Austen Ivereigh: It's difficult for a system to defend itself against a liar like McCarrick

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Austen Ivereigh is one of the most seasoned observers of what takes place in the Vatican.

He has carefully read the McCarrick Report and considers it to be a model, saying “it sets a whole new standard in institutional transparency and accountability.”

Author of “Let Us Dream”
“It seeks not to justify anything, not to accuse, simply to explain and put into context, so that we as readers of the report, can understand why certain decisions were made.”

According to Ivereigh, the report shows that around the year 2000, suspicions against possible bishops weren't investigated fully.

John Paul II had heard rumors about Theodore McCarrick, and he asked four bishops to investigate. These bishops kept key details from him. Furthermore, McCarrick firmly told the pope those rumors weren't true.

Author of “Let Us Dream”
“It's a combination of McCarrick insisting upon his innocence and the fact that there weren't any concrete accusations. This allowed McCarrick's allies to dismiss any accusations as rumors and gossip.
What we have is a series of human decisions, understandably human. These allowed for a very competent, very charming, captivating bishop who lied. It's very difficult for a system to defend itself against a person like that.”

When Benedict heard that the cardinal might have had relations with other adult men, he asked him to retire to a private life, but he didn't open a canonical trial against McCarrick.

Author of “Let Us Dream”
“The report seeks to explain Benedict's failure to take action as well as the lack of legal action. It once again seeks to explain why there weren't any written accusations, even when McCarrick was retired. It's important to remember that in that period, we're talking about accusations of sexual acts with adults, not minors.”

The Vatican began a trial against McCarrick in 2017, when a report of possible abuse of minors arrived. A year later, he was expelled from the cardinalate and then, the priesthood.

Interestingly, the Vatican could have reacted five years earlier if then-nuncio Carlo Viganò had obeyed the Vatican's command to investigate a report of abuse.

Austen Ivereigh assures that with current norms and thanks to the reforms Pope Francis has made, it would be impossible for a case like this to happen again.

Ivereigh includes this and other matters he discussed with Pope Francis in his book, “Let Us Dream,” to be published in December.

Javier Martínez-Brocal

Translation: CT

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