Monday, February 11, 2019, #2
McCarrick and After
Insistent rumors have been circulating today that a judgment regarding the sexual abuse allegations against former Cardinal Theodore “Ted” McCarrick, 88, will be announced by Rome tomorrow.
The rumor is that he will be found guilty of having sexually abused minors, and laicized.
Whether or not this is the case, it is common knowledge that the Vatican would like to bring some closure on the McCarrick case — which was at the center of the August 22, 2018 “bombshell” Testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano of a widespread “coverup by the hierarchy of McCarrick’s alleged decades of abusive activity toward or molestation of seminarians — prior to the long-awaited “sexual abuse summit” in Rome from February 21 to 24, summoned by Pope Francis in the fall after the Vigano “bomb” detonated.
So some decision from Rome prior to February 20, that is, in the next eight days, has for some time been widely anticipated.
So it may be true that some decision is about to be announced.
I see two areas of questioning in this matter.
First, the trial of McCarrick himself, and any judgement on the accusations against him.
Second, the circumstances surrounding McCarrick’s career, and his rise in the hierarchy, in the light of allegations that there was some sort of “coverup” in his case orchestrated by specific people in the hierarchy above him.
Regarding the first area:
Has McCarrick, who has been living for months in Oklahoma, received a fair trial? How did this trial unfold? Did he himself offer any self-defense? Did he testify under oath regarding the charges against him? Did he enter any sort of plea? If so, when did this occur, and in what form? Is there any record of this testimony, and if so, will any of his testimony be made public?
Regarding the second area:
This concerns the matter of an alleged hierarchical coverup.
For the McCarrick affair is not just about McCarrick.
It is about how McCarrick was for decades judged and “vetted” by his superiors, how he was, step-by-step, promoted from a rather unimportant bishopric (Metuchen, New Jersey) to arguably the single most important post in the Church in the United States (archbishop of the capital, Washington D.C.).
And, in this regard, it is not unimportant to ask what type of relationship McCarrick may have had with elements of the United States government, as a bridge between that government and the hierarchy of the Church.
Who evaluated McCarrick and his character, his work, his possible weaknesses? Who assessed these reports? To what extent will this aspect of the case be addressed? Was any part of this aspect of the “McCarrick affair” investigated in relation to his trial? Were any witnesses questioned in addition to his accusers? If so, is any of this testimony to be made public?
If the Vatican does not address this second aspect of the McCarrick case in a detailed, comprehensive way — despite the fact that Vigano, and others, have alleged that the Church hierarchy in some way facilitated McCarrick’s rise — then the announcement of a judicial decision in the McCarrick case, limited to the vindication or the condemnation and consequent laicization of the man, would be insufficient.
It would leave one-half of the McCarrick case unaddressed, one half of the questions in the case — and the most important half — unanswered.
It would not bring closure on this matter, nor would it dispense true justice.
An invitation to walk down the Appian Way outside of Rome, where Peter met Christ and said to him, “Quo vadis, Domine?”…
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