McCarrick Report: NJ bishops gave Vatican ‘inaccurate’ information before McCarrick’s Washington appointment
Vatican City, Nov 10, 2020 / 06:01 am (CNA).- The Vatican’s Secretariat of State published Tuesday a report on Theodore McCarrick, saying that the Holy See had received inaccurate information about McCarrick from three New Jersey bishops before McCarrick’s 2001 appointment as archbishop of Washington.
According to the report, four New Jersey bishops had been asked in 2000 to respond to a written inquiry into allegations about McCarrick, who was then the Archbishop of Newark.
Allegations about McCarrick had been sent to nuncio Montalvo in a letter on Oct. 28, 1999 by Cardinal John O’Connor, then the archbishop of New York, and subsequently shared with John Paul II, the report states.
At the request of John Paul II, separate but "substantively identical letters" were sent to Bishops Vincent Breen and Edward Hughes of Metuchen, and John Smith of Trenton on May 12, 2000, asking for the truth about McCarrick.
The bishops responded in writing, the report states. The report includes in full then-U.S. nuncio Arcbishop Gabriel Montalvo’s letter and the letters of the three New Jersey bishops.
Montalvo received information from the bishops confirming allegations that McCarrick had shared a bed with seminarians at a New Jersey beach house, but there was no “certainty” he had engaged in sexual misconduct.
Because of the report’s investigation, it is now known that “three of the four American bishops provided inaccurate and incomplete information to the Holy See regarding McCarrick’s sexual conduct with young adults,” the report states.
Then-U.S. nuncio Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo received information from the bishops confirming allegations that McCarrick had shared a bed with seminarians at a New Jersey beach house, but there was no “certainty” he had engaged in sexual misconduct.
Because of the report’s investigation, it is now known that “three of the four American bishops provided inaccurate and incomplete information to the Holy See regarding McCarrick’s sexual conduct with young adults,” it states.
This misinformation was part of what may have informed Pope John Paul II’s decision to appoint McCarrick archbishop of Washington in November 2000, the report said.
The report states that on three prior occasions transfers of McCarrick to other U.S. dioceses were stopped: to Chicago in 1997, to New York in 1999 and 2000, and to Washington in July 2000.
The report says that Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who called for Pope Francis to resign over his handling of McCarrick in 2018, failed in 2012 to follow instructions to investigate allegations against McCarrick.
According to the report, Viganò wrote to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in 2012, informing him of a lawsuit against McCarrick by a cleric identified in the report as "Priest 3." The report said that Ouellet instructed Viganò, who was then nuncio the U.S., to investigate whether the claim was credible but “did not take these steps.”
The report also touched on McCarrick's fundraising and habit of giving cash gifts to Church officials, which it said took place "over at least four decades."
It said: "Overall, the record appears to show that although McCarrick’s fundraising skills were weighed heavily, they were not determinative with respect to major decisions made relating to McCarrick, including his appointment to Washington in 2000. In addition, the examination did not reveal evidence that McCarrick’s customary gift-giving and donations impacted significant decisions made by the Holy See regarding McCarrick during any period."
The report portrays McCarrick as a cunning personality, adept at establishing contacts with influential political and religious leaders. It confirmed that he cultivated relations with teenage boys and young men, referring to them as his "nephews" and asking them to call him "Uncle." Some of the "nephews" would share a bed with McCarrick during trips and attend dinners at the bishop's residence in Metuchen, New Jersey, and later at his beach houses in New Jersey.
McCarrick was ordained a priest in 1958 and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York in 1997. He became in 1981 Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, then Archbishop of Newark in 1986, and then in 2001 Archbishop of Washington, DC, where he retired in 2006.
He became a cardinal in 2001, but resigned from the College of Cardinals after it emerged in June 2018 that he had been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a minor. Allegations of serial sexual abuse of minors, seminarians, and priests soon followed, and McCarrick was laicized in February 2019.
Pope Francis first announced an internal Vatican investigation into the career of McCarrick in October 2018.
This story is developing and will be updated.