“I present facts from correspondence that I hold relevant to questions still surrounding McCarrick.”
“These facts show clearly that high-ranking prelates likely had knowledge of McCarrick’s actions and of restrictions imposed upon him during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. They also clearly show that these restrictions were not enforced even before the pontificate of Francis,” Figueiredo’s report claims.
“It is not my place to judge to what extent the fault lies with the failure to impose canonical penalties, instead of mere restrictions, at the start, or with other Church leaders who later failed to expose McCarrick’s behavior and the impropriety of his continued public activity, and indeed may have encouraged it,” the priest writes.
In one apparent excerpt, from a September 2008 letter from McCarrick to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, McCarrick wrote that “in one particular [case] I had been at fault in an unfortunate lack of judgment.”
“I have always considered my priests and seminarians as part of my family, and just as I have shared a bed with my cousins and uncles and other relatives without thinking of it being wrong, I had done this on occasion when the Diocesan Summer House was overcrowded. In no case were there minors involved, but men in their twenties and thirties.”
However, “I have never had sexual relations with anyone, man, woman or child, nor have I ever sought such acts,” McCarrick reportedly wrote to Bertone.
The quotes excerpted by the monsignor, who was formerly attached to the Pontifical North American College in Rome as a spiritual director, appear to confirm claims by former apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, that in 2008 McCarrick was ordered to leave the archdiocesan seminary where he had been living.
Sources present at a 2008 meeting between then-nuncio Archbishop Sambi and McCarrick told CNA in August 2018 the former cardinal had been ordered out of that seminary.
According to Figueiredo, McCarrick wrote in a letter to Sambi after that meeting that “having studied the letter of Cardinal Re and having shared it with my Archbishop, I pledge again that I shall always try to be a good servant of the Church even if I do not understand its desires in my life. Of course, I am ready to accept the Holy Father’s will in my regard."
“I could find a place to live in one of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington. The Archbishop is willing to arrange for that in any area that the Holy See would desire,” McCarrick apparently added.
“In summary, in the future I will make no commitments to accept any public appearances or talks without the express permission of the Apostolic Nuncio or the Holy See itself.”
After leaving the seminary residence in early 2009, McCarrick moved into a specially renovated suite of rooms at the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle in Woodley Park, an upscale neighborhood in central Washington D.C.
(Story cotinues below)
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In August, a priest resident in the parish in 2008-2009 told CNA that he been told McCarrick was “no longer allowed” to live in the seminary, and that Cardinal Wuerl had “ordered” the move, but he stressed that he did not have direct knowledge of those circumstances.
In August 2018, Figueiredo made public statements in support of Vigano.
“I know him personally,” Figueuiredo said at the time. “I know him as a man of great integrity, honest to the core.”
The excerpts from Figueiredo’s correspondence also appear to confirm reports that McCarrick played an ongoing, though sometimes unofficial, role in Vatican diplomatic efforts, especially in China, during the pontificates of both Benedict XVI and Francis.
However, sources at the Congregation for Bishops in Rome told CNA that Figueiredo’s excerpts offer only “partial” context for McCarrick’s apparent ability to work around the imposition of restrictions on his ministry.
“McCarrick was very good at exploiting the left and right hands not speaking,” an official at the Congregation for Bishops said.