'McCarrick Report' could be 'black-eye' for Church, Cardinal Dolan says

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Credit Jeffrey Bruno CNA Cardinal Timothy Dolan. | Jeffrey Bruno/CNA

The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that a long-awaited Vatican report on the career of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick could be a "black eye" for the Church. The report is expected to be released next week.

The U.S. Church is "still waiting for the release of the so-called 'McCarrick Report' by the Holy See, detailing the damning story of former-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. That could be another black-eye for the Church," Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York wrote in a Nov. 5 post on his website.

"But, better that the story come out, in all its awful detail, to both bring some measure of peace to the victim-survivors, as well as serve as a lesson on how to prevent a similar recurrence in the future," Dolan added.

The report, which was initially expected to be released in December 2019, will come 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; both identified Nov. 10 as the expected publication date.

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.

While Dolan said the report could be a "black-eye" for the Church, one Vatican official told CNA that the version of the report he had seen was several hundred pages, and "says a lot."

McCarrick was a priest and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York, before he became in 1981 Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, then Archbishop of Newark, and then Archbishop of Washington, DC, where he retired in 2006.

He became a cardinal in 2001, but resigned from the College of Cardinals after it emerged in June 2018 that he had been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a minor. Allegations of serial sexual abuse of minors, seminarians, and priests soon followed, and McCarrick was laicized in February 2019.

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

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 Church in the U.S., and indeed around the world, has been plagued with sexual abuse, misconduct, or cover-up scandals since the allegations against McCarrick first emerged. Since that time, four U.S. bishops have resigned in scandal from their posts, and others are under Vatican investigation. Dolan himself is spearheading a Vatican investigation of allegations against Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

Attorneys general in several states have initiated statewide investigations into clerical misconduct, and litigation windows have led to litigation and diocesan bankruptcy declarations in numerous states.

In his Nov. 5 post, Dolan noted that "We can thank Pope Francis for keeping his promise to undertake and release this report."

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