The long awaited report, that was authorized by Pope Francis, about the defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, treated Francis rather lightly. The report explained that Francis assumed that his predecessors had made the correct judgments about McCarrick, and that Francis had not been properly informed. The report describes how the Church did little digging into McCarrick’s rumored misconduct. Anonymous letters, unsubstantiated allegations, events seeming to have occurred long ago, bishop’s reports leaving out information, settlements of alleged sexual abuse that were kept quiet, all made it too easy to dismiss those sexual misconduct and power abuse rumors. Also Cardinal McCarrick had become a large Church fundraiser, giving money to both charities and directly to clerics, including Vatican members responsible for assessing his misconduct charges. But the report states that there is no evidence that McCarrick’s customary gift-giving influence significant decisions made about him. The report goes on to explain that it was not until 2017, that there had ever been any precise accusation regarding sexual abuse or harassment or harm done to a minor by McCarrick. As soon as the first report was received from a victim who was a minor at the time of the abuse, Pope Francis defrocked the elderly cardinal. The report talks about the whistle-blowing Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó, who two years earlier said he had informed Pope Francis of the allegations against McCarrick, and accused Pope Francis of continuing the cover-up and dramatically called for Francis to resign his office. The report
stated that Viganó the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. was asked by the Vatican in 2012 to investigate the charges against McCarrick, and did not carry out that investigation. The report is a sorrowful account that the Church is learning from. After its publication, Pope Francis said “I renew my closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and the Church’s commitment to eradicate this evil.” Cardinal Blasé Cupich the Archbishop of Chicago described the release of the report as an “unprecedented and a watershed moment as it pulls back the curtain on culture of clericalism that has separated the clergy from the people they have been ordained to serve.” He said that while it makes for painful reading, “it is fearless in admitting the failures of church leaders,” and “another example of Pope Francis’ commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency to all victim-survivors and other” who have suffered from abuse and misconduct by the clergy, including Bishops, of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Cupich said he is grateful to Pope Francis for ordering the report and to those who carried out his mandate, and reiterated his belief it should “be read in full.” Cardinal Cupich quoted the Pope’s apostolic letter that calls us to eliminate “the sin of clericalism, hear the cries of the victims and place the faithful, especially children, at the heart of everything we do and every judgment we make in working to prevent abuse and to support those affected by this tragedy.” “Let us seize this moment, build on what we have already done and go forward in fidelity to the call of Christ to protect the most vulnerable among us.”