McCarrick Report: St. John Paul II was deceived about ex-cardinal, says Polish archbishop

Gadeckiimage Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, pictured Jan. 15, 2018. | EpiskopatNews Flickr photostream.

The McCarrick Report showed that St. John Paul II was deceived about the disgraced ex-cardinal, the president of the Polish bishops' conference said Friday.

In a Nov. 13 statement, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki said: "Before McCarrick's nomination to Washington, the pope did not receive from the American bishops full and complete information about his moral behavior, and McCarrick himself lied -- in a letter of Aug. 6, 2000 -- that he had no sexual relations with anyone."

The archbishop of Poznań was referring to a section of the report, released Nov. 10, which said that John Paul II asked the apostolic nuncio to the United States in 2000 to contact four New Jersey bishops about whether McCarrick had behaved improperly with young adults. 

The bishops confirmed that the then archbishop of Newark had shared a bed with young men, "but did not indicate with certainty that McCarrick had engaged in any sexual misconduct."

The report concluded that three of the four bishops gave the Vatican "inaccurate and incomplete information."

"This inaccurate information appears likely to have impacted the conclusions of John Paul II's advisors and, consequently, of John Paul II himself," it said.

In the Aug. 6, 2000, letter cited by Gądecki, McCarrick insisted: "In the 70 years of my life, I have never had sexual relations with any person, male or female, young or old, cleric or lay, nor have I ever abused another person or treated them with disrespect."

The letter was addressed to the Polish pope's long-time aide, Bishop Stanisław Dziwisz, who went on to become archbishop of Kraków in southern Poland. 

On the eve of the publication of the McCarrick Report, a documentary program accused Dziwisz of negligence regarding clerical abuse. The 81-year-old said Nov. 9 that he was prepared to cooperate with an independent commission "that will clarify these issues."

The Vatican report said that McCarrick's letter to Dziwisz was intended to counter a letter that Cardinal John O'Connor of New York had sent to the Holy See advising against appointing McCarrick to a higher office.

The pope named McCarrick as archbishop of Washington on Nov. 21, 2000. 

John Paul II served as pope from 1978 to 2005. He was beatified on May 1, 2011, and canonized on April 27, 2014.

Gądecki commented: "The case of the former Cardinal McCarrick is also harmful to St. John Paul II, who was cynically deceived by him."

The archbishop said that the Church's response to the McCarrick Report was summed up the words of Pope Francis at Wednesday's general audience. 

"Yesterday, the report on the sad case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published. I renew my closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and the Church's commitment to eradicate this evil," the pope said Nov. 11. 

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.