In the debate of the proposal, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark pointed out that the Holy See had announced Oct. 6 that an investigation was being launched into its archives on Archbishop McCarrick.
In that statement, the Vatican said Pope Francis decided to combine the information from an ongoing McCarrick investigation in New York “with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick, in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”
Pope Francis is quoted in the communique saying: “We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.”
In light of the communique from the Holy See, Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen proposed an amendment that the resolution affirmed what the Holy See said they would already do with the wording: “To support the Holy See’s communique of Oct. 6, 2018.”
The bishops have previously supported the Holy See’s investigation with an Oct. 7 statement, made by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, which said that the bishops “welcomed” the Vatican investigation into McCarrick’s files.
Boyea did not approve of wording of Checchio’s amendment, because he was concerned that the Holy See would only release their findings, and not all related documentation.
“The issue here is to release stuff, the issue here is the transparency,” he said. “We don’t just want conclusions.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco supported Boyea, saying that “the key here is documentation” and that the Holy See’s communique did not clarify what documents if any would be released.
Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon then proposed an alternative amendment that kept the original wording of the resolution, but to add “recognizing the investigation already underway by the Holy See.
“I think the issue is really the transparency that our people are demanding,” he said, in support of the wording on the release of the documents.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago said he objected to the ambiguity of the meaning of “release”, and asked whether the proposed resolution would end up being more restrictive of the investigation that what the Holy See had originally intended.
“To release all documentation that can be released with canon and civil law? What does that mean?” he said.
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“Is the Holy See’s investigation more expansive than what this statement allows for?” he added. There may be some conversations or documentation given in confidentiality that the Holy See would release, but that were restricted under canon or civil law, he noted.
Boyea responded that the resolution seemed to “rest on the word ‘encourage’...Ultimately it’s left to the decision of the Holy See,” he said.
“We’re making it clear that we want something done; they’re going to determine what it is, we’re not going to determine what it is.”
Proposing a brief amendment, Bishop Peter Christensen of Boise motioned to add the word “soon” in the resolution, “to make it a little more urgent.”
Boyea said he didn’t think the adding of the word would be “all that helpful,” but the amendment passed by a margin of five through a clicker vote.
After the amendment, Cordileone supported Cupich’s previous question, and asked for further clarification about what the resolution mean by “releasing” the documents. Boyea again responded that it would ultimately be up the Holy See.