Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò meets Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2013 (CNS screenshot)

Last night I was texting with a Catholic friend, and told him about how the late Father Benedict Groeschel lied to cover himself. Groeschel, trained in psychology, had a lot to do with recycling sexually predatory priests back into the community, via his treatment center. Because he was known to be theologically conservative, and was an EWTN star, he was untouchable among conservatives. I wrote last year, when the McCarrick scandal broke:

I am personally aware of a case in which a conservative superstar priest, the late Father Benedict Groeschel, manipulated the conservative Catholic public’s suspicion of the news media to hide from legitimate questions about his own role in covering up abuse. I wrote about it here. In brief, Groeschel, a psychologist, ran a factory that recycled sexually abusive priests. In 2002, or perhaps early 2003, Brooks Egerton, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, tried to contact Groeschel to ask him about some of these cases, Groeschel refused to speak to him. Egerton called me at National Review, asking me why Groeschel wouldn’t return his calls, and asking if I knew any way to reach him. Eventually, Egerton published a story … which Groeschel promptly denounced as filled with lies and distortions. He said, in particular:
Mr. Egerton’s article is a prime example of the hostility, distortion and planned attack on the Catholic Church in the United States by certain segments of the media.
Groeschel’s words were disgraceful. Again, Egerton tried multiple times to get Groeschel on the phone to explain his side of the story. Groeschel refused to talk to him, and then when the story came out, denounced it as a “planned attack on the Catholic Church.” It was a lie, but a lot of people wanted to believe that lie. That’s how aiders and abetters of the scandal, like Benedict Groeschel, got away with it.

One of the lasting effects of the church abuse scandal, at least for me, is to learn how eagerly and easily cardinals, bishops, and influential priests will lie for the sake of preserving a false front, and hiding their own guilt. For example, Cardinal Ted McCarrick was named by the Vatican to lead its response to the initial wave of scandal. Here he is from a 2002 interview with theUSA Today editorial board:

If after all we’ve gone through, someone would still violate the kind of relationship we need with children, with young people, that person should be out of the ministry immediately. So looking forward, I think there is no difference of opinion among the cardinals. Or among the bishops. Everyone I’ve spoken to feels anyone who would do this now — after we’ve passed through all this — is either sick, therefore should not be a priest, or defiant, and therefore should not be in the ministry.

Cardinal McCarrick is now Mr. McCarrick. He was defrocked for sex abuse last year. McCarrick was filthy, and there is evidence that high-level people in Rome knew he was filthy before he was made cardinal archbishop of Washington.
Last year there was intense controversy over Vatican diplomat Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s allegations that Rome had long known of McCarrick’s behavior — and that Benedict XVI had placed McCarrick on restriction, which the arrogant cardinal ignored with impunity. Viganò said that he personally told Pope Francis about McCarrick, but that made no difference. Francis brought McCarrick, a key ally, out of the cold, and put him to work as an envoy.

Well, newly released correspondence shows that the Vatican had, in fact, put McCarrick on restriction — and McCarrick’s successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, knew about this. Excerpts from the Crux report:

In one letter, McCarrick suggests the Vatican wanted to “avoid publicity” and thus kept the restrictions confidential.
The correspondence also shows that despite the restrictions, McCarrick gradually resumed traveling and playing prominent diplomatic roles under both Popes Benedict XVI and, to a greater extent, Francis, including talks with China that may have helped shape a controversial 2018 deal between Rome and Beijing over the appointment of bishops.
McCarrick’s activities were not carried on in secret, as he regularly wrote to Pope Francis between 2013 and 2017 to brief him on his trips and activities.
In the correspondence, McCarrick denies any sexual misconduct.
“I have never had sexual relations with anyone,” he wrote, but he does admit to “an unfortunate lack of judgment” in sharing his bed with seminarians in their twenties and thirties.


