Vatican report finds Pope John Paul II dismissed sex abuse by ex-Cardinal McCarrick – but goes easy on Pope Francis

USA Today

November 11, 2020

By John Bacon

A Vatican investigation into disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick lashed out at bishops, cardinals and a pope-turned-saint who downplayed ominous reports about the Catholic kingmaker’s sexual abuse of children and seminarians.

But the 400-page internal investigation released Tuesday by the Vatican goes easy on Pope Francis, saying the pontiff accepted his predecessors’ naive belief in McCarrick’s impassioned denials.

Francis defrocked McCarrick, 90, last year after the investigation confirmed decades of allegations that he had sexually molested children and adults. The Vatican had reports from authoritative figures dating back more than two decades yet allowed the prelate’s rise in the church to continue unchecked.

“Today’s report paints a picture of fraternal lenience and silence,” Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, told USA Today. “The impact of this brotherly support has been horrifying. Dozens of children and vulnerable young people were sexually violated by McCarrick himself, and perhaps hundreds more were sexually assaulted by abusive priests who went unchecked under McCarrick.”

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