Pope St John Paul II was finally personally responsible for the mistaken appointment of a known abuser to the highest office in the US Catholic Church in the Jubilee year, 2000.
This is the headline revelation of a 450 page Vatican report detailing the who-did-what-and-when of the promotion of a known abusive bishop to the office of Cardinal Archbishop of Washington (2000) and then Cardinal (2001), Theodore McCarrick.
The investigation had been triggered by an accusation made against Pope Francis on the day of his farewell to Ireland on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families in August 2018 – that he had known about McCarrick and done nothing.
Following those mistakes by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and 2001, Pope Benedict XVI had been too hesitant in dealing with McCarrick, who should have been reclusive rather than still highly visible from 2006 as a retired Catholic grandee in the US.
The report found that the pope’s accuser, Archbishop Carlo Viganó, had himself been remiss in pursuing the truth about McCarrick, while Pope Francis personally had reason to believe that the McCarrick issue had been resolved when elected pope in 2013, and had not been personally briefed on the scale of the allegations made against him prior to 2018.
For an analysis of the report, click here.
For an assessment of its significance – including for victims of abuse in the church – click here.