By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Promising a thorough review of how the
Vatican handled allegations of sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore E.
McCarrick, the Vatican acknowledged that what happened may fall short of the
procedures that are in place today.
“The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination
of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken
that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues.
However, as Pope Francis has said: ‘We will follow the path of truth wherever
it may lead,'” the Vatican said in statement released Oct. 6.
Renewing its commitment to uncovering the truth, the Vatican
also said that information gathered from its investigation as well as “a
further thorough study” of its archives regarding the former cardinal will
be released “in due course.”
“Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated
and a different treatment for bishops who have committed or covered up abuse,
in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable,”
the Vatican said.
According to the statement, the pope ordered a preliminary
investigation by the Archdiocese of New York after an allegation that
Archbishop McCarrick abused a teenager 47 years ago; the allegation subsequently
was found to be credible.
Pope Francis, the Vatican said, accepted Archbishop
McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals after “grave
indications emerged during the course of the investigation.”
In the weeks after the allegations were made public, another
man came forward claiming he was abused as a child by Archbishop McCarrick and
several former seminarians have spoken out about being sexually harassed by the
cardinal at a beach house he had.
The Vatican statement comes more than a month after
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, released an
11-page “testimony” claiming that church officials, including Pope
Francis, failed to act on the accusations of abuse by Archbishop Theodore E.
In his statement Aug. 25, Archbishop Vigano said the Vatican
was informed as early as 2000 — when he was an official at the Secretariat of
State — of allegations that Archbishop McCarrick “shared his bed with seminarians.”
Archbishop Vigano said the Vatican heard the allegations from the U.S. nuncios
at the time: Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who served from 1998 to 2005, and
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who served from 2005 to 2011.
A 2006 letter obtained by Catholic News Service Sept. 7
suggested that then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the former Vatican substitute
for general affairs, acknowledged allegations made in 2000 by Father Boniface
Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville in New York City, concerning Archbishop
Archbishop Vigano had claimed that Pope Benedict XVI later
“imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on
him by Pope Francis.”
“I do not know when Pope Benedict took these measures
against McCarrick, whether in 2009 or 2010, because in the meantime I had been
transferred to the Governorate of Vatican City State, just as I do not know who
was responsible for this incredible delay,” he said.
Then-Cardinal McCarrick, he claimed, “was to leave the
seminary where he was living” which, at the time, was the Redemptoris
Mater Seminary in Hyattsville, Maryland, and was also “forbidden to celebrate
Mass in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel,
with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and
However, photos and videos during the time of the alleged
sanctions gave evidence that Archbishop McCarrick appeared in public with
Archbishop Vigano and continued to concelebrate at large public Masses and
visit the Vatican and Pope Benedict himself.
Almost a week after issuing his original accusations, Archbishop
Vigano modified his claim and said Pope Benedict made the sanctions private,
perhaps “due to the fact that he (Archbishop McCarrick) was already
retired, maybe due to the fact that he (Pope Benedict) was thinking he was
ready to obey.”
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