Call to end papal plausible deniability

plausable deniability

Pope Francis gets a pass mark, just, for his handling of Theodore McCarrick’s recidivist sexual abuse according to Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-director of

While praising the Vatican for releasing the findings of the McCarrick report, survivors say more must be done.

“In many ways, this is an impressive report—the Vatican’s first forthright account of its own cover-up of a sexual predator,”Barrett Doyle,  said in a statement.

“Today’s presentation of Pope John Paul II’s culpability in the McCarrick cover-up is particularly important.”

However, Barrett Doyle does not let Pope Francis off.

In the statement, she wrote Pope Francis was “negligent” or even “corrupt” because he failed to investigate the rumours surrounding McCarrick.

“Plausible deniability must end for popes and bishops,” she wrote.

“They are responsible for proactively reading the abuse files, and for correcting the negligent or complicit acts of their predecessors.”

Though back in 2013 Francis was vaguely aware of rumours of sexual misconduct against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Vatican report says Francis believed his two predecessors had properly handled the matter and that there was no need to revisit the claims.

According to the report, Francis was under the impression that the allegations had been “reviewed and rejected by Pope John Paul II,” as evidenced by then-Cardinal McCarrick’s robust public schedule during the papacy of Benedict XVI.

It was Francis’ presumption that John Paul II, a man so morally strict and with such moral rectitude would never have permitted ‘a rotten candidate’ to proceed so he did not see the need to alter the approach that had been adopted in prior years, the reports says.

Fr Boniface Ramsey was the first person to blow the whistle on McCarrick who at the time was a towering figure in the American Church.

Ramsay does not go as far as Barret Doyle and says he believes he is finally seeing justice in a lengthy report detailing how his former boss was able to climb the ecclesial ladder despite rumours of sexual misconduct.

“In a mild sort of way, I feel vindicated,” Ramsey told Crux.

“McCarrick was in and out of my consciousness for more than 30 years. I was outraged by him. He wasn’t always at the top of my mind, I wasn’t always thinking about McCarrick, he wasn’t an obsession for me, but every now and then he would come up and do something that angered me,” the priest said.

However, James Grein, a Virginia man who accuses former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of sexually abusing him says the abuse he experienced for two decades beginning as a boy was “incredibly heinous” and will hurt “forever.”

“How they could ever repair my damage,” he adds, “I don’t know.”

Grein says he finds some comfort in the report but wants a public apology.

Another survivor, John Bellocchio called the report “a very emotional read.”

“It was very emotional because there were so many opportunities to stop him. So many opportunities to stop him. And maybe my life would be different, maybe I wouldn’t be a victim if someone had,” he said.

Bellocchio sued both McCarrick and the Holy See, alleging the prelate abused him in the 1990s when he was a teenager.

In interviews with The Associated Press, he and others demanded that the Vatican institute changes to ensure nothing like what was described in Tuesday’s extraordinary report can happen again.

Pope Francis, Thursday, pledged to rid the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse and offered prayers to victims of Theodore McCarrick.

“I renew my closeness to victims of any abuse and commitment of the church to eradicate this evil,” Francis said. He then paused silently for a minute in prayer.


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