Pope orders review of McCarrick’s files

The Vatican archives containing Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s files are to be reviewed, says Pope Francis.

A statement Francis has released from the Vatican says he has decided to combine the results of an investigation into McCarrick begun last year with a new, “thorough study” of all the documentation about him contained in the Vatican archives.

The aim is to “ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”

Although Francis’s statement shows the Holy See is conscious “from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues,” he is firm about his next action.

“We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead,” he says.

It is thought some American bishops may have known of some aspects of McCarrick’s alleged misconduct since 2005, when two dioceses reached a legal settlement with some of his alleged victims. A further settlement was reached in 2007.

Questions have been raised about whether those bishops acted properly once they knew of allegations against McCarrick. Other questions seek to know if and when other American bishops found out about McCarrick’s conduct.

The Vatican statement says “abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated and a different treatment for Bishops who have committed or covered up abuse in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.”

It goes on to say Francis is renewing his “invitation to unite forces to fight against the grave scourge of abuse within and beyond the Church, and to prevent such crimes from being committed in the future to the harm of the most innocent and most vulnerable in society.”

Francis has convened a meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences from around the world for next February, while the words of his recent Letter to the People of God still resonate:

“The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God.

“This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within.”

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News category: World.

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