CNA soon reported that the delay was caused by an intervention from Rochester's Bishop Salvatore Matano, who asked the apostolic nuncio in the U.S. to postpone the ceremony. Sources close to the Rochester diocese told CNA that among Matano's concerns was the possibility of lawsuits against Sheen, who was Rochester's bishop from 1966 to 1969.
New York is in the midst of a "window" that allows lawsuits related to sexual abuse that fall beyond the normal statute of limitations. That window closes in August.
New Jersey is also in a statute of limitations window, which began in December and ends in 2021. McCarrick served as a bishop in both New York and New Jersey, during the period in which he committed acts of sexual abuse and coercion.
In light of the Sheen beatification delay, it is reasonable to wonder whether some bishops in New York and New Jersey might borrow a page from Matano's playbook, and ask that the McCarrick report be delayed, at least until August, when the New York window closes.
Obviously, no bishop would want to make such a request publicly. But the bishops of New York and New Jersey cannot be eager to face the litigation that could follow the McCarrick report. Some of them might decide to ask the apostolic nuncio, or the Secretariat of State, to consider the potential financial implications of releasing the McCarrick report during the litigation window.
According to Boyea, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin is already apprehensive about public fallout from the McCarrick report. The cardinal might be disposed to look favorably on a request for a delay, or to tie up the report in bureaucracy until after the New York window has closed.
Of course, any such request would presume that the report will offer new and significant details about the former cardinal's career, protectors, and abusive behavior. It might not.
Veteran Vatican journalists are already predicting that long-time Vatican power broker Cardinal Angelo Sodano will not figure into the report, despite his significant influence during the John Paul II papacy. Some have also suggested that Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul II's long-time secretary, could also be mostly absent from the report.
While Pope Francis promised in 2018 to "follow the path of truth wherever it may lead" on McCarrick, there is little indication how much of that truth will be made available for public consumption. Politics, horse-trading, and the reflexive Vatican tendency not to stir up trouble will doubtlessly be factors in negotiations over the report.
American Catholics are eager for a report telling them who promoted McCarrick, and who protected him.
Whenever it is actually released, the Vatican's report may offer few satisfying insights into those questions.
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