Vatican boss mixed sexual misdeeds with church cash. How Cardinal
McCarrick became a powerful fundraiser for the Vatican
Boorstein, The Washington Post
Washington Post Photo By Jonathan Newton
Theodore McCarrick waves to fellow bishops at the Cathedral of
St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington in September 2015,
during Pope Francis's visit.
- When Theodore McCarrick arrived in Washingon in 2001 to be the
region's Catholic archbishop, it was clear right away that he was
something very rare: a celebrity priest.
vivacious cleric reportedly had spent time with famous Americans such as
Bing Crosby and the Hearst family. He was a prolific fundraiser for
big-name Catholic groups from right to left, and valued for his
connection to Pope John Paul II, who dispatched McCarrick to hot spots
worldwide as his diplomat. President George W. Bush, also new in town
that January, marked his first private dinner in Washington by going to
the home of the new archbishop.
gilded résumé stood in striking contrast to his public demeanor, that of
a self-effacing do-gooder who, in a city full of egos and polish, wore
rumpled clothes and exhibited a voracious drive to help others.
wish I were a holier man, more prayerful, more trusting in God, wiser
and courageous," he said at his first D.C. news conference. "But here I
am with all my faults and all my needs, and we will work together."
"faults and needs" are being considered in a new light after he became
the first cardinal in U.S. history to resign from the post.
resignation, accepted by Pope Francis, followed explosive allegations
that the cleric sexually abused adolescents and sexually harassed
seminarians and young priests under his authority.
accusations have shocked and devastated McCarrick's many fans, leaving
some to conclude that their hero apparently lived a double life. But to
others who worked closely with him over the decades, the cardinal was
always a more complex figure than his saintly public reputation
conveyed. He was a man of enormous personal ambition, a skillful
politician and, at times, shrewdly calculating, according to interviews
with Catholic officials and others who knew and worked with him.
stated his innocence after the first allegation that he abused a
16-year-old, which led to his suspension from ministry. He has since
been in seclusion and has not responded to requests for comment.
McCarrick's civil attorney, Barry Coburn, has declined to comment. His
canonical attorney, Michael Ritty, declined to comment after the initial
allegation and has not responded to repeated additional requests for
comment. The Vatican has opened a case on McCarrick that could result in
a church trial. Possible outcomes include defrocking and exoneration.
1988, McCarrick co-founded the Papal Foundation, a nonprofit
organization that raises millions for the Vatican. He sometimes rushed
to the side of the country's wealthiest Catholics in their times of
personal crisis, following up to raise money later, according to two
people who witnessed such interactions.
Papal Foundation was a huge point of leverage for him in terms of going
to Rome," said Steve Schneck, the longtime head of the Institute for
Policy Research and Catholic Studies at Catholic University. Schneck
worked often with McCarrick. "There is not a Catholic organization in
the United States he hasn't raised money for."
admired McCarrick, but others used less favorable terms to describe him.
was a climber," said someone who worked closely with McCarrick in the
past. Like several others in this report, the person spoke on the
condition of anonymity so as not to violate the church's protocol that
only official spokespeople discuss McCarrick.
popularity and his enormous stature as an emissary for the church and as
a prolific fundraiser for Catholic causes may have helped protect him
over the years as other, whispered words were added to his reputation:
harasser, groper, violator of his vows of celibacy.
allegations that McCarrick abused adolescents surfaced only last month,
when the Vatican suspended the 88-year-old, there had for decades been
rumors in church and journalistic circles about his behavior with
seminarians. These ranged from talk of an unwanted hand on a knee to
chatter on conservative Catholic blogs citing anonymous descriptions of
day he was suspended, two New Jersey dioceses made public that they had
fielded three complaints from budding priests against McCarrick and had
settled two of the cases. Last week, Albany priest Desmond Rossi became
the first cleric to go on record as saying McCarrick's casual touches
during seminary in the 1980s made him uncomfortable. Rossi told the
Jesuit magazine America that he thinks McCarrick's behavior at the time
fueled promiscuity among seminarians, which he said forced him to
transfer to another seminary outside of McCarrick's jurisdiction.
who had heard the rumors and allegations surrounding McCarrick said they
did not speak out because he was so greatly admired for his role in the
church. But there are other possible reasons McCarrick's alleged actions
are coming to light only now.
