Last summer, when Theodore McCarrick's dirty secret life was publicly revealed, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said that he had never been told that McCarrick was abusing seminarians or minors.
From a July 29, 2018 article from WTOP:
Wuerl said he has never been approached with allegations of abuse by McCarrick and was unaware of the rumors that have been associated with his predecessor.We know now that is not true.
An allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was reported to Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2004, despite Wuerl’s insistence he knew nothing about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct until 2018.
Wuerl forwarded the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday.The allegations against McCarrick were brought to Wuerl while he was bishop of Pittsburgh. A former priest had come to Wuerl with complaints about a Pittsburgh priest who had molested him as a seminarian, and at the same time made accusations against McCarrick.
From the Statement of the Archdiocese of Washington:
The Archdiocese of Washington understands that in 2004 Robert Ciolek, a former priest of the Diocese of Metuchen, filed a complaint in the Diocese of Pittsburgh asserting claims of abuse arising from an adult relationship as a seminarian with a Pittsburgh Diocese priest assigned to the faculty of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, where Mr. Ciolek was studying. In that same complaint, the Archdiocese understands that Mr. Ciolek claimed that years prior, he as an adult seminarian also experienced inappropriate activity involving Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. At that time, the Archdiocese understands that Mr. Ciolek requested confidentiality for the information he submitted.Wuerl immediately acted upon both complaints. Since McCarrick was a cardinal and not even in Wuerl's diocese, Wuerl had no authority to personally act against him. Only the Pope has the authority to act against bishops.
As noted in the CNA article cited above, Wuerl took the only action open to him, and that was to report McCarrick to the Vatican through the US Papal Nuncio. It was then up to the Vatican to act upon that report. St. John Paul II was the pope at that time, and for whatever reason, he did not act upon this report.
So what's the deal? Why would Wuerl lie about his knowledge of McCarrick's misconduct? Wuerl did not try to cover for McCarrick at that time. He did exactly what he was expected to do by making a report to the Vatican. Wuerl had nothing to be ashamed of in the actions he took in 2004, and in fact can point to these actions as proof that he acted against abusers on behalf of the victims.
So why lie about his knowledge of McCarrick's behavior when he was confronted in 2018?
National Catholic Register gives us four reasons why they think Wuerl lied. It should be noted that National Catholic Register is owned by EWTN, who just named Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as "Best Person of 2018". Their bias against Pope Francis and anyone, including Church hierarchy, who supports him is blatantly obvious. Cardinal Wuerl is in close contact with Pope Francis as one of his advisers. I will let the reader connect the dots.
NCR starts out with this statement:
So let’s state the obvious: Based on the evidence at hand, Cardinal Wuerl knew about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with adults at least 14 years ago, and lied about it.So far we are in agreement. Can't argue with the facts.
That said, Wuerl’s refusal to acknowledge the truth is even more puzzling, given his past effort to flag McCarrick’s misbehavior. Back in 2004, when Wuerl served as Bishop of Pittsburgh, he informed the papal nuncio about a claim against McCarrick filed by a former New Jersey seminarian.
NCR gives us four reasons why Wuerl did not reveal his prior knowledge of McCarrick:
1. He gambled that the evidence would not come to light.
2. It was too late to set the record straight.
3. Wuerl believed his record was credible.
4. Wuerl Had More to HideNone of these reasons hold water. In 2004, Wuerl acted completely appropriately by going to the Vatican. He never made any attempt to cover up for McCarrick in any way. In 2018, Wuerl could have easily told the truth about his 2004 actions, saying he was told about McCarrick and did everything he had the authority to do. That would have been the end of the story.
Since Wuerl had no reason to lie in order to protect himself, who was he protecting with his lie?
The only fathomable explanation is that Wuerl lied to protect the Vatican. In effect, he fell on his sword, taking the heat for the inaction of Pope St. John Paul II. We don't know why JPII did not act upon this report. It is possible that for some reason, he never received it. Or, as he did with Marcial Maciel, he may have refused to believe these allegations against McCarrick.
Cardinal Wuerl is still not pointing the finger at anyone but himself. He now apologizes for his "lapse in memory" as he states in his January 15 letter to Washington priests.
It is very difficult to believe that Wuerl could have forgotten a report he made to the Vatican about one of the most powerful Cardinals in the Catholic Church. He could so easily take the heat off of himself by just saying, "I reported it, and it was the Vatican who did not act." Yet in none of his statements does he ever accuse the Vatican of any wrongdoing in any way.
Personally, I think Cardinal Wuerl should not protect the Vatican. He should just tell the truth. That is the only way any of this can be effectively dealt with.
But Cardinal Wuerl will not do anything that will bring reproach upon his superiors. He takes all of the abuse and hatred that is spewed against him without any deflection whatsoever. He is a loyal soldier to a fault, literally.
I know most people do not view the Cardinal in this light. They really get off on hating him and accusing him of being in league with the devil himself. But an unbiased look at the facts does not support that belief in any way.
Cardinal Wuerl sort of reminds me of King David, who would not raise his hand against God's anointed even though it could have cost him his life. Certainly the Vatican, despite the mistakes and even corruption that is found there, cannot be likened to the evil King Saul. But the common factor is that both are the anointed of God, and we must respect them as such, even when they are wrong.
When historians look back on this time, I believe Cardinal Donald Wuerl will be completely vindicated of any wrongdoing other than lying to protect his superiors. It is those who are hurling hateful accusations and viciously attacking him who will be exposed as the real enemies of the Church.
Hate and division are never the actions of the Holy Spirit.