Posted by Father Raymond J. de Souza CRUX NPW

COMMENTARY: Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo’s release of information on Theodore McCarrick suggests what a new era of whistleblowing might look like in the Church.

Eleven months after the first revelations about the now-laicized Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a papal interview with a Mexican journalist and revelations from a former secretary have added to what we know, underscoring the importance of the documents that the Vatican is still reviewing in preparation for a public report.
The developments also suggest what a new culture of whistleblowing might look like in the Church after the publication of the Holy Father’s new sexual-abuse norms, Vos Estis Lux Mundi.

In response to a question from the Mexican journalist about the allegations of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Pope Francis emphatically denied that he knew anything about McCarrick’s scandalous behavior before last summer. That comports with a statement released in October 2018 by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who stated that he had never spoken to Pope Francis about McCarrick and the various efforts his office had made to restrict his public ministry and travels.
Archbishop Viganò claimed in August 2018 to have told the Holy Father personally about McCarrick in a private meeting in June 2013. In the new interview, Pope Francis says that he does not remember whether Archbishop Viganò told him about the former cardinal or not.

Whatever the Holy Father may or may not have known, excerpts of correspondence published Tuesday by Mgsr. Anthony Figueiredo seem to indicate that the broad outline of what Archbishop Viganò claimed about McCarrick is true.

Msgr. Figueiredo served as McCarrick’s secretary soon after his ordination — by McCarrick himself — in 1994-95. Msgr. Figueiredo then spent most of the next 25 years in Rome and acted as McCarrick’s assistant in Rome, especially after the former cardinal’s retirement in 2006. Msgr. Figueiredo also served as a senior contributor to EWTN News’ Vatican Bureau in 2017 and 2018, until he was arrested on drunken-driving charges in the United Kingdom in October 2018.
According to Msgr. Figueiredo’s materials, Cardinal McCarrick was told in 2008 by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, then the prefect for bishops, to move out of the seminary where he lived in retirement, not to travel to Rome, and not to accept any speaking engagements, public appearances or travel without prior approval from Cardinal Re.

It would be shocking if such extraordinary measures against a cardinal were taken without the approval of Pope Benedict XVI. The monsignor’s materials do not explicitly indicate what Benedict’s role was and what decisions he personally took.
Msgr. Figueiredo released his “report” online, quoting from correspondence from McCarrick that describe a letter from Cardinal Re in 2008 with the restrictions and that McCarrick discussed those restrictions with Archbishop Donald Wuerl, his successor as the archbishop of Washington.
The materials were reviewed by CBS and the Catholic news outlet Crux for authenticity, but the original documents themselves were not made public, though Msgr. Figueiredo suggests that he may do so in the future.

The materials appear to clarify several important points:

Cardinal McCarrick acknowledged the practice of sharing his bed with seminarians at his beach house in a letter to the secretary of state. This was a familial, and not sexual, arrangement, McCarrick insisted, and no minors were involved. He stopped the practice after 2002. (In 2008, McCarrick’s sexual contact with minors, dating back decades and involving the sacrament of confession, was not known. It was for those canonical crimes that he was laicized in January 2019.)

In 2008, Cardinal Re wrote to McCarrick to impose restrictions upon him. These were not the results of canonical discipline, but were arrived at more informally. Nevertheless, for a cardinal to be told not to travel, appear in public or come to Rome is highly unusual.

Archbishop Wuerl was notified by McCarrick of the letter and assisted in finding a new place for McCarrick to live.

Cardinal Wuerl maintained all last year that he knew nothing about McCarrick’s misbehavior. In January 2019, when it was revealed that Cardinal Wuerl himself had reported allegations about McCarrick to Rome in 2004, Wuerl said that he had forgotten about that. It may be that Cardinal Wuerl also forgot about the 2008 letter from Cardinal Re and his role in carrying it out.

