrote shortly before he died. He cited multiple claims that McCarrick would invite seminarians to his beach house and into his bed and enclosed four anonymous letters that had been sent to him and other U.S. churchmen in 1992-1993, alleging McCarrick sexually abused children and seminarians.

“I found out that he had written to the Holy Father,” McCarrick said of O’Connor in an interview with Vatican officials who prepared the report. “I had friends in the Curi...

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Showing 4 comments

  • Anthony Dawe
    commented 2020-11-14 20:57:27 -0600
    Where there is corruption there is Sodano’ – Monsignor Ferrari on twitter

    So , n o b o d y remembers one

    William Le Vada

    uh hu .
  • True Catholic
    commented 2020-11-14 19:09:22 -0600
    Pope Francis’s pledge is just more of the same cover up. In 2018 Pope Francis signed the paper work to laicize a priest from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for “Personal reasons”. This priest had numerous violations to the Dallas Charter and the Decree on Child Protection in dealing with a minor and was also criminally investigated concerning a second victim. These violations were reported to Auxiliary Bishop Joe Binzer in 2014 concerning a then minor child. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr was aware of the allegations. Cardinal Sean O’Malley has sent information concerning this situation, which he terms as criminal abuse, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and to the office of the Holy See. It should be no surprise that no one has responded, not even Pope Francis.
    I have this to say to the Pope, keep your prayers. The horror that is still being dealt with by the ONGOING abuse of children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church is only amplified when they read about your empty promises to rid the Church of sexual abuse and false empathy for the victims and their families. When you contact the victims of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and do a full investigation and prosecute those involved, then you can say you care. Until then you are worse that the rest, because there is no doubt you know what sexual abuse does to these children and to their families and you are also ignoring reports of cover up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and are involved in quietly removing these priests from the priesthood.
  • Trish Arch
    commented 2020-11-13 21:48:06 -0600
    This is nothing more than A Publicity Stunt. Pope Frankie praises John2 in above Article.
  • Zach Hiner
    published this page in News Story of the Day 2020-11-13 08:55:23 -0600

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