New details have emerged on the Catholic Church's attempts to sanction former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick years before he was defrocked for sexual abuse.
Monsignor Anthony J. Figueiredo, a priest who once served as a secretary for McCarrick, has shared correspondence which shows that the church applied restrictions to McCarrick. The report contains emails and letters that Figueiredo collected over several years.
They also show that McCarrick quickly ignored those restrictions, but church leaders did nothing to punish him.
In addition to posting sections of correspondence online, Figueiredo also wrote about his motivations and what he hoped sharing these documents could do. "It is my firm hope that this information will help the Church as she further endeavors to create a culture of transparency," he wrote.
I will not be holding my breath.
McCarrick was removed from his position last year for abusing children and adults throughout his career which spanned time in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington DC.
Later in 2018, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Washington Archdiocese resigned from his position of archbishop after he allegedly mishandled sexual abuse cases involving several members of the clergy. He oversaw McCarrick as these sanctions were laid down by the Vatican and was among those who did nothing to enforce them.
This past February, the Vatican ultimately announced that McCarrick had been defrocked.
The details in what Figueiredo posted online, however, show that the defrocking of McCarrick too little too late.
Several of the letters and emails posted were from 2008, when McCarrick served the church diplomatically worldwide. In the correspondence, McCarrick admits that Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re had notified him from the Vatican of restrictions placed upon him.
McCarrick admits that Re had forbidden him from making public appearances without Re's permission.
“I am ready to accept the Holy Father’s will in my regard,” McCarrick wrote in response to the restriction, which also included a restriction against traveling to Rome.
In one letter, McCarrick states that he had shared Re’s notification of restrictions with Cardinal Wuerl, which goes against Wuerl's own comments that he knew nothing of the restrictions, comments that the Archdiocese of Washington has reiterated following publication of the correspondence.
McCarrick ignored the restrictions, however, and traveled to Rome to visit Pope Benedict, and again years later to visit Pope Francis. A trip in 2012 outlined in one email included such places as Beirut, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Hong Kong.
According to Crux, the emails provided by Figueiredo were examined by a cyber-security expert, who confirmed they originated from McCarrick's personal account.
Despite Wuerl's denial of any knowledge of the sanctions against McCarrick, the church's dismal track record means that it is probably a safe bet that he did. And the Washington Post has reported that Wuerl knew about the abuse allegations against McCarrick as early as 2004.
So let that sink in. McCarrick's abuse was known by his boss at least as early as 2004, when Wuerl reported it to the Vatican.
McCarrick kept working for the church as a cardinal for another 14 years after that. And he was only defrocked in February. This case is one of countless cases which highlights just how monstrous the church's evasion is when it comes to handling clerical abuse.
They would rather protect their priests and the church itself than protect the victims, most of which have been children.