/* */ Rosa Rubicondior: Catholic Abuse News - Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Court.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Catholic Abuse News - Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Court.

Former Cardinal McCarrick
Facing criminal charges for child sexual abuses in 1974
Defrocked prelate Theodore McCarrick arraigned for child sex abuse charges

Former Cardinal McCarrick, the most senior Catholic cleric in the USA and the most senior to be defrocked for child abuse to date, finally appeared in court in Dedham, Massachusetts, last Friday, charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy in 1974. McCarrick, now aged 91 is charged with repeatedly sexually abusing the child of a family friend, including during the sacrament of confession at a wedding in Wellesley College. The alleged victim also claims that McCarrick abused him on family trips and at various hotels in the state.

He pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim and away from anyone under the age of 18. He has also been accused of similar offences in New York and New Jersey, where the statutes of limitation mean he cannot face prosecution for those offences in those states. These offences were investigated by the Vatican in addition to claims that he had sexually harassed and performed homosexual acts with adult seminarians under his authority. A two-year investigation by the Vatican also revealed that Pope John-Paul II had been aware of the allegations concerning his sexual relations with seminarians and allegations of paedophile abuse, when he appointed McCarrick to the post of Archbishop of Washington and made him a cardinal.

Given that Pope John-Paul II knew of these allegations, it is almost inconceivable that his then right-hand man and enforcer, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, effectively acting Pope in John-Paul II's prolonged dotage, later to become Pope Benedict XVI, knew nothing of them. This revelation then deepens the mystery surrounding why McCarrick was allowed to continue for so long in his post before anyone moved to stop him.

Here is how I covered it at the time:
The report bends over backwards to try to leave Pope Francis looking whiter than white but still leaves a number of questions unanswered. Particularly how much he was told about McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI following his sudden abdication, and if nothing, why not? According to Archbishop Viganò, Pope Francis was fully aware not only of the allegations against McCarrick, but also that his activities had been 'restricted' by Benedict XVI, but Pope Francis removed these restrictions anyway and was thus complicit in his further predatory behaviour.

During John-Paul II's reign, his 'enforcer' was none other than Cardinal Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict XVI. It was widely reported when the sexual abuse scandals began to emerge that Ratzinger, acting on John-Paul II's orders, has instructed senior figure in the church to supress allegations of sexual abuse in order to protect the Church's reputation. It was assumed that Benedict XVI's hasty elevation of the dead John-Paul II to the sainthood, was intended to quell these rumours, on the assumption that this was not what a future saint would do. Therefore he could not have ordered Ratzinger to pervert the course of justice, deny redress and compensation to the victims of abuse, and to facilitate the paedophile activities of the Catholic priesthood by being instrumental in covering it up and keeping it from the child-protection agencies.

Pope Francis denies this (in effect, calling Viganò a liar), which begs the question, why did Benedict XVI not tell him? Or did he? By claiming he knew nothing, Pope Francis is shifting the blame onto Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The executive summary reveals a litany of bumbling incompetence, an over-eager willingness by both John-Paul II and Benedict XVI to believe people who were close to them, and a credulous receptiveness to lies and false assurances that was naive in the extreme. Neither man appeared to be capable of believing a senior Catholic cleric could behave in such a way and then lie about it when challenged. McCarrick's 'oath as a bishop' was regarded as sufficient evidence of his veracity, when he lied about his sexual predation.
The executive summary of that Vatican reports, in the embedded PDF, bears further reading, revealing as it does, scapegoating and a laisses-faire attitude to child abuse and other inappropriate behaviour by senior clerics by Pope John-Paul II and his close advisers.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis, who has shed crocodile tears over the abuse allegations and even blamed Satan, not for the abuses but for encouraging people to speak out against them, is still under a strict code of Omertà regarding the truth of Viganò's allegation that his predecessor, Benedict XVI, placed McCarrick on restricted duties but that Francis rescinded those restrictions, and Francis' claim that McCarrick was never restricted in the first place and he knew mothing of the allegations. Either Francis is lying, or Benedict XVI knew about McCarrick and did nothing he deemed worthy of informing Francis about on his sudden resignation. Either way, McCarrick's predation continued unchecked and it was only when the scandal became public that Francis decided to act, throwing his hands up in horror when the full scale of McCarrick's predatory behaviour and arrogant betrayal of his clerical vows became public knowledge.

Kim Davis, Christian extremist
Ambush meeting with Pope Francis arranged by Cardinal Viganò.
Mind you, it should be said that Viganò bears a grudge. As Papal Legate to Washington, he was in charge of Pope Francis' 2015 official visit, which had been something of a PR coup, until Viganò arrange an ambush meeting between the odious Kim Davis, and Pope Francis. Davis was a Christian extreme fundamentalist and serial adulterer, with multiple extra-marital pregnancies, then disobeying a court order to register same-sex marriage in her job as a registrar. Viganò then issued a press statement announcing triumphantly that Pope Francis had given Davis encouragement in her resistance to authority (and to the rule of law) in the name of Jesus and the sanctity of heterosexual-only marriage.

For a visiting head of state to be seen to encourage law-breaking in his host state and take sides with someone disobeying a court order, turned the triumph into a diplomatic disaster, all so Viganò could sequester the visit and turn it into a victory for right-wing Christian conservatism. He was promptly transferred back to the Vatican, and stripped of his diplomat status, and Francis was left looking like a patsy, casting round for a scapegoat and claiming he knew nothing of Davis' criminal behaviour in the name of Jesus and would not have met her if he had - although, of course, his church still agreed with her about same-sex marriage being a sin.

Maybe the truth about what Pope Francis knew of his predatory behavior will emerge during the coming court case, if McCarrick's lawyers don't manage to get it halted on the grounds that McCarrick is now too old and frail to stand trial, and anyway it was all a long time ago and McCarrick is very sorry. In which case, all the old predator will have suffered is a loss of status and his pension. None of his victims will have received justice.

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