The McCarrick Report: The Vatican Owns Up To Enabling Abuse
November 10, 2020
by Mary Pezzulo
WN: The article highlighted is powerful! It also points to exponential pain, horror, and abuse of those reporting their abuse by priests–by the wider Church which gaslighted/gaslights/revictimized/revictimizes victims beyond imagining . . . One reads and weeps all over again . . .
The writer is a committed Catholic. Read this book report about white American evangelicals in Kristin Kobes du Mez’: Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.
Please see as well Tom Reese’s: Worse than bungling, McCarrick report shows Vatican failed to take abuse seriously. In it we read:
Worst of all, the Vatican report on McCarrick, released Nov. 10, reveals that at least three bishops knew of his abuse and did nothing. This is a sign that clericalism was at work as much as incompetence.
It makes one wonder how many other accusations against bishops were treated in the same way.
The report also reveals how difficult it is to hold abusers accountable without the testimony of their victims. Victims must be honored, respected and encouraged to come forward if the church wants to root out abusers.
While it does not answer all my questions, the McCarrick report is a huge step forward in transparency. It relates in great detail, with copious quotes from letters and document, the process by which McCarrick was vetted.
While the church has made great strides in protecting children, the McCarrick scandal indicates the need to also protect seminarians.
For example, every seminarian in the church should be asked at least once a year whether he has experienced sexual abuse or harassment. This interview should be done by someone independent of the seminary and the diocese.
Please also see videos by America: The Jesuit Review and others below:
Please see further: Bishops shouldn’t investigate one another. Their U.S. conference must enact reforms. In it we read:
Pope Francis himself has identified one main culprit in the church’s sex abuse scandals as clericalism, the idea that priests are due unquestioned deference1. Yet in establishing a regime in which the church’s highest-ranking officials are charged with investigating and disciplining one another, the Vatican has reinforced the very insularity the pontiff identified as fertile ground for abuse.
Today, we finally get to see the long-awaited McCarrick Report, a massive public document released by the Vatican describing the sins of former Cardinal McCarrick and the sins of those who covered up or ignored his abuse of men and boys in minute, nauseating detail. It’s going to take a long, long time to work through this report and its ramifications. Religious and secular news outlets from all sides of the political spectrum are reacting in shock.
The information contained in the report is, at one level, shocking, but at another it’s entirely predictable. Everyone right up to the Pope was warned about Cardinal McCarrick’s misconduct. Everyone chose to believe McCarrick himself, no matter what evidence was presented. No one did anything like their due diligence to investigate. Whistle-blowers were gaslit and ignored for years and years.
The Holy Father wasn’t very holy, and he wasn’t a good father.
We’ve known for so long now that the cover-ups of child abuse in the Catholic Church go straight to the top. Anyone familiar with the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi knows that John Paul the Second was complicit in cover-ups of child abuse. Now we know that the pontiff’s near-infatuation with the infamous Father Maciel was not a one-off thing. John Paul the Second had a habit of deciding he liked horrendously abusive clerics, and pampering them, and dismissing charges against them as gossip. He was told about McCarrick’s behavior, but decided to believe McCarrick’s insistence that he’d done nothing wrong and make him a cardinal anyway.
And everyone knew about McCarrick. Everyone was told. Pope Emeritus Benedict shares the blame because he didn’t do anything about this either.
We call the Pope the “Holy Father.” He’s supposed to be our father. He’s supposed to be the father of the whole Church family, the grown-up, the one who knows what’s going on and the one who selflessly serves and protects the children. Fathers aren’t allowed to let their traumas cloud their judgement in how they deal with the children. That’s child abuse and there’s no excuse for it. Grown-ups are supposed to get over their hangups and be as rational as they can, for the family’s sake. They are morally remiss if they don’t. By all accounts, John Paul the Second wallowed in his hangups. He treated his hangups like the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Both with Maciel, then with McCarrick. Lord knows how many others there were.
The Church abused her children, then re-abused them when they tried to seek justice, then recruited all the other children to silence the abusers so she could keep doing it. That is what happened.
The Holy Father wasn’t very holy, and he wasn’t a good father.
And everyone knew about McCarrick. Everyone was told. Pope Emeritus Benedict shares the blame because he didn’t do anything about this either. It’s notable that the infamous “Deep Church” crackpot Vigano didn’t do what he was supposed to do either. Not only was John Paul the Second a bad father, the Church was simply a bad mother.
I know, I know, we’re not supposed to say that. We’re supposed to say “Holy Mother Church” and think only good thoughts about her. But the fact is: many, many people have come to Holy Mother Church to be comforted and nourished by the Bread of Life, and she abused them. She re-traumatized them when they tried to speak out. She ignored their cries. She neglected her children while she was busy prostituting herself to powerful men. This wasn’t just a case of a bad priest, one bad apple in the barrel. This is a particularly horrendous priest who made his way to the top of the barrel aided and abetted by the whole hierarchy. There are countless other terrible priests who abused the innocent, and though they may not have made it as far as McCarrick, they received similar deferential treatment. This is a systemic evil that infects the whole Church. The Church abused her children, then re-abused them when they tried to seek justice, then recruited all the other children to silence the abusers so she could keep doing it. That is what happened.
People who were victims of physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse stand up and try to talk about it, and the Catholics who have been treated sweetly by the Church silence and gaslight them. They tell them to stop slandering Holy Mother Church, and they do every abusive thing they can to make them stop. The McCarrick Report simply details an especially famous case of this happening, but it happens all the time.
I’ve been publicly criticized for saying that it was wrong to rush through John Paul the Second’s canonization, and for saying his feast day ought to be struck from the calendar. But I’m saying it again. It’s grossly wrong and a slap in the face to everyone who has been abused. John Paul the Second was not a great or a good man. Admitting this would be another step towards healing the Church, though it’s not enough. The resignation of just about everybody in the hierarchy might be a nice gesture as well, though it’s not enough. I also hope people give a bit of credit where credit’s due to Pope Francis, who seems to be the first pope to want to deal with this matter with some transparency and honest, though it certainly took him an awfully long time.
This is a systemic evil that infects the whole Church.
None of that will fix this.
I don’t know what can fix this.
But I am certain that Christ does not stand with our abusive mother Church, but with us.
Please click on: The McCarrick Report
- This is based on the irreversible “ontological change” a priest is said to go through at the time of ordination. “If only!!!” one must scream out–one that barely begins to acknowledge the collective horror of untold numbers of victims. “A special place in hell for such ‘ontologically holy’ offenders?” one asks on the contrary!–then is thankful not to be God (ever merciful). Amen.[↩]