Vatican’s “McCarrick Report” dodges Church’s responsibility, says local priest

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Vatican released the long-awaited “McCarrick Report” on Tuesday, which takes a look at the history of allegations of sexual abuse by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and who in the Catholic Church knew what.

“So deeply depraved, it makes your blood curdle,” said Father Mark White, reflecting on the stories of abuse survivors.

White has been calling for this report to be released for a long time on his blog, and that advocacy led to his removal from his churches in Rocky Mount and Martinsville by Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond.

White says there is some good to come out of the report.

“The report contains all this firsthand testimony, which finally is being brought out. Painful as it is, that’s for the good.”

But he sees this as a way for the Vatican to avoid taking responsibility.

“This is basically covering themselves now, not owning it at all, not seeing the systematic problem, which is abuse of authority, which continues to this day.”

Here’s some of what the report says:

The three most recent popes knew at least rumors about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, but it puts most of the responsibility on the now-deceased John Paul II.

By 2000, someone referred to as “Priest 1” claimed McCarrick tried to engage in sexual activity with him, anonymous letters accused McCarrick of pedophilia, and McCarrick was known to share beds with young men and seminarians.

The report says Pope John Paul II knew this before making McCarrick a cardinal. The report also described McCarrick and John Paul II had known each other since the 1970s, and that McCarrick was a significant fundraiser for the Church.

The report says current Pope Francis was not given documentation about the alleged abuse. It wasn’t until 2017, when the Archdiocese of New York apparently learned about the alleged abuse of a minor in the 1970s, that Francis asked McCarrick to resign.

That’s not good enough for White. He says even if it’s true that Francis didn’t know about the allegations before, it’s his job to know.

“Who’s ultimately responsible for the Catholic Church being a healthy, open, honest organization? The Pope. And what the report shows is that clearly has not been and is not now.”

After losing his congregations due to his calls for transparency, White is holding out hope.

“I would like to get a call from Bishop Knestout apologizing for what he’s done to our two parishes and me and let me get back in the saddle and do my work here.”

He admits that’s unlikely.

WFXR reached out to the Diocese of Richmond to ask about the report and White’s future prospects, but a spokesperson did not respond to our request for comment.

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