Then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington faces the