Cardinal Theodore McCarrick speaks to reporters in Hyattsville, Md., about sexual misconduct allegations against a local priest in 2002. (Sarah L. Voisin/TWP)

By Michelle Boorstein Oct. 17, 2019

Theodore McCarrick, a former D.C. archbishop and cardinal who was defrocked this year amid allegations that he sexually abused two minors and sexually harassed seminarians, is facing new accusations that he abused at least seven boys from about 1970 until 1990, according to three sources, including a person with direct knowledge of the claims U.S. church officials sent to the Vatican in January.

In addition, six allegations of sexual abuse by seminarians and former seminarians also were sent to Rome, according to this last person.

In an interview, an accuser told The Washington Post that many of the boys knew one another. They often would travel together with McCarrick on fundraising trips to churches and the homes of donors nationwide, where the abuse allegedly would occur. The accuser and his family met McCarrick at a church function when the man was a young child.

As adults, some would speak about their alleged abuse to one another in the barest of terms.

It wasn’t until late last year, however, after allegations involving two other boys became public, that the man said he and other accusers contacted officials. The Washington Post does not identify victims of sexual assault or abuse without their permission.

‘What difference does it make to McCarrick?’ Critics question the value of defrocking.

The man said he and other victims since last year have cooperated with church and civil investigators as well as Vatican officials. After that, he said, he wanted to move on. He was driven, however, to speak out following a recent interview McCarrick gave to Slate in which the onetime fundraising and diplomatic church star denied wrongdoing.

In a September article, McCarrick said he is “not as bad as they paint me. I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of.”

The reporter told him that “it sounded like he thought it was possible — that saying he didn’t ‘believe’ he had done those things, or that he doesn’t remember them, makes it sound as if he’s leaving it an open question. No, he said.”

McCarrick, 89, is unlikely to face criminal prosecution for his alleged abuse and harassment of the youth and seminarian cases first reported in the summer of 2018. Those allegations relate to crimes that would be beyond the statutes of limitation in the United States, where they are said to have occurred.

McCarrick’s attorney, Barry Coburn, declined to comment on the new accusations.

The victim said the group of accusers of which he is part have communicated with civil officials, including the New York County district attorney. A spokeswoman there declined to comment on the status of any ongoing inquiries. The archdiocese of Newark and the diocese of Metuchen, N.J., also declined to comment on investigations of McCarrick, which they characterized as continuing.

The man said McCarrick’s interview with Slate spurred him to write an essay. “He attempted to discredit the victims of his sexual abuse while creating further division and confusion within our church,” he said.

The essay described how the childhood acquaintances steeled themselves after decades to report the alleged abuse to church and civil officials. Some call themselves “the Nathans,” the man said, citing a prophet who in the Bible called out David for adultery and abusing power.

(Pope Francis in a sermon last Christmas called for “new Nathans to help so many Davids rouse themselves from a hypocritical and perverse life … victims, carefully selected by their predators, often prefer silence and live in fear of shame and the terror of rejection.”)

The essay details “fundraising-related overnight trips between the years 1970 and 1990 that, as fate would have it, all resulted in McCarrick sharing a bed with a young Catholic boy.”

The man said he was speaking out about the extent of McCarrick’s alleged abuse in hopes that it will focus Catholic attention on the former D.C. and New Jersey archbishop rather than raging divisions in the faith.

“For me, this is not an attack on our Church. This is not about Conservative vs Liberal. This is not about Straight vs Gay. This is not about Benedict vs. Francis. In my view, those arguments are a distraction. For me, this is about our humanity. This is about the criminal, sexual abuse of minors,” he wrote.

The victim declined to give details about McCarrick’s system with the network of boys but said the ex-cardinal was able to get away with it because of his natural gifts: “He was charming. He was self-effacing. He was completely disarming. And he ran that game on everyone. He ran it on his colleagues, donors and on young boys. Everyone around this guy is just a different shade of victim.”

A penthouse, limousines and private jets: Inside the globe-trotting life of Bishop Michael Bransfield

McCarrick was laicized — or reverted to the status of a layperson — in February, the most significant abuse-related punishment given to a Catholic cardinal in modern history. The Vatican was unspecific about the number of victims, saying in a short statement that a church process found him guilty of two charges — soliciting sex during confession and committing “sins” with minors and adults with the aggravating factor the abuse of power.”

By then, several current and former seminarians had come forward to allege that McCarrick had sexually harassed them. Two sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick were also known — that of an unnamed former altar boy whose complaint in 2018 of abuse a decade earlier led to McCarrick’s initial suspension and that of James Grein, a Virginia man whose family was close to the former cardinal and who said he was abused for many years, starting at age 11.

The New Yorker in April quoted an official with a New York archdiocesan church restitution program as saying they had received seven complaints against McCarrick.

