DC priest describes a culture of cover-up in wake of McCarrick scandal

Religion News Service

April 22, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

Vatican City – In early February, the second-highest-ranking prelate in the Vatican told news outlets that a long-awaited report into the ascent of disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick would be published in the “near future.”

[Photo caption:] Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, left, then the archbishop of Washington, confers the chalice during the ordination of Mark White in 2003.

In 2018, Pope Francis ordered that the Vatican investigate all of the documentation it had collected over the years regarding McCarrick, including data gathered in the dioceses of New York; Metuchen and Newark, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C., where he had served.

Almost three months after the February announcement, the report has still not seen the light of day.

A previous Vatican investigation found McCarrick guilty of sexual abuse against minors and seminarians and laicized him, stripping him of his red hat and removing him from the priesthood. McCarrick, who was once the most influential figure in U.S. Catholicism, is now a recluse and has vehemently denied the accusations made against him.

Many remain eager to see the forthcoming report, especially those who knew or were influenced by McCarrick, who is accused of using his position as a cardinal and Vatican liaison to sexually abuse seminarians and even underage boys.

For the Rev. Mark White, 49, born and raised in Washington, D.C., the revelations surrounding McCarrick that emerged in late 2017 struck him “like a punch deep in the gut.”

Born to a Protestant family, White converted to Catholicism in college and immediately afterward entered the seminary to become a priest. In 2003, he was ordained to the priesthood by McCarrick – who was the archbishop of Washington from 2001-2006.

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