Bishop Timothy Doherty, who presides over the diocese of Lafayette, Indiana, is calling for a public inquiry on all Catholic bishops in the wake of the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal.
Doherty is the chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Child and Youth Protection Committee. He wrote in an op-ed appearing in the Aug. 5 edition of the Lafayette diocesan newspaper "The Catholic Moment" that “general prayers and apologies are necessary, but not sufficient.”
McCarrick, the former cardinal and retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., has been ordered by Pope Francis to maintain a “life of prayer and penance” until a canonical trial for accusations of sexual abuse. He’s the first American cardinal to be stripped of his title.
Doherty said in his column that the McCarrick allegations renew the need for “public inquiry about all of us bishops," adding that he is trying to frame his “disgust, anger and sorrow in some graced way.”
While Doherty said the McCarrick allegations surprised him, “there is evidence that various people made allegations and had reported them in the United States and in Rome. What has gone wrong? We deserve to find out. If the news is damaging ,we have to hope it will damage and then help to correct an allegedly corrupt process."
Doherty adds it is not impossible for the U.S. Conference of Bishops “to hire an outside investigator” to look in to the McCarrick allegations, noting the USCCB did so in 2002.
Doherty’s comments are in stark contrast to Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, who replied by email to several questions from NBC 5, but has refused interview requests.
He spoke at a conference on the death penalty this week, entering through a back stairway and again refusing any media questions. Cupich’s printed answers said he was not aware of the McCarrick allegations, adding, “I believe he should be held accountable” and “I have nothing to add since this matter belongs to the oversight of others but in general I’ve always supported making people accountable.”
Bishop Doherty, raised in Rockford, Illinois, has a doctorate in Christian ethics from Loyola University and a graduate of St. Mary Seminary in Mundelein.