at the time dismissed as unreliable the attacks on McCarrick, who was
often seen as left-leaning, because they came largely from conservative
bloggers. That same impulse appears to now be leading some conservatives
eager to find fault with the Pope Francis era to highlight the McCarrick
case. Conservative blogs have been filled in recent days with rumors
that Francis's U.S. allies - cardinals including Joe Tobin of Newark and
Blase Cupich in Chicago - are close to McCarrick, an effort to tarnish
Francis by association. One inaccurately said McCarrick and Tobin worked
is also a long-standing deference within the Catholic Church to
upholding institutional hierarchy and protocol, even in an extreme case
like this. Priests, cardinals and bishops have said they told the
Vatican years ago about McCarrick - either about the rumors, or about
the two legal settlements New Jersey dioceses reached with him in the
early 2000s - and there's no evidence anything was ever done. Victims
never heard from Rome, and McCarrick was functioning as a priest until a
few weeks ago, speaking to Catholic audiences and performing weddings
from The Washington Post for comment from Rome haven't been returned for
don't go ahead unless your editor says okay, right?" said the person who
worked with McCarrick. "We sent a letter to the Vatican and I was
waiting for instructions. There is a hierarchy here you're dealing
career stood out from the start.
ambitious Catholic clerics spend time in seminary and graduate school in
Rome, making connections around the Vatican.
McCarrick spent much of his early career in the New York City area,
where he'd grown up. He graduated from Fordham University, attended
seminary in Yonkers, New York, and was ordained a priest in New York
City, cementing connections that helped speed his rise later on.
first assignment was as dean of students and fundraising at Catholic
University in Washington, the bishops' own university.
was then named president of a Catholic university in Puerto Rico at age
35 and then secretary, in the mid-1970s, to the cardinal of New York
there, McCarrick began an unbroken stream of promotions, garnering some
of the nation's highest civic and religious honors. He was taken as a
young priest under the wing of two powerful New York City cleric-bosses
- Cardinal Francis Spellman, and Cardinal James Cooke, whom McCarrick
served through the 1970s.
had what we call the 'godfathers,' of the church," said the person who
worked for years with McCarrick.
that time, McCarrick was becoming a jet-setting fundraiser, said James,
60, who lives in Loudoun County, Virginia, and earlier this month
accused McCarrick of sexually abusing him from age 11 or so until he was
in his early 30s. He lived in New Jersey when the abuse began, he says.
who spoke on the condition that his last name not be used, filed a
police report on July 17 with the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, a
copy of which The Post has seen.
extended family was close to McCarrick, who had baptized him as a baby,
he said. Through his later teens and 20s, James said he attended many
fundraising dinners with McCarrick, as well as meetings with potential
donors in various places, including Northern California, Chicago and
Boston. In 1974, when James was a teenager, he said McCarrick took
several trips to California to console the Catholic millionaire
publishing family of Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by leftist
radicals. James's family had moved by then to the West Coast. James's
sister told The Post that she recalled the visits as well. Requests for
comment to Patricia Hearst and one of her siblings were not answered.
McCarrick made use of the relationship to raise money from the family,
also said McCarrick visited and solicited donations from Bing Crosby,
who, like the Hearsts, was Catholic. McCarrick delivered the homily at
Crosby's New York funeral Mass, but a spokesman for the Crosby family
said that while "Bing hardly ever turned down a request from a priest,"
he could not easily locate records of such donations.
said he then fell into a damaging pattern with McCarrick for the next
two decades, and spent time with the priest - including sexually. Often
McCarrick was traveling for pastoral and fundraising trips and he'd
bring James along, the man said.
he'd just speak at the table, he'd give a homily, the after-dinner
homily," James said. "We'd be in a private dining area, and everybody
would just open their purses and . . . write checks. All they'd say is,
'Who do I make the checks out to?' "
had a core pitch: "We have so much, they have so little. We need to
speak the word of God so they have something," James recalled.
the 1980s, McCarrick was among those who established the Papal
Foundation, meant to support the Vatican during an Italian banking
crisis. Wealthy donors pledge a minimum of $1 million; the group has an
endowment of $215 million, according to its site.
person who worked with McCarrick in the past said McCarrick worked hard
to woo Pope John Paul II, leaving his diocese to see the pope whenever
possible. He traveled to Cuba and Mexico during John Paul's visits to
the pope was, he was. He tried to be noticed," the person said. He said
McCarrick became somewhat close to John Paul's secretary, the Polish
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, which helped him get closer to the pope.
the pope came to the United States in 1995, he flew directly to Newark.
"was just a genius at schmoozing," said the Rev. Boniface Ramsey, a New
York City priest who worked at a New Jersey seminary when McCarrick was
bishop there. "I think it was all to suck up to John Paul II."
McCarrick's decades of pavement-pounding for money were part of the
reason he was considered so holy.
was raising many millions for needy causes, from persecuted religious
minorities in the Middle East to aid for immigrants to low-cost housing.
He helped groups from right to left, from the Knights of Columbus to
Catholic Relief Services. Although he also raised money for conservative
causes, he was often viewed as left-leaning, primarily because he
focused on causes such as alleviating poverty and supporting immigration
rather than efforts against abortion and in support of Catholic views on
was also unusually public in the early 2000s in speaking out for
survivors of clerical sex abuse; he was involved in the church's efforts
to write policies aimed at preventing abuse and was an early advocate
for zero-tolerance for priests who abuse.
ambition and fundraising prowess were not considered self-enriching.