McCarrick did not abide by the restrictions. He continued to travel in subsequent years, including to Rome, and to appear in public. It is apparent that whatever decisions were taken by Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Re regarding McCarrick, neither of them, nor any other officials in the Roman Curia, nor the two apostolic nuncios to the United States — Archbishop Pietro Sambi until 2011 and Archbishop Viganò afterward — enforced the measures.

After the election of Pope Francis in 2013, McCarrick’s travels on behalf of the Church increased, including trips to China. McCarrick wrote to Pope Francis to update him on this work.

Msgr. Figueiredo’s materials also confirm what Cardinal Ouellet said last October. The prefect for the Congregation for Bishops was very specific, stating that the archives of the congregation contained no record of any direct papal decision by either Pope Benedict or Pope Francis regarding McCarrick. He did acknowledge letters from Cardinal Re and from himself to the nuncios in Washington about McCarrick.

The Vatican announced in October 2018 that a review of all such documents was underway. The key 2008 letter from Cardinal Re has now been acknowledged by multiple sources. The results of the Vatican investigation ought now to make that public, as well as responses from McCarrick and, presumably, Cardinal Wuerl.
Whether the Vatican report — as promised last October — is ever produced and what it contains will be a test of Vatican transparency on the McCarrick matter.

Beyond that, however, Msgr. Figueiredo’s materials provide a glimpse of what a new era of whistleblowing might look like in the Church. The legislation Vos Estis comes into effect June 1, but the mandatory reporting that it requires — of sexual abuse of minors, of abuse of power and abuse of office for sexual purposes — is aimed at changing a clerical culture.
Vos Estis requires that all clerics report what they know, or have good reason to suspect, about abuse of minors, abuse of office and abuse of power. Importantly, it mandates reporting of the offenses themselves, as well as negligent behavior by superiors in dealing with allegations or attempts at cover-up.
“My actions in releasing this report at this time are encouraged by the Holy Father’s motu proprio Vos Estis Lux Mundi,” writes Msgr. Figueiredo, which is “based on the overriding principle that it is imperative to place in the public domain, at the right time and prudently, information that has yet to come to light and impacts directly on allegations of criminal activity, the restrictions imposed on my now-laicized former archbishop, and who knew what and when.”

The Pope’s document seems to have been drafted with the McCarrick case very much in mind. It would now make illegal the nonreporting of what “everybody knew” about McCarrick. In fact, not everybody knew, but some people did and chose to keep quiet, foremost of all the seminarians who were subject to what Vos Estis speaks of as an abuse of power. While the document does not apply to laymen — which seminarians, strictly speaking, are — it would apply to deacons. If the norms of Vos Estis Lux Mundi had been in place when McCarrick was archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, upon ordination as deacons, Newark seminarians — now clerics — would have been obliged to report their archbishop to the nuncio or to the Holy See.

The monsignor was ordained by Mc Carrick and chose the 25th anniversary of his ordination (May 28, 1994) to release his report. Is what we see from Msgr. Figueiredo now, after the fact, something of what we can expect to take place in real time under the requirements of Vos Estis Lux Mundi?

It would appear to be so, and recall that Vos Estismakes clear that anyone who makes such reports cannot be told to keep them confidential; sharing them with the media cannot be prohibited or punished.

The Figueiredo Report, unique as it deals with the high-profile case of now-Mr. McCarrick, may just be the first of many to come.

Father Raymond J. de Souza is the editor in chief of Convivium magazine.


Its a very good thing that this monsignor is doing.

We do not know all his motives bit the outcome is good. It will help to get more truth out about the abuse and corruption in the RC church.

But their inclination will be still to lie and hide.

No organisation can properly police itself.

Because of all that has been hidden and is still hidden it would be good here in Ireland for instance, to set up a commission to watch the church/churches. This commission could monitor the church and receive complaints and produce reports.


Oranges aren’t the only fruit. Bishops aren’t the only ones who wear a mitre. There’s someone with a mitre who’s very naughty altogether.


I assume you also would desire this commission to monitor the jewish and islamic faiths? and any other religious organisations. Would the oratory object to being monitored? which by the way, have you and your clergy undertaken child protection training, GDPR training etc?


