Pope Francis on Wednesday expressed his solidarity with the victims of sexual abuse by religious men and reiterated the Church’s commitment to eradicate pedophilia after the report on Tuesday about the ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was released.
“Yesterday, the report on the painful case of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published,” the Pope said at the end of Wednesday’s audience, which was streamed from the library of the Apostolic Palace. “I renew my closeness to the victims of each abuse and the Church’s commitment to eradicate this evil,” he added.
The Vatican published on Tuesday a 450-page report, prepared at the request of Pope Francis, on the case of the ex-cardinal and archbishop of Washington, stripped of his title in 2018 at the age of 87, and in 2019 of his status as a priest. , after accusations of sexual abuse against minors.
In the document, the Vatican denies the existence of a conspiracy of silence to protect the influential American cardinal, but recognizes a series of internal errors and omissions that favored the successful ecclesiastical career of the American. McCarrick, who played a crucial role for decades in raising funds for the Holy See from wealthy American donors, was called “Uncle Ted”.
This is the broadest public investigation the church has carried out in recent decades on a religious authority. “The McCarrick Report, a painful page from which the Church learns,” said Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican’s Ministry for Communication.
“The document also represents an act of solicitude and pastoral care by Pope Francis towards the American Catholic community, hurt and disconcerted by the fact that McCarrick was able to occupy such high positions in the hierarchy,” wrote Tornielli on the Vatican website.
The investigation, which began in mid-2018, lasted two years and examines the power of the influential archbishop of Washington, now 90, who for decades was a friend and confidant of presidents, prime ministers and professional athletes, in addition to being a well-known diplomat in favor of peace. Despite allegations of pedophilia and internal complaints received since the 1990s, McCarrick has become one of the most popular and well-known leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States.