The last time we heard about disgraced former Catholic Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, he was living in near-isolation, holed up in a Kansas church… near an elementary school. Yet he still maintained that he never molested any children.
Somehow, his story just keeps getting worse.
The Washington Post now says McCarrick gave over $600,000 — that would be tithe money and donations right there — to Catholic leaders including those who were tasked with evaluating his guilt on sexual harassment charges.
Several of the more than 100 recipients were directly involved in assessing misconduct claims against McCarrick, documents and interviews show. It was not until 2018 that McCarrick was removed from public ministry amid allegations of misconduct decades earlier with a 16-year-old altar boy, and this year he became the first cardinal known to be defrocked for sexual abuse.
McCarrick sent Pope John Paul II $90,000 from 2001 to 2005. Pope Benedict XVI received $291,000, most of it a single check for $250,000 in May 2005, a month after he was elevated to succeed the late John Paul.
… nearly 200 checks were sent to fellow clerics, including more than 60 archbishops and cardinals.
The money came from a “special” account that was shielded from other Catholic leaders. Naturally, though, recipients of the cash say it had no bearing on their decision-making. Which is always a convenient thing to say when you’re judging the fate of the person handing you a giant wad of cash.
The gifts “never had any effect on the Cardinal’s decision-making as an official of the Holy See,” said a spokesman for Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, a high-ranking cleric who received $6,500 from McCarrick in the 2000s, the ledgers show.
That excuse isn’t a good one. If the money didn’t taint his decision-making, then it means he’s just a horrible judge of character on his own.
Recall that another high-profile Catholic bishop accused of harassment also lived in luxury, doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to other clerics. The Post notes that 17 people received money from both that bishop and McCarrick.
This isn’t a one-off. It’s systemic. And the Church isn’t transparent about how it spends its money because it doesn’t have to be and because parishioners don’t demand it. The Church won’t do the right thing unless it’s forced to — and even then, it’s questionable — because that’s how corrupt criminal enterprises work.
How many of these stories do Catholics need to hear before they finally figure out what they’re supporting?