The Oratory? What Oratory? The state would need to oversee this ‘thing’ as it is ‘independent’ dictatorship – but obsessed with all things Catholic!! ODD!


Fig who? Is he a biscuit or a bar hi.
Mc Carrick is done and dusted Sure they can use him to take attention off others. Sure he’s gone anyway hi.


What’s ODD is many
supposed Roman Catholic celibate clerics, even Cardinals, obsessed with sex and sexual acting out, some even acting out with innocent children!
Grow up lads!


Pat, it is interesting to read that deacons among others are now required by the pope to tell what they know.


A commission to watch the Churches!! I presume you’ll allow Larne Oratory to be supervised and investigated by such a commission? I’d imagine such a commission might surprise us with strange practices!


A secular commission to watch the churches is long overdue. There can’t be a repeat of
child and vulnerable adult abusive criminality by clergy and cover up by bishops to happen on such a scale ever again. There’s been enough strange practices by some
Rcc clergy that’s kept the scandal rolling for the last
35 years. It’s not over yet.
God only knows how many more ‘Ted tales’ are to waiting
to be told.


Tony Figueiredo is a neocat originally from London. You may not know his motive’s Pat but you can be sure he is acting under the influence of Kiko. As Pope Francis said-“The evidence is clear but it is complicated!” This looks like a power play by the NCW against Francis.


There is nothing at all new in Figueirado’s statements. The source, National Catholic Register [NOT Reporter] is a rightwing ideological rag.


I think the time is past when the Church can be trusted to oversee or regulate itself. So many secular authorities and jurisdictions are beginning to recognise this, and to begin to take an interest in the Church and what it does, how, and when, and with whom. Just note the number of Attorney Generals in various States in the US who have begun investigations in to dioceses, bishops and priests. And then in the UK the ongoing ICCSA is continuing to delve in to decades of malpractice and abuse by clergy and bishops and the institutional Church, not just the RCs but across the spectrum of churches and faiths. So, I think the time is coming when churches and faiths will need to be overseen by independent, objective and secular authorities in order to make sure that what has happened in the past should not happen again. The Catholic Church cannot be trusted to do this itself. For God’s sake, it was only a week or two ago that the Pope decreed that any person knowing of abuse was duty bound to report it, whereas before it appears to have been left to individual choice as to what to do. Where have they been for the past number of decades ??!!!


I think his major motive is Sobriety, to live life to the full in Christ Jesus, in which there can be no darkness. To that effect and because of it, he is set on making amends.
I share your concerns Pat. With respect to the good guys, what we have come to learn is the recidivist nature of abusers combined with a clerical caste that will not readily relinquish power, therefore I am in broad agreement with you that secular authorities need to subject all religious establishments to inspection, procedures for raising concerns to the inspectorate and powers including closure / restrictions of places of worship, religious orders, novitiates / schools, colleges / seminaries etc and instigating police investigations too where criminality be suspected.
In the RC I’m still hopeful for change under “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” but trying to be realistic.
Mons Figueiredo has a website which includes his report and a discussion board:


Mornin Fly hi.
Neither Fly.
Neither a biscuit or a bar butt a member of the kollard klub.
Ted is done and dusted butt the damage is untold. Any more Teds in the beds with udders then pulling strings.
A lone wolf wearing sheep’s wool or leader of a pack. Which is worse Fly the smell of
the sheep or the smell of the wolves. Wolves have a hell of a smell. They stink.
Bye bye hi Fly.


De Souza’s article is as clear as used dish water; it is not well written. Perhaps this was intentional, since Crux is not an independent news medium, that is, ‘independent of the institutional Church’. There is clear evidence in the article of the dubious practice of mental reservation, which was either the author’s doing, or his sources’.
In spite of what the article claims (that clerics are not prohibited from reporting alleged crimes to the police), pontifical secrecy has NOT been abolished by this papal edict. Its so-called ‘confidentiality’ restrictions still apply, even to the allegations themselves; these prohibit the reporting of such to the police once they are disclosed to any cleric.
It is extremely naive to think that this papal edict is about transparency over criminal accusations against clerics. The institutional Roman Catholic Church cannot police itself, because it has no wish to do so, believing itself above civil law, and answerable only to God.


