Report reveals McCarrick lied to John Paul II to become archbishop of Washington
On three separate occasions, John Paul II decided not to name Theodore McCarrick archbishop of different dioceses (Chicago, New York and Washington) because of his bad reputation.
He knew McCarrick had shared a bed with young seminarians, but he denied having had sexual relations with anyone, and no one had accused him of abuse.
That was in the year 2000.
John Paul II ordered four bishops from the region to investigate the rumors. These bishops sent incomplete and inaccurate information that ended up benefiting McCarrick.
They probably shared this with McCarrick himself, who sent this personal letter to the pope's secretary:
“I have never had sexual relations with any person, (…), nor have I ever abused another person or treated them with disrespect.”
This was a lie. John Paul II believed him and in 2000 named McCarrick the archbishop of Washington and later, a cardinal.
In 2005, Benedict XVI found out that McCarrick had had relations with adults, and he accepted his resignation from his role as archbishop of Washington. He also asked him to withdraw into a low-profile life.
The then-cardinal did not obey.
In 2012, also of little help was the pope's nuncio, Carlo Maria Viganò. The Vatican asked him to investigate the credibility of the accusations against McCarrick, but he didn't do so.
In 2017, the Vatican received a report from a former altar server, who had denounced abuses committed in the 1970s.
Pope Francis ordered an investigation that confirmed what had happened. That's why he expelled McCarrick from the cardinalate and in February of 2019, from the priesthood.
Cardinal Parolin presented the extensive investigation, for which the Vatican interrogated 90 witnesses over the course of two years.
CARD. PIETRO PAROLIN
Vatican Secretary of State
“Reading the document will show that all procedures, including the appointment of bishops, depend on the commitment and honesty of the people concerned. These are pages that encourage us to reflect deeply and ask ourselves what more we can do in the future, learning from the painful experiences of the past.”
The Vatican highlights the changes this case has brought about.
It's difficult for the same story to repeat itself. Now a system is in place to report bishops, and the pontifical secret has been lifted when it comes to cases of abuse, so judges can have access to all relevant information.
The lesson has been learned, at least in part.