The long-awaited Vatican report on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, once the head of the Archdiocese of Washington DC, says both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and others were aware of the accusations McCarrick abused minors and adults.
Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich says, “this is a painful moment, but a good moment, it’s a catharsis.”
McCarrick was dismissed last year after accusations became public and multiple lawsuits were filed. But the extensive 400-plus-page report notes it was more than 20 years ago when John Paul II was warned.
Also, McCarrick denied the allegations.
"The only reports that came forward were anonymous," Cupich said. "Today we pay attention to anonymous accusations, that was not done in the past.”
“When bishops were asked in the United States about McCarrick, they didn’t provide accurate information,” Cupich added.
The explosive report also says Pope Francis was aware of the McCarrick allegations but thought the problem was dealt with and by then McCarrick was retired.
Mike Hoffman, a survivor of priest abuse, says: “It reminds me of how my abuser operated. And how my abuser groomed the community, groomed others and frankly betrayed relationship, after relationship, after relationship.”
Hoffman devotes much of his time to helping others heal. “We got to feel this," he said. "I want the leadership to feel this, and to take some corrective action. I’d like leadership to show, courage and vision.”
For more than 20 years, Cupich has served on various committees focusing on protecting children and was asked if he was aware of the McCarrick allegations. “I was not” Cupich said.
Survivors like Hoffman are demanding accountability as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting next week.
“Don’t just publish a report and say we’re good," Hoffman said. "Let’s have some dramatic action in the U.S. Catholic Church to make some change.”
In the 400-page report, it is also revealed that McCarrick was considered to replace Cardinal Bernardin as the Archbishop of Chicago. That obviously didn’t happen. Francis George did instead.