The bishop said that McCarrick “gave money to clerics and organizations that were not named in the report.”
“For us to offer warrant of our commitment to conversion, that is called for by this report, by the faithful, that the system won’t permit this to happen again, and those of us operating within the system, those organizations and clerics should be named as they were named in the report about Bishop Bransfield,” Olson said.
“We have to give an accounting to the faithful of this, we have to respond to their questions, and this is one of several issues that they are asking. I hope we can discuss this during this session and beyond.”
Olson also paid special tribute to McCarrick’s victims, singling out James Grein, whose accusations in the summer of 2018 were some of the first to be reported publicly.
“It’s curious to wonder what McCarrick would be doing today had [Grein not had the courage to] come forward,” Olson observed.
Other bishops intervened to call for credit to be given to the reforms led by Pope Francis since the McCarrick allegations came to light in 2018.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark said that the bishops needed to speak more about the reforming measures taken by the Church since McCarrick’s disgrace two years ago.
“I think this is important,” Tobin said, “because they don’t seem to have widespread publicity and I think it is worthwhile because we have invested a lot in these measures.”
“I am referring of course to the international conference on clerical sex abuse with an emphasis on episcopal responsibility.”
“Pope Francis convened bishops from all over the world,” Tobin said, “but more importantly he had victims and victims’ advocates to address the assembly in the synod hall,” Tobin said, and reiterated that this conference led directly to the pope’s motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi, which came into effect in June 2019.
“We have a long way to go, but I think it would be ungrateful – probably irresponsible – not to recognize what has been done.”
(Story continues below)
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Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago said that “I think that the Holy Father has taken historic action, not only – of course – with the summit [in 2019] and legislative efforts on his part but now with the commissioning and the mandating of the release of this important document.”
“It really is unprecedented and I think we should go on record as a conference to second the fine statement of our president [Archbishop Jose Gomez] commending the Holy Father for this,” Cupich said.
“I think it really has been a watershed moment, and something we should continue to study and read,” said Cupich, “but let’s be honest about this: the report mandated by the Holy Father was historic and so were his initiatives.”
The cardinal also used his remarks at the conference to offer a criticism of other bishops, for perceived insufficient gratitude or loyalty to the pope.
“We have structures in place now to move forward and we should pay attention to that,” Cupich said, but warned that the bishops should move forward “in a way that’s in unity and respecting collegiality with [the pope].”
“We have to make sure that we never again have a situation where anyone from our conference is taking sides in this with the Holy Father, or challenging him or even being with those who are calling for his resignation.”