Soon, supposedly, Catholic officials in Rome will release their so-called ‘investigation’ into Theodore McCarrick, a former top US prelate who’s accused of both committing and concealing child sex crimes.
Here’s a crucial question that ‘investigation’ needs to answer: Who in the church benefitted from the roughly $600,000 in gifts McCarrick gave over 17 years to fellow clerics?
And here’s why that matters: That sum of money can effectively silence many who know about or suspect crimes.
(The Washington Post reports that “Several of the more than 100 (church official) recipients were directly involved in assessing misconduct claims against McCarrick.”)
The parishioners and the public (and of course law enforcement) deserve to know who took cash and ignored or hid McCarrick’s crimes.
I predict, however, that the Vatican’s report will narrowly focus just on McCarrick himself. And that’s wrong. McCarrick’s been defrocked. He likely won’t ever be in a position to conceal child sex crimes again.
But most of those church figures who took his money are very likely still in power. And they’re compromised. And unless they’re exposed and punished, they’ll likely conceal child sex crimes again.
Under duress, some Catholic officials have been willing to throw their predecessors under the bus. That’s especially true if the wrongdoer is dead or has already been disciplined.
The true test of transparency is whether current employees, not just former employees, are revealed to have acted improperly.
Real reform is when all wrongdoers – past and present – are ‘outed.’ That’s what Vatican officials should do with the McCarrick case.
McCarrick’s secret fund took in more than $6 million. He wrote more than 200 checks to Catholic officials. We should know who those men are (especially the dozen or so US attorneys general who are investigating church abuse and cover ups).