VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will make the final decision on when to publish a highly-anticipated report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Thursday.
“I think that [the report] will come out soon, I cannot tell you exactly when,” Cardinal Parolin told a small group of journalists Feb. 6.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on holiness, the cardinal said “we are trying to speed up the time to arrive” at the publication of the report on the Vatican's internal investigation into the disgraced former cardinal.
Cardinal Parolin did confirm that he expects the document to be released “in the near future.”
“However, the publication depends on the pope. The work that is done is done, but the pope must give the final word,” he added.
The Vatican announced that it would conduct an internal review of files on McCarrick’s career in October 2018. McCarrick was a cardinal and the archbishop of two major American sees before he was found guilty of serial sexual abuse and laicized in 2019, following a canonical process.
Since the review was announced, American Catholics - including many bishops - have repeatedly called for the release of its findings.
Over the past several months, the bishops of the United States have been meeting with Pope Francis for their ad limina visits, travelling to Rome in regional groups. While there, several bishops have raised the issue of the McCarrick report.
When the topic was came up during the USCCB meeting in Baltimore in November last year, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, recently returned from Rome, updated the U.S. bishops on the report’s progress, saying that the final draft was being translated into Italian for presentation to Pope Francis and was expected to be released at the beginning of 2020, if not sooner.
In the 87 days since Cardinal O’Malley gave that update, other bishops have said they also raised the issue while in Rome.
In December, Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing told EWTN News that he asked about the status of the McCarrick investigation and was “very glad to hear that a report is coming.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler also told reporters that he'd asked about the timing of the report’s release in a meeting with Pope Francis during his own ad limina visit in January.
McCarrick was laicized in February 2019, after he was found by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”
Pope Francis announced an internal Vatican investigation into the career of McCarrick in October 2018.