Pope John Paul II deceived over abuser McCarrick - Episcopate president
A report published by the Vatican shows that the now disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick managed to deceive Pope John Paul II about his behaviour, the president of the Polish Bishops' Conference (KEP), Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, has said.
McCarrick was expelled from the priesthood in 2019 after the Church found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and young seminaries over a period of decades.
The Vatican report says the American cleric received a series of promotions starting in 1977, during the time of Pope Paul VI, because at the time the Holy See had no knowledge of abuses committed by him.
But as stories began to surface about his behaviour McCarrick managed to convince the Polish-born John Paul II of his innocence, swearing that the accusations were unfounded.
According to the report, the apostolic nunciature in Washington was warned by then Archbishop of New York Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor, that McCarrick's planned nomination as archbishop of the US capital would cause a "serious scandal" due to rumours circulating at the time about McCarrick’s conduct with young men.
The Vatican considered as important a decision taken by Pope John Paul II, who requested the US nuncio to investigate the accusations. The investigation failed to produce any hard evidence against the cleric but the pope decided to withdraw McCarrick’s candidature.
The report goes on to say that a radical change occurred after August 6, 2000, when, aware of the doubts about his candidature for archbishop of Washington, McCarrick wrote a letter to Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, in which he gave his assurance of his innocence and said that he had never had sexual relations with any person.
John Paul II read the letter and was convinced that McCarrick was telling the truth and that the accusations were groundless. It was then, the report says, that the Polish pope recommended that McCarrick’s name be returned to the list of candidates for the most important diocese in the United States, for which he was later chosen.
In 2018, McCarrick resigned from the position of cardinal after the first investigations were initiated against him over allegations of sexual abuse.
His canonical trial ended with a February 2019 decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which found him guilty of acts against minors and adults. Pope Francis considered this decree final, as a result of which he expelled the former cardinal from the priesthood.