Editorial: Addressing abuse, church must address the betrayal of community

National Catholic Reporter

July 25, 2018

By NCR Editorial Staff

It is time for an apostolic visitation to US church about clergy abuse

A particularly heart-freezing detail emerges in a 60-year-old man’s account of how he was abused as a boy by then-Fr. Theodore McCarrick.

As described in a July 19 story in The New York Times: “The connection between Father McCarrick and James’s family was deep.” James’ uncle had been McCarrick’s best friend in high school, and the young priest grew up with the family sharing meals and free time with the family. That intimacy was reinforced sacramentally. “James,” the Times records, “was baptized by Father McCarrick on June 15, 1958, two weeks after he was ordained as a priest.”

“It was explained to us how Jimmy was special to Father McCarrick, because of that very special thing that happened, that he was his first baptism,” the man’s sister told the Times. James had told Karen and his other siblings of the abuse only days before. James had kept silent for some 40 years.

To fully grasp the sense of betrayal ordinary Catholics feel toward their hierarchy, you must fully grasp the horror of this detail: James was abused by the man who baptized him. The man who stood in persona Christi at the baptismal font, at the family dining table, around the backyard family pool, abused a child of God.

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