Analysis: Two years after McCarrick, questions are unanswered

Unanswered Questions Theodore McCarrick

Title: Analysis: Two years after McCarrick, questions are unanswered

Author: JD Flynn

Publisher: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Date: 19JUN2020


On June 20, 2018, American Catholics woke up to discover that retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick stood accused of sexually abusing a teenager.

The cardinal said he was innocent. The New York archdiocese said it was a singular allegation. Dioceses in New Jersey said they had received isolated allegations of misconduct with adults.

Then the dam broke. It emerged that McCarrick had a pattern of sexual abuse and coercion, with minors and with young priests and seminarians. American Catholics learned about the cardinal’s beach house, his wandering hands, his preference for thin non-smoking seminarians. His coercive and manipulative letters became available to read, the testimony of his victims was crushing.

But the story didn’t stop at McCarrick. It emerged that allegations had been made about the cardinal already. That a seminary professor’s warnings went unheeded. That the Holy See had historical knowledge of McCarrick’s misdeeds, and, whatever it had done, it had not informed Catholics, or removed the cardinal from public life, for years.

Eventually, of course, he was removed. And the fact that allegations against McCarrick had come to light showed that some Church leaders, at least, were working for transparency, and for justice.

But after the McCarrick allegations, more allegations of abuse of power, of negligence in office, or of a propensity for cover-up were thrust into the spotlight: Bishop Bransfield, Bishop Salazar, Bishop Malone, Archbishop Zanchetta, Archbishop Nienstedt, Bishop Hoeppner, Bishop Hart, Bishop Binzer, Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Mahony.

For more information visit:

Share this post