Opinion: The disturbing truths in the new Vatican scandal report


November 11, 2020

By Paul Moses

November 11, 2020

As a Catholic, I long ago uneasily made my peace with the knowledge that too many church leaders who preached a Christian message I regard as sacred may themselves be deeply flawed, deceitful or corrupt. The release Tuesday of a Vatican report filled with the sordid details of former Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick’s rise and fall doesn’t so much tear at my faith as give hope that the Holy See is finally learning to come clean with the truth.

This is so even though the report convincingly details how then-Pope and now St. John Paul II, who died in 2005, promoted McCarrick despite being very much aware of allegations that he was a predator who had sexually manipulated and abused seminarians. McCarrick denied the allegations against him in the past, but his attorney, Barry Coburn, has declined to comment since church authorities formally found him guilty in 2019 of sexual misconduct with minors and adults, “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

The report outlines how church authorities failed to take action as allegations mounted that McCarrick, an influential voice for the church internationally and a prodigious fundraiser, manipulated seminarians and male teenagers into unwanted sexual activity while serving as a New York priest and then as the leader of two New Jersey dioceses and the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. In January of this year, according to the Catholic News Service, McCarrick, who is 90, moved from a Kansas friary to a new location that has not been made public.

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