Some who worked with him over the years said that when it came to
himself, the cardinal was thrifty and lived very simply. He wore an old
raincoat and his staff one year gave him a Macy's gift card so he'd get
some new clothes.
had no entourage, wasn't pompous, unlike traditional powers in the
church and public life," said a person active in church organizations
who collaborated on causes with McCarrick. The person spoke on the
condition of anonymity because he said he was concerned about being
identified as speaking favorably about McCarrick, given the allegations
that have surfaced.
2001, McCarrick was awarded the position of archbishop of Washington - a
relatively small city but because of its prominence as the U.S. capital,
a post viewed as the ticket to an automatic "red hat," or cardinal spot.
this time in the early 2000s, Pope John Paul II's health was starting to
fade, and the culture wars within the Catholic Church - intensified by
the liberalizing Second Vatican Council of the 1960s - revved up even
more as it became clear that there would soon be a new pope.
was also around this time that rumors about McCarrick and his treatment
of seminarians seem to have spread further. Many of them were on a few
conservative blogs, and contained anonymous, secondhand allegations that
McCarrick had pressured young men studying to be priests to sleep in his
bed. Some abuse watchdog sites published pieces as well.
some Catholics who had heard the unsubstantiated rumors dismissed them
as the product of church politics seeking to vilify those deemed too
liberal. That remained the case in the following decade.
whose organization honored McCarrick said they looked into the rumors.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they didn't want
their work to be associated with the case.
sounded like disgruntled conservative Catholics. I didn't give credence
to the source," the person said. "It seemed ideologically motivated."
the rumors swirled in the early 2000s in certain pockets of the budding
Catholic blogosphere, quietly the diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, and
the archdiocese of Newark were fielding three formal complaints about
McCarrick and his treatment of seminarians and a young priest. Two were
settled, the dioceses said in a statement last month, the day the
Vatican suspended McCarrick, the first time any church office said on
the record that there had been a complaint about the senior cleric.
retired as archbishop shortly after he turned 75, in 2006. It's standard
for bishops to offer their retirement to the Vatican at that age, but
it's common for them to keep working for years if both sides wish.
McCarrick was a hard-working striver whose routine didn't appear to slow
until very recently.
remained extremely active in the church, traveling on diplomatic
missions, fundraising and acting as a priest for weddings and baptisms.
person who worked with McCarrick said they suspect church leaders in
Rome had chastised McCarrick in some way, telling him to pull back from
he did whatever he damn well wanted," the person said.
days there are limits.
that he has been suspended from ministry and resigned, the
globe-trotting, vivacious McCarrick is not allowed to wear clerical garb
in public. He also may not present himself as a priest. His movements
must be approved by the Vatican's representative in Washington. However,
in the privacy of his own room, McCarrick may still say Mass for
News: Hillary Clinton ‘Covered Up’ Pedophile Ring At State Department
NBC news report claims that Hillary Clinton, while secretary of
state, shut down an investigation into an elite pedophile ring
in State Department ranks in order to avoid scandal and
protect the careers of high ranking officials and
NBC investigation was broadcast at a time when they
were a real news organization rather than a branch of the Democratic
Party’s PR department, and provided internal State Department memos to
back up claims of a massive Hillary Clinton elite pedophile
allegations concerning the State Department,” the NBC anchor
announced, before launching into the disturbing details that
mainstream media would be unable to report on in 2017.
to internal State Department memos the agency might have called off
or intervened into investigations into possibly illegal,
inappropriate behavior within it’s ranks allegedly to protect jobs
and avoid scandals.
concerns a time when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.”
is an old saying in Washington that the cover-up is worse than the
crime. But in this case both parts of it are disturbing,” Chuck
of prostitution and pedophilia, and allegations that those crimes
were somehow covered up or not looked into. So the State Department
this morning is having to respond to those claims, and those
investigations involve misconduct by State Department officials,
including an Ambassador and security agents attached to then
secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
allegations are that these investigations were whitewashed, quashed
altogether, and that those orders came from high up.”
has obtained documents relating to ongoing investigations into some
disturbing allegations involving State Department personnel and at
least one ambassador. A State Department memo says, quote, “the
Ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order
to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor
memo also says a top State Department official directed State
Department investigators to “cease the investigation” into the
ambassador’s conduct.” It’s just one of what another document
describes as “several examples of undue influence” from top State
president held a short, dramatic press conference after meeting
with human trafficking experts to announce that he will direct “the
Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and other
federal agencies” to devote more resources and personnel to the
at the press conference for less than two minutes, President Trump
said that the issue has been on the radar of federal government “for
some time” but since taking office in January the investigation
has become “much
has been much more focused over the last four weeks, I can tell you
Dmitry is a writer at Your News Wire. He covers politics,
business and entertainment. Speaking truth to power since he
learned to talk, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and
won arguments in every single one. Live without fear.