From an examination of the correspondence, which involves emails and private letters from McCarrick over the period 2008-2017, it appears that senior Church officials, including the Vatican’s Secretary of State under Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Congregation for Bishops, and the pope’s ambassador in the U.S., were aware of the informal restrictions, and whatever their response may have been as McCarrick resumed his activities, it did not prevent him from doing so.
McCarrick also writes that he discussed the restrictions with Wuerl in 2008, saying Wuerl’s “help and understanding is, as always, a great help and fraternal support to me.” In a 2008 letter to the papal ambassador in the U.S., McCarrick said he had shared a Vatican letter outlining the restrictions with Wuerl.
Wuerl, who resigned as McCarrick’s successor as the Archbishop of Washington last October amid criticism in a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report of his handling of abuse cases as the Bishop of Pittsburgh, initially denied knowing of abuse charges against McCarrick until they became public in 2018, though in January he admitted to a “lapse in memory” with regard to one allegation that reached him in 2004.

Read the whole thing. Wuerl is still denying.
Here’s the source of that reporting: a website written by McCarrick’s former personal secretary, Msgr Antonio Figueiredo. Crux says it had an expert examine the original correspondence, and determined them to be authentic. The monsignor writes:

In the subsequent sections, I present facts from correspondence that I hold relevant to questions still surrounding McCarrick. These facts show clearly that high-ranking prelates likely had knowledge of McCarrick’s actions and of restrictions imposed upon him during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. They also clearly show that these restrictions were not enforced even before the pontificate of Francis. It is not my place to judge to what extent the fault lies with the failure to impose canonical penalties, instead of mere restrictions, at the start, or with other Church leaders who later failed to expose McCarrick’s behavior and the impropriety of his continued public activity, and indeed may have encouraged it. My intention throughout this report is to present facts – not judgments or condemnation of anyone – for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons, the salvation of souls, and the good of the Church Universal. As a priest ordained by then Archbishop McCarrick and one who served him closely, I reflect often upon how much damage to the physical, psychological and spiritual lives of so many might have been avoided had the restrictions been made public and enforced as soon as they were imposed.

Neither Benedict nor Francis come off looking good here. There is written evidence from McCarrick himself that he was put on informal restriction. When he flouted the restrictions, nothing happened to him.
Figueiredo seems to have been motivated by personal repentance. He was arrested in a drunk-driving accident last year, and indicates that he became addicted to alcohol. He has now embraced a life of sobriety. Whatever the monsignor’s motivations, the documents are judged to be authentic. He goes on:

It is clear that for far too long, a culture has existed in the Church that allowed those like McCarrick to continue their public activity after serious and even settled allegations had come to the attention of Church leaders. Moreover, it is all too evident that Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops – in their cover up – until quite recently have enjoyed the propitious benefit of a more “forgiving” and “lenient” standard of evaluation as compared to those applied to lower ranking clerics and religious. A double standard and non-independent accountability harm the credibility of Church leadership and impede efforts to reestablish fundamental trust in the Catholic clergy.

Speaking of re-establishing fundamental trust, the Vatican press office initially released a transcript of Francis’s May 21 interview, omitting the part where he said he’s not sure if he was told about McCarrick. The version the press office put out featured a flat denial by the Pope. Only when reporters questioned the press office did it release a corrected version, in which Francis said he wasn’t sure if Viganò told him about McCarrick, and just forgot about it.
Responding to the original, full Spanish language transcript of the interview, Archbishop Viganò pulled no punches:

In comments to LifeSite following the release of the interview, Archbishop Viganò said: “What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. […] He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”


In the May 28 interview, Alazraki presses Pope Francis further on whether or not he knew about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s misdeeds.
“I didn’t know anything about McCarrick, obviously, nothing, nothing,” he says. “I’ve said that several times, that I didn’t know, I had no idea.”
It’s unclear as to what Pope Francis is referring to when he says that he denied knowledge of McCarrick’s immoral activities on several occasions as his refusal to comment one way or another has been a particularly notable element of the scandal.
Pope Francis continues: “When [Archbishop Viganò] says that he spoke to me that day [on June 23, 2013], that he came … I don’t remember if he told me about this, whether it’s true or not, no idea! But you know that I didn’t know anything about McCarrick; otherwise I wouldn’t have kept quiet, right?”
Archbishop Viganò observed of this remark: “He tries to be clever, claiming that he doesn’t remember what I told him, when he was the one who asked me about McCarrick.”

