December 28, 2018
By Julie Zauzmer and Chico Harlan
The Vatican has begun its long-promised investigation into the crimes allegedly committed by disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, with the intent of determining a punishment for the former high-ranking church leader.
McCarrick, who retired as archbishop of Washington in 2006 but remained a globe-trotting diplomat representing the Catholic Church and occasionally the U.S. State Department, was removed from ministry when the church determined in June that he had groped a teenager at a New York church almost 50 years ago.
Then more allegations came to light: The church had twice settled hushed cases brought by men who said McCarrick harassed them when they were seminarians or young priests. A Virginia man, James Grein, said McCarrick abused him for years, starting when he was 11.
In July, McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals, retaining the lower title archbishop, and the Vatican promised that he would stand trial in its internal court system. Then, for months, silence.
On Thursday, Grein said that the Vatican’s judicial process is now underway. He testified before an investigator representing the church, in an office of the Archdiocese of New York, on Thursday morning.
“I had one of the best days of my entire life today. I changed how people are going to think about the Catholic church today,” Grein said to The Washington Post afterward. He expressed confidence that the priest who interviewed him, the Rev. Richard L. Welch, will share the transcript of his testimony about being abused by McCarrick with church leaders at the highest levels, all the way up to Pope Francis. “Francis knows who I am — he can see me and hear me and listen to my voice and hear my emotions. … It’s about time.”
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