Since McCarrick was defrocked, the Vatican has not commented on its broader investigation of his career, in particular how he moved to the very top of the Catholic Church despite rumors and complaints of misconduct. Pope Francis on Oct. 6, 2018, pledged a “thorough” study of Vatican archives related to McCarrick and said the church would “make known the conclusions.” This month a Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the inquiry, saying only that “the work is in progress.”

The accuser who spoke to The Post is one of five men represented by the same attorney, Kevin Mulhearn. He said he was aware of at least seven other accusers. Camille Biros, a member of the independent reconciliation and compensation board set up by the New York archdiocese, said she was aware of at least seven boys. The source with direct knowledge of all the claims U.S. church officials sent to the Vatican says the number of boys is at least 10. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because canon law forbids unauthorized people to speak about internal cases or even to acknowledge that the cases exist.

The Catholic Church is among secular and religious institutions nationwide reckoning in a new way with old allegations of sexual abuse. More than a dozen states — including New York and New Jersey, where McCarrick began his career — significantly extended statutes of limitation for filing lawsuits over abuse. More than a dozen attorneys general are investigating the church’s handling of the cases.

Dioceses in multiple states, including New York, have begun a streamlined process — an independent, out-of-court program to hear and process claims of abuse, and to pay compensation.

The McCarrick case remains open. The person close to the U.S. church’s investigation said a complaint of youth abuse against McCarrick also was reported to police in Ireland. The man who spoke to The Post wrote in his essay of “many” boys on trips alone with McCarrick, and said “the Nathans” had testified about “hundreds of Church-related or fundraising-related overnight trips.”


A priest in Munster has told the blog that Gorgeous has now moved to Cork and throug the influence of priests he knows ther is continuing his hospital chaplain trainig and ministry.

I do not know if this move has any connection with the new bishop of Cork, Fintan Gavin, who was up until recently a Dublin priests and worked with Diarmuid Martin in Archbishop’s House?

Michael certainly gets around and seems to have influential priest friends in many places.


11.25: Magna is homophobic and a passive aggressive person. Deep down the Real Magna is psychosexually confused! Very much so.


You enlosed the word ‘choice’ in your post in double quotation marks. Why? You weren’t quoting me, because I did not say that I was celibate by choice.
Were you trying to make a point? Or were you just being flippant?


New film opens next week By the Grace of God by Francois Ozon based on the recent abuse scandal in Lyon where the Cardinal infamously remarked that by the grace of God the statute of limitations had expired.

Michael Byrne is not – as far as I understand – abusive, and he may well make an excellent hospital chaplain.


The term “lay chaplain” is illicit. Only the clergy may be called chaplains. The Vatican has ruled on the matter.


“The Vatican has ruled on that.” Really? What is the canonical status of the document? Decisions about the meaning of words are made by philologists, linguists and other such groups.



And yet there ARE lay chaplains, regardless of the Vatican’s attempt to monopolise this role to the clergy.

Yet another expression of clericalism, sadly.


Lay “chaplains” are as much use as a chocolate teapot. What sacraments can they do?



If you think that chaplaincy is solely, or even mainly, about sacramental signs, then you are totally in the dark about this kind of work.


Now we’re just waiting for an investigation to be done about Wonersh and the ongoing abuse, bullying and scandals here. An investigation which hopefully will lead to that the rector, priests, other staff members plus the three Queen seminarians – all responsible to all the crap going on here, will be prosecuted and end up in jail.


Cesspit cesspit cesspit.
It’s only a matter of time before there is an accusation about McCarrick which is within the statute of limitations. Some jail time would help to focus his mind on what he has done.


One must admire his tenacity and fortitude in the face of such adversity from this blog. I wish him the best with this unique and challenging ministry. I would be certain that he has all the skills to be an excellent hospital chaplain. All the very best Michael. Prayers and good wishes go out to you.
God Bless.
Ps. Don’t listen to the haters on here.


Look, let’s be real here. Byrne may be playing the game and pretending to keep himself squeaky clean, but I guarantee you that on the quiet he will be carrying on with his old ways. Which I have no problem with, if that is what he wants to do. But, what I do have a problem with is the duplicity, the lying, the double life that he will be leading, one public and the other private. That makes a mockery of us all, and of him, and does damage all around. So, as long as the Church insists on celibacy for its priests, then he must be celibate. And he will not be living a celibate life, in spite of what he might be saying. The same will be true of Rory Coyle. Bishops are dumb fools when they believe the protestations of these guys who have been found out, gone off for a bit of cure, and return all bright eyed and bushy tailed. They will still be on Grindr, down the saunas, in the bars, and meeting up with their fuck buddies. Fact !



No one hates Byrne personally. But there is, justifiably, hatred of his deceit and duplicity. And of the damage he has caused.

There is, also, lack of admiration for his cowardly refusal to own up to what he did, and to publicly apologise for his betrayal of trust. (Did I mention his lying?)


Magna, you have no moral authority when it comes to publicly calling on
anyone to make an apology. The audacity to accuse someone of duplicitous and deceitful behaviour, when you Magna, hide behind an anonymous persona! By definition of your anonymous persona, you are being duplicitous and deceitful.

You lack any real integrity in calling anyone out for their perceived bad behaviour.

The fair and logical response would be to courageously name yourself, therefore allowing him to respond to you (his accuser) which is his right.

Fair is fair Magna, come on.


Verbo veritatis. Why the Ablative of Comparison, when you are not comparing things? If it’s a reference to Adoro te, you have taken the phrase out of context.


Grow up and don’t be such a chauvinist. Grey is a perfectably acceptable and becoming clerical colour. And since when did you see a Presbyterian minister wear a crucifix? And anyway, why not look like a Presbyterian minister? A Catholic priest/bishop and a Presbyterian minister have in common the fact that both are servants of the Gospel.


All well and fine as far as it goes, and as a nice history of celibacy. But, we know how damaging and dysfunctional celibacy really is to those who undertake it, the majority of whom do not have a true calling to celibacy and merely undertake it as a requirement of ordination. We know that huge numbers of clergy are not celibate. We know that vast numbers of homosexual men have been attracted to the priesthood as a way of sublimating their homosexuality, and often with consequent personal damage. So, let’s be honest about it, and recognise that celibacy is not a healthy and integrated way to live if you are not called to it. Insisting that all priests are celibate simply means that most priests undertake it without a true calling. With subsequent damage and trouble to them and to the Church. And, if you have ever been close to priests you will know how odd behaviours and characteristics become the norm when they are forced to be in isolation and live by themselves ! I do wonder why ministry / priesthood has come to be characterised by this one thing, celibacy, to the detriment of so much else ? Again, it’s the unhealthy obsession of the Church to view pretty much everything and anything through the prism of the loins and genitals as a way of giving it value. Which is pretty warped. But no surprise I guess from a group of men who have an obsession with that kind of thing precisely because they are forced in to self-denial and enforced abstinence and the absence of normalised relationships ! So. it’s time for a change. Let’s hope it happens. Soon.


It may just be the case that gays like being seminarians and priests in the same way they like being, for example, cabin crew, hairdressers, florists, and massage therapists. I don’t think celibacy features strongly in clerical life, or gay life in general.


How is it that the male Anglican clergy are mostly gays, even though there is no celibacy rule? Where are all the straight male Anglican clergy? A lot of the lady vicars are friends of Dorothy too.


RIP Fr Bertram. However he was one of those priests who regularly signed petitions urging unswerving fidelity to the Church’s supposedly timeless and immutable teaching on marriage and sexuality. Yet his own article demonstrates nothing of the sort. Notwithstanding Matthew’s revision of Jesus’ own teaching in Mark, the Pauline privilege and so onin the early Church, marriage was never a full blown sacrament until the 12th C and therefore only then in some way equal to ordination which then demanded celibacy. The Problem then as now was the simmering tendency to Manichaeism and concomitant fear of the body and particularly sexual expression, which had to be contained. We are arguing today about communion for gays and divorced persons, when for over a thousand years the Church thought it okay to jettison a marriage in favour of ordination. Moreover mediaeval clerics were anything but celibate. Then as now parish priests had their lady friends, and monasteries were hotbeds of the kind of stuff now normative in places such as Wonersh. Let’s get real PLEASE – and while we’re at it, give Michael Byrne a break. I’d rather have him at my bedside that some nasty old closet queen – and cut the cracks!


I like your forthright no nonsense style Anon@1:17, as well as what you said.



Yes, may Fr Bertram rest in peace.

I don’t agree with you that his article on clerical celibacy in the early Latin Church is either a ‘true history’ or ‘superb’; this is self-evident from what he wrote. In fact, the article seems more ideologically driven (from a dogmatic opposition to married clergy) to be considered a reliable and impartial account of this important subject (more so in light of the currently sitting Amazon Synod’s proposed deliberation on a married clergy in South America). Moreover, Bertram’s article is laced with self-contradictions, which clearly (though not surprisingly) must have escaped his jaundiced eye.

Bertram stated that three commonplace beliefs about clerical celibacy in this church were ‘fantasy’ and ‘untrue’. The first of these is the claim that priests could be married up to the 12th century. However, this statement is actually true, and Bertram himself acknowledges it:

‘Yes, indeed, during the first millennium it was perfectly regular for married men to be ordained deacon or priest, but they had to separate from their wives beforehand.’

This, however, was in terms only of sexual relations, an expectation of these men, but not canonically mandatory. Nor did the putative separation have anything to do with declaring these marriages legally invalid (during the first millennium, marriage was a legal contract, not a sacramental union): deacons or priests were still free, at times, to visit their wives and families.

The second belief declared ‘fantasy’ and ‘untrue’ by Bertram is that celibacy was imposed by Pope Gregory VII. Again, Bertram is wrong. Gregory did not forbid men already married from entering such major orders as the diaconate and priesthood, as long as they practiced sexual continence, but he did forbid clergy from marrying after ordination. He did, therefore, impose celibacy on a particular category of men.

Gregory’s first stipulation (on sexual continence) was ratified by the first Lateran Council in 1123, and by the second Lateran Council in 1139, the latter with the addition that marriages entered into by major clergy after ordination were invalid.

The third of these beliefs declared ‘fantasy’ and ‘untrue’ by Bertram is that celibacy was imposed because of hatred of the body, ‘of human sex’, in other words. But if you look closely at the history of the Church’s treatment of married clergy, the only aspect of marriage frowned upon was sexual relations between husband and wife; nothing else was forbidden: married priests were free to visit their wives and families, and free not to deny their married status. The fact that only sex was forbidden does suggest an unhealthy fear of it (a neurosis of sorts) in the Church of this period, and thereafter.


You are right, Magna. Neither Bertram nor any of his Oratorian brethren including his recent Provost – Very Rev Daniel Seward, whose sudden departure awaits explanation – had any problems with Anglicans coming over with their wives and still practising- the mind boggle – “relations”.


MC at 9.41pm

Interestingly when you say it is not a sacramental union. So in other words, marriage wasnt a sacrament that time but rather a legal contract for tax purposes.

Long time ago when i visited Rome only once as i learned that there was first 26 popes who were married, Also i found out there was a pope named ‘Joan’ as she was found at the end when she fainted at mass (they discovered he was a she and prgenant), So there was a female catholic priest there.


There seems to be an extreme dearth of handsome Irish men when you guys have to drool obsessively over a single person, and he a deacon.


“ the young former seminarian believes that Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin did nothing to help clear the young men’s names.”
“Archbishop Martin talks about fostering vocations and looking after seminarians and his priests. This young man gave four years of his life to the seminary and was hung out to dry, the Archbishop did a Pontius Pilate,”


That’s alright then! Keep it up, Sean … or rather not! Seriously, is not ridiculous that while we trust other professionals in public service such as teachers, police, medical and social workers to observe standards of appropriate decorum and probity, we start off pretending young seminarians will never have sex again and then get so flustered when we find out that they do, we are incapable of handling it, and so either pretend it is not happening, or snoop and pry on guys like Michael Byrne and Sean Jones until we have the satisfaction of catching them out. They are both in major orders, so if they are working well with people, then thank the Lord somebody has gone into ministry who doesn’t wear a biretta and sign petitions opposing contraception. Rather those two than the Oratorians, ISCK – or whatever it’s called – or the FSSP, NeoCats, Opus Dei or any other assorted nutters!


Pat, I wonder if you ever see yourself as a spiritual guide to these priests who find themselves in difficulty, whatever the reason might be. You are someone who experiecend a lot of difficulty and pain in your life and I think that you have a lot to offer.
I wonder if you ever pray for them. Maybe let them know you are praying for them and encourage them to follow the Lord with a sincere heart.
I think that you have a lot to offer.


I have worked with a number of priests who have got into difficulty.
You might even be surprised to learn some of their names.
I do pray for them all the time.
I am open to helping anyone in any way.


We got on very well. He came with his wife and two children. We went out for lunch together. We are exploring his place in The Oratory Society.


Sammy Wilson has done big favours for me and I have voted for him because of that.
The DUP would not be my party of chiuce


– choice –
PS: I am not Irish but I didn’t vote for a border down the Irish sea. It’s all a bit worrying.


Can a person join the Oratory while still remaining in their own Church?

Btw I am glad to hear you pray for priests who experience difficulty.


Yes they can.

But the Reverend Kevin is no longer a member of the Methodist Church and is seeking to belong to a new, liberal Christian community.


He has mainly ministered in South Africa. There his ministry mainly concerned ministering to the marginalised in all kinds of ways. He has a deep spirituality and skills in the areas of training leaders and psychology.


As long as he doesn’t form any… well, let’s just say, “intense friendships” with young men. It happened at the Birmingham Oratory, it can happen again.


10.51: You seem very well acquainted with the ways of the human psyche! Seems too like you’re talking from personal experience in admitting that despite “promises” to be renewed it’s easy to fall into repeat sordid behaviour, that it’s easy to chase after men again or be chased to be and to find a f**k buddy, as you say! Somehow your comment is of the transference behaviour kind!! Your own behaviour probably mirrors that of M. Byrne!!!


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