Who has more credibility in this matter: Viganò or Francis? At this point, how is this even a serious question?!


All credibility of the RCC disappears when the Pope is proven to be a liar.

From being infallible to being a liar.

Francis has never being home to Argentina because his name is dirt there.

He was a collaborator with the corrupt regime in Argentina.

He also played some role in the disappearance of two of his fellow Jesuits.

What do you do when the pope is a liar and accessory before and after the fact to two killings?

We are right back to the Borgias.



VATICAN CITY (AP) — At first glance, the handwritten postcards and letters look innocuous, even warm, sometimes signed off by “Uncle T.” or “Your uncle, Father Ted.”

But taken in context, the correspondence penned by disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to the young men he is accused of sexually abusing or harassing is a window into the way a predator grooms his prey, according to two abuse prevention experts who reviewed it for The Associated Press.

Full of flattery, familiarity and boasts about his own power, the letters provide visceral evidence of how a globe-trotting bishop made young, vulnerable men feel special — and then allegedly took advantage of them.

The AP is exclusively publishing correspondence McCarrick wrote to three men ahead of the promised release of the Vatican’s own report into who knew what and when about his efforts to bed would-be priests. Access to an archbishop for young men seeking to become priests “is a key piece of the grooming process here,” said one of the experts, Monica Applewhite.

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick, 89, in February after a church investigation determined he sexually abused minors as well as adult seminarians. The case has created a credibility crisis for the Catholic hierarchy , since McCarrick’s misconduct was reported to some U.S. and Vatican higher-ups, but he nevertheless remained an influential cardinal until his downfall last year.

McCarrick has declined to comment on his case, except to say in an initial statement last year that he was innocent but accepted the Holy See’s decision to remove him from ministry. McCarrick lawyer J. Michael Ritty declined to comment on the correspondence.

The testimony of James Grein, 61, the first child McCarrick baptized, was key to the Vatican case. The son of close family friends, Grein told church investigators that McCarrick began sexually abusing him when he was 11, including during confession and at family weddings and holiday celebrations.

In an interview with AP, Grein said McCarrick’s exalted place in the family over three generations created pressure on him to visit with McCarrick during weekends away from boarding school and visits when he would be molested.

“If I didn’t go to see Theodore I was always going to be asked by my brothers and sisters or my dad, ‘Why didn’t you go see him?’”

That family dynamic is present in the postcards McCarrick sent to Grein — notes without postmarks that were included in letters McCarrick sent to his father.

“Time is getting close for your visit back east,” McCarrick wrote to Grein while he was at boarding school at the Woodside Priory School in California in the 1970s. “I’ll be calling home one of these days to check on arrangements.” He signed the note “Love to all, Your uncle, Fr. Ted.”

Applewhite said the text betrays McCarrick’s clear expectations that Grein would come visit, as well as the involvement of his family in arranging the rendezvous. A postcard visible to the family, she added, is the most open form of communication, and was likely meant to show Grein that what McCarrick was doing wasn’t wrong.

“To send it in a postcard says ‘I have nothing to hide,’” said Applewhite, who has counseled U.S. dioceses and religious orders about child protection programs and training.

In 1981, McCarrick was named the first bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey. Last year, his seminarian victims began speaking out about how their former bishop would refer to them as his “nephews” and insist that they call him “Uncle Ted” — creating an informal family relationship that would make it very difficult for any of them to ever report misconduct, Applewhite said.

Former seminarians recounted how McCarrick would invite groups of young men for weekends fishing or at his beach house, always inviting one extra to force someone to share his bed. McCarrick later denied having ever had sexual relations with anyone but acknowledged an “unfortunate lack of judgment” in sharing a bed with the men, according to a 2008 email to the Vatican.

In correspondence to one Metuchen seminarian after he was named archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, McCarrick detailed his jet-setting ministry in the summer of 1987, when he travelled to Russia and Poland at the height of St. John Paul II’s efforts to bring down communism in Eastern Europe. Later that year, he told the young man how he accompanied John Paul on his U.S. pilgrimage.

