Abuse Survivor: ‘All Catholics Will be Grieving’ When McCarrick Report is Released
The report is expect to answer questions about how McCarrick rose through the ecclesiastical ranks despite apparently widespread rumors of sexual misconduct over the years.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is set to release next week a comprehensive report of the misdeeds of disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who last year was laicized for serial sexual abuse of both minors and adults.
One clerical abuse survivor and advocate told CNA that while it will be hard to read the McCarrick Report next week, she plans to read it all.
“All Catholics will be grieving. I'm in a place of grief myself right now, just anticipating. I know it's going to be very, very hard,” Teresa Pitt Green, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by priests, told CNA.
“No matter what is in the report, I will go through a depth of grief that is as deep as anything I went through in recovery. Because that's what being triggered is, and this report will put me and a lot of survivors through hell...I guarantee that survivors are already in profound grief. We're going to have to walk through it all again, and so are all Catholics, not just survivors.”
The expected report comes after a Vatican review of documents and witness accounts spanning McCarrick’s 40-year episcopal career, after he was accused of serial sexual crimes related to minors and seminarians in 2018.
The Vatican confirmed Nov. 6 that the report would be released the following week, on Nov. 10 at 2pm Rome time.
Green works to bring healing dialogue to the Church through her organization, Spirit Fire.
She said although she fully believes the truth about McCarrick ought to come out, and that the report must be truthful, she also expects that “everyone is going to be in profound grief.”
“Spirit Fire survivors will continue to engage in healing friendships, person to person, with a core of lay ministers and clergy who integrate our survivor recovery experience into healing the whole Church,” she said.
“Maybe the report will break through the cynicism and fear and complacency that enables abuse.”
According to the Vatican, the McCarrick report’s scope will encompass the years 1930-2017— virtually McCarrick’s entire lifespan.
Green said she hopes reading the full report “and going through the hell of it” will enable her to walk with other survivors of abuse who want to read the report as well.
“I'm sure the report will break my heart and the hearts of many. It will hurt like hell because these are the ravages of sin,” Green commented.
She said she has already heard from many survivors who are concerned and worried about what the report might contain. She plans to listen to and accompany them.
“We must remember that the most vile corruption in human institutions has no bearing on God. Even if it hurts so much that you recoil from the Church, run without fear to God, because Jesus is victor,” she said.
“I live for that truth. I survived because of it and I live to bring it to others. Even with the report coming out, whether it's great or terrible, I know that God is the victor in this. It will hurt, it will be awful; I am concerned about people who are close to suicide already because of COVID. But I know that we heal because Jesus is the victor.”
Reports of McCarrick’s history of sexual abuse were made public in June 2018, when the Archdiocese of New York announced that a sexual abuse allegation against the then-retired McCarrick, received in 2017, was “credible and substantiated.”
McCarrick was a priest and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York, before he became in 1981 the Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, then Archbishop of Newark, and then Archbishop of Washington, DC, where he retired in 2006.
He became a cardinal in 2001, but resigned from the College of Cardinals after it emerged that he had been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a minor. Allegations of serial sexual abuse of minors, seminarians, and priests soon followed, and McCarrick was laicized in February 2019.
The report is expect to answer questions about how McCarrick rose through the ecclesiastical ranks despite apparently widespread rumors of sexual misconduct over the years, and could also address McCarrick’s financial dealings with the Vatican and other senior churchmen, and his reputation for gift-giving and participation in so-called “envelope culture” at the Vatican.
The report could implicate those who knew about McCarrick’s abuse before 2017. There is evidence that the Vatican received as early as 2000, when McCarrick was appointed Archbishop of Washington, a complaint of McCarrick sharing a bed with seminarians.
One official who has seen the report described it to CNA as “lengthy.”
“The version I saw was more than 600 pages,” the official told CNA. “I don’t know if it will all go out in the end, or answer everyone’s questions, but it says a lot.”
One source close to the Washington archdiocesan chancery told CNA that “a roomful of boxes” had been sent to Rome as part of the document review.
The U.S. bishops are set to convene their Fall General Assembly on Nov. 16. The annual gathering, usually held in Baltimore, will take place online this year due to the coronavirus.