Oh! Righto.👍
Of course, that’s arguably worse…from the perspective of independent journalism.


12:43 Minima Carta
Hahahahahaha. The verbiage you produced at 12:43 was based on the premise that Crux was the source of this article. 5:05 disabused you of that misconception. You are a laughing stock whose stock in trade is pontificating hot air and spouting profanities.


Yes and no.
Broadly speaking, he was accurate. But his implication that Pope Francis lied when he claimed no knowledge that Vigano had informed him about McCarrick is not necessarily accurate, since Francis may simply have forgotten the encounter..just as he appears to have forgotten being given evidence, in 2015, by Cardinal O’Malley against Bishop Juan Carras.


I admit it does smell extremely fishy, but I honestly believe that Pope Francis may have impairment of cognition and memory, aggravated by greatly exaggerated intelligence and by old age.
Then again, you may be righ: he’s a bloody liar.😅


Fr Pry-er SJ…oh, he’s probably off on some kind of SJ jolly from his time in the noviciate. They are never there. Off galavanting around the continent, on ‘walk about’ or something similarly Ignition. His tight trousers havens’t been spotted around Birmingham recently. As the Sgt Major said to someone on parade being inspected: “Either get yourself a bigger pair of trousers or a smaller arse, young man “. Th young SJs are definitely the dress down jeans and chino brigade. No soutanes or Gammarelli or Barbicone outfitting for them, although I think if they do need clerical stuff they get it from Euroclero, a sort of Primark of the Borgo Pio. Or from mail order.


Hi Pat. As a RC of Larne, when are you going to be in a position to hand back the property you occupy, paid for and built by members of this Community?


Your so called money did noy build the house. It was built on 1904.

I have a High Court agreement thay entitles me to reside there.


Sorry I didn’t mean to offend, but it is our property leased to you. I know when it was built, but our money did paid for it! Just wondered if you had any plans to hand it back that’s all. I know you were treated like shite by a certain Bishop, but surely after all this time you should either rejoin the RC Church and be PP of Larne or cut all
ties. I am sure they would have you back if you asked for forgiveness. Both sides need to reconcile.


I have no such plans.

And for 35 uears now I haven’t used the house to help the homeless, addicts etc.

In the end God owns everything?


Are you a wind up merchant? Pat is going nowhere. The Court gave him life time occupancy. After all he has been put through by the RC Church, he deserves it and look at all those he helps in the area. Think before you blog please Sean.


7.16: Fr. D, if you have such a love for Pat and his Oratory, why don’t you join him? Would it require too much courage? Sean at 7.10 makes valid observations. Pat is in accommodation provided by Down and Conor Diocese. The people of that Diocese are the ones who keep Pat there. He should be appreciative of their gift to him.


Spellcheck?😕 And you think you have problems?😦
I am near the point of chucking this ******* tablet out the window, because EVERY time I type a comment (unless I have pressed the mathematical centre of each key in the board) the letters on either side of it, or above it, get printed. I swear even Alan Turing couldn’t decipher what appears on my screen EVERY ******* time.
It’s enough to make me ******* swear, so it is!😞


7.48: You obviously don’t know the difference between “homo” and “hetero”, with your spelling! Silly assh**e. You are probably, if truth be told, more familiar with the former….(homo…)!!


So Francis wants all abuses of owner by clerics reported. Looks like D and C priests are daffy ducked . Isn’t that right Frs???🤣🤣🤣🤣


Pat, all the poor wee moanin Scotties and their woes – Updates!
Magna Carta’s past life as a geisha – Updates!
Pat Mullaney – Updates!
Elsie’s caravan in Grimsby – Updates!
Cafe Bum Bum refurbishment and gala reopening – Updates!
What Fanny did next – Updates!


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