“It’s reminding him of his position of power, that he has all this access to special privileges,” said Elizabeth Jeglic, professor of psychology and expert in sexual violence prevention at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She said the message to the seminarian was: “‘You stay with me, you get access to that.’”

The seminarian later wrote to another bishop that he had witnessed McCarrick and other would-be priests engaging in sexual activity during a fishing trip and that McCarrick had groped him during an overnight stay at McCarrick’s Manhattan apartment later that summer. He said he vomited in the bathroom that Friday night because of the trauma.

In a letter soon after , McCarrick wrote: “I just want to say thanks for coming on Friday evening. I really enjoyed our visit.”

In eight letters to the seminarian, McCarrick repeatedly urged the young man to call him collect at his offices in Newark, providing his direct line and the dates of his comings and goings. He also urged him repeatedly to come visit — a frequency of demanding contact that Jeglic said constituted harassment and an attempt to “keep him in the web.”

“We have an almost full house, and by tomorrow the couches and maybe the floor will be taken — but we would have made room even for a big guy like you,” McCarrick wrote him.

In a sign of possible desperation, he added: “P.S. Do you even get my letters?”

McCarrick also referred to an incident where the two met a Mafia-associated businessman who was gunned down shortly after in a mob hit.

“Thank God we didn’t go to dinner on Saturday night!” McCarrick wrote. “We’d have been in the middle of a gangland rub-out.”

In a subsequent letter Aug. 28, 1987, written on Admirals Club letterhead during a flight in Poland, McCarrick referred again to the murder in his trademark small script: “You stick with your uncle and you’ll really meet exciting people.”

Jeglic said the reference to the mob hit was a shared, illicit experience that “bonds you in secrecy.”

Another seminarian, the Rev. Desmond Rossi, was studying for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception seminary in Newark, New Jersey when McCarrick was named archbishop. He said McCarrick had made it a point to greet Rossi’s father at Mass, and wrote to Rossi when the young man took a sabbatical in 1987.

In the letter, McCarrick wrote that he had just been with John Paul during his trip to Miami, and was praying for Rossi to come back.

“You’re still very much part of the family,” McCarrick wrote.

Rossi said he now sees McCarrick was grooming him with the letter, particularly his reference to John Paul and being part of “the family.”

“Here’s an archbishop of the church telling a 25-year-old kid who is interested in priesthood that he just left a meeting with the pope,” Rossi said. “This is a major deal!”

Rossi ultimately moved to another diocese in 1989, after a meeting where he said McCarrick rolled his chair “inappropriately close” and touched Rossi’s leg as he spoke.

“At that moment, pretty much in my mind I thought ‘I’m leaving this diocese,’ because it was that uncomfortable,” Rossi said.

As much as he considers himself a survivor, Rossi acknowledges that McCarrick was a gifted, charismatic pastor. Applewhite said abusers aren’t just monsters — as evidenced by McCarrick’s own correspondence looking out for his seminarians.

“If we’re only looking for demons, we’re not ever going to catch anyone,” she said.

The U.S. victims’ advocacy group SNAP said McCarrick’s correspondence provides “textbook examples of grooming behavior” that should serve as a wakeup call about the subtle ways predators build relationship with their victims and ingratiate themselves into families.

“We hope that the publication of these letters will lead to both healing for the survivors and new opportunities for parents and the public to become educated about grooming,” SNAP said in a statement after the AP report.


McCarrick got away with many decades of outlandship behaviour because he spread millions of dollars bribing people in Rome and the USA.

That means he appropriated millions and millions of dollars donated by ordinary and rich Catholics and organisations.

McCarrick proves that at the top of the RC institution power, sex and money matters a lot more than God or God’s people.

Even innocent children are fair game.

I started off life and priesthood totally ignorant of these realities.

I’m glad I’m not starting again.

I could not go the road I went again.

But I do not regret faith and priesthood.

And I’m sure God used Cahal B Daly to take me out of Babylon and give me the freedom of a son of God.

O felix culpa.