1. When did Cardinal McCarrick serve in the Archdiocese of New York?
He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on May 31, 1958, and he remained a priest of the archdiocese until his appointment as the Bishop of Metuchen in 1981. While a priest of the archdiocese, his assignments included: serving as Assistant Chaplain, Dean, and Director of Development at Catholic University of America (1958-1965); President of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico (1965-1969); Associate Secretary for Education for the archdiocese and parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Manhattan (1969-1971); secretary to Cardinal Cooke (1971-1977); Auxiliary Bishop (1977-1981).
2. How did the Archdiocese of New York learn of this allegation?
The allegation came to us through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), which was established by the Archdiocese of New York two years ago as part of its ongoing effort renew its contrition to those who suffered sexual abuse as a minor by a priest or deacon of the archdiocese, and bring a sense of healing, resolution, and compensation to victim-survivors. The program is administered by Mr. Kenneth Feinberg and his associate, Ms. Camille Biros.
3. How did the Archdiocese of New York respond to the allegation?
The first step was to notify the District Attorney. Then, because this allegation involved a cardinal, the archdiocese contacted the Holy See, which has exclusive authority in the oversight of a cardinal. The Holy See delegated Cardinal Dolan, as the archbishop of the diocese where the alleged abuse occurred, to investigate the matter, following the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the policies of the Archdiocese of New York. This includes reporting the matter to law enforcement, and having the entire matter examined by outside professional investigators and the Archdiocesan Review Board, which found the allegation to be credible and substantiated.
4. Can you provide details of the allegation?
Out of respect for the privacy of the victim, we will not release specific details about the allegation. Of course, there is no prohibition or restriction on the victim, who can choose to speak about any aspect of the case, including the allegation and how the case was handled by the IRCP, the Review Board, and the archdiocese.
5. What happens now to Cardinal McCarrick?
As with all cases of substantiated abuse by a priest or deacon, the matter is now in the hands of the Holy See, which has final authority to determine what “punishment” to impose. This could range from living a life of prayer and penance, to a dismissal from the clerical state. Cardinal McCarrick has already been directed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, that he is no longer to publicly exercise his priestly ministry.
6. Where is Cardinal McCarrick now?
Cardinal McCarrick is the retired Archbishop of Washington, DC, and continues to reside with them. He is 87 years old and in frail health.
7. Isn’t this all just another black eye for the Catholic Church?
This news will certainly be shocking and painful, especially to Catholics, and will cause many to wonder if this tragedy of abuse will ever end. At the same time, however, it should be noted that, fortunately, the policies and procedures put into place by the Church are working. Although this case involves activity from nearly a half-century ago, the allegation was taken seriously, the matter was thoroughly and carefully investigated, and the decision is being publicly announced. No one, not even a cardinal, is above the law or our strict policies. The Church can never be complacent, and must always do all that it can to prevent abuse, and respond with compassion, sensitivity, and respect to victim-survivors who come forward. In this, it can be a model for others who are looking to respond to this sin and crime that affects all segments of society.