The Vatican released today a report from the Secretariat of State on Theodore McCarrick, the sexual abuser and predator who rose the hierarchy’s ranks to became a Cardinal.
I’ve only had a chance to skim it, so this isn’t a full summary except to say that some bishops didn’t share their full knowledge, some ignored reports or actively discredited the reporter. There was an implicit bias that worked in McCarrick’s favor (forms of clericalism). There was a failure to treat the reports as potential (and now confirmed) serious crimes against people, replaced with treating this as potential public relations and public scandal problems.
I don’t want to get into who, more specifically, is to blame or not without reading the report in more detail.
As a Catholic and a former lay minister, thus a tiny part of the institutional Church, I’m sorry. The Church failed on so many levels for such a long time.
I don’t have confidence that the lessons have been learned yet. Yes, a report of a sexual crime is taken far more seriously with a more objective process. Has the Church—specifically the bishops—learned to put humility and holiness over protectionism? Some always put humility and holiness over protectionism, some have learned to, but all of them? All of them in higher positions?
In addition to my continued prayers and support for those who have suffered at the hands of the Church, I pray for the institutional leaders that they receive this report with open arms and minds, learn from it, and make the sometimes radical change to return to the first principles of their vocational call. I pray for myself, too, for the grace and wisdom to help in my future roles within the Church.