Questions Must Be Answered About McCarrick’s Use of Church Funds
The recently released report into the crimes of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick raises new questions about the disgraced prelate’s use of discretionary charitable funds. We call on Catholic officials to detail how these funds were spent and to inform affected donors if their money was used to keep McCarrick’s accusers from going to the public.
The Archbishop’s Fund is an account maintained for charitable purposes that is to be used at the prelate’s discretion. In the case of Theodore McCarrick, he apparently used the funds at least once to contribute to a settlement with a clergyman who had accused him of sexual abuse, sending $10,000 to the Diocese of Metuchen when they were settling with “Priest 2.” Similarly, this fund is likely the source of McCarrick’s regular “gifts of money to individual Vatican officials.” Given how many Catholic officials appear to have covered up for McCarrick, we can only wonder if these cash donations were truly gifts, or if they were meant to be payments for future silence.
This situation reminds us of that of former Bishop Michael Bransfield in West Virginia, who used his own discretionary fund to give large financial gifts to powerful prelates like Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City. Clearly, there must be more oversight on how these discretionary funds are used if multiple prelates may have used them to keep allegations about clergy sexual abuse hidden.
The report mentions that there is a culture of bishops and cardinals donating money to each other. When it comes to men like McCarrick and Bransfield, it is clear why this culture should be changed. We call on the USCCB to investigate how McCarrick spent this money, demand that American prelates return these funds to the Church so they can be properly used for charity, and take steps to end this dangerous practice of exchanging money that can be used to buy silence or future favors.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)