McCarrick report due for release next week

CNA 5137cb525f6e6 18788 1 Cardinal Theodore McCarrick arrives at the Vatican on March 5, 2013. |

The Vatican's long-awaited report on the career of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick is set to be released early next week, multiple Vatican sources have told CNA.

The report, which was initially expected to be released in December 2019, comes after a Vatican review of documents and witness accounts spanning McCarrick's 40-year episcopal career, after he was accused of serial sexual crimes related to minors and seminarians in 2018.

Sources at the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops and Secretariat of State, which coordinated the review and report, independently told CNA that the report is slated for release early next week, with both identifying Nov. 10 as the expected publication date.

Reuters reported Nov. 5 that the report would be released ahead of a U.S. bishops' meeting later this month.

One official who had seen the report described it to CNA as "lengthy."

"The version I saw was more than 600 pages," the official told CNA. "I don't know if it will all go out in the end, or answer everyone's questions, but it says a lot."

McCarrick was a cardinal and the archbishop of two large American sees before he was found by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power," and laicized in February 2019.

Pope Francis first announced an internal Vatican investigation into the career of McCarrick in October 2018.

Since the review was announced, American Catholics - including many bishops - have called repeatedly for the release of its findings. The U.S. bishops are set to convene their Fall General Assembly on Nov. 16. The annual gathering, usually held in Baltimore, will take place online this year due to the coronavirus.

"I hope, but I'm not optimistic, the report will recognize that there were universal rumors about the guy for a long time," a U.S. Church official close to the investigation of McCarrick told CNA, noting that he anticipated the report would be published soon, but did not know when that would be. 

In February, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, whose department compiled the report, appeared to confirm the report had already been completed but that publication was delayed on the instructions of Pope Francis.

"The publication depends on the pope," Parolin said Feb.6. "The work that is done is done, but the pope must give the final word."

The report, which has taken more than two years to compile and release, follows an exhaustive review of documents in several curial departments, as well as in McCarrick's former dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Washington and the Archdiocese of Newark.

One source close to the Washington archdiocesan chancery told CNA that "a roomful of boxes" had been sent to Rome as part of the document review.

In addition to answering questions regarding how McCarrick rose through the ecclesiastical ranks despite apparently widespread rumors of sexual misconduct over the years, many hope the report will address McCarrick's financial dealings with the Vatican and other senior churchmen, and his reputation for gift-giving and participation in so-called "envelope culture" at the Vatican. 

After the disclosure of a string of allegations of sexual misconduct against McCarrick, dating back years, his ability to offer large financial gifts to other bishops came under scrutiny as a possible reason he was able to operate unchecked for so long.

Several sources, among them cardinals, officials of the Roman curia, and McCarrick's former staff members, have previously told CNA about McCarrick's habit of visiting Rome and distributing cash or personal checks to senior officials.

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CNA has previously reported that McCarrick funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through what was known as the Archbishop's Fund, and reportedly made gifts to senior Vatican officials, even while the fund remained under the charitable auspices of the archdiocese.

Senior sources close to the Archdiocese of Washington have confirmed that archdiocesan records handed over to Rome include the names of individuals, including senior Vatican figures, to whom McCarrick made payments from the fund.

The Washington archdiocese has repeatedly declined to answer questions from CNA on McCarrick's use of the Archbishop's Fund.

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