WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, reaffirmed Monday the need for a “prompt and thorough examination” of questions surrounding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
The August 27 statement of the archbishop of Galveston-Houston was in response to a letter released by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò over the weekend.
The 11-page written statement by the former apostolic nuncio to the U.S. claimed that Pope Francis knew about allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and reinstated him in ministry after Pope Benedict XVI had imposed sanctions on him.
“The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past,” wrote Cardinal DiNardo.
Archbishop Viganò’s letter “brings particular focus and urgency” to the need for an “examination into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long and proven no impediment to his advancement,” he continued.
Cardinal DiNardo’s statement renews his earlier invitation to the Vatican to proceed with an apostolic visitation to the United States “to seek the truth.”
The cardinal said that he is eagerly awaiting an audience with Pope Francis to “earn his support” for the U.S. bishops’ plans to “seek out these answers, make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier, and improve procedures for resolving complaints against bishops.”
Cardinal DiNardo apologized again to victims of clergy sexual abuse. He reaffirmed the positive steps that the church in the United States has taken to implement a “zero-tolerance policy” since 2002, but continued: “In other ways, we have failed you. This is especially true for adults being sexually harassed by those in positions of power, and for any abuse or harassment perpetrated by a bishop. We will do better.”
“The more she is buffeted by storms, the more I am reminded that the Church’s firm foundation is Jesus Christ. The failures of men cannot diminish the light of the Gospel. Lord, by the help of your mercy, show us the way to salvation.”
Pope Francis, when asked Sunday whether it was true that Archbishop Viganò had informed him in 2013 about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct with priests and seminarians, and if it was true that Pope Benedict XVI had previously imposed sanctions on the former cardinal, said he would have preferred to talk about his trip to Ireland, from which he was returning.
“I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment,” the pope answered. “I will not say a single word on this.”
For additional perspective on the sexual abuse crisis, here is a video from Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:
- U.S. bishops announce new abuse-prevention measures and call for McCarrick investigation
- Pope Francis approves new constitution for Synod of Bishops
- Seattle bishops to lead prayer of repentance and healing
- Pope Francis convokes worldwide meeting of bishops on abuse crisis
- Cardinal DiNardo calls meeting with pope lengthy, fruitful