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Then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick waves to fellow bishops as he attends a prayer service with Pope Francis and more than 300 U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington Sept. 23, 2015. (CNS photo/Jonathan Newton, The Washington Post, pool)

By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Nov 11, 2020

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio

The McCarrick Report, hyped for months as a candid Vatican exploration of an ecclesiastical scandal, is actually a clever bid to deflect attention away from the real scandal.

The 450-page report fails to explain how Theodore McCarrick rose to prominence, influenced Vatican policies and appointments, and remained influential even after his sexual misconduct was recognized by reluctant Vatican officials. Instead it relates what informed observers already knew, adding enough salacious detail to distract those who are new to the story. The Report gives reporters an opportunity to blame two former Pontiffs for excusing McCarrick’s transgressions, brushing away comparable charges against Pope Francis. And it saves its harshest criticism for the whistle-blower whose revelations forced the Vatican to give a public accounting for this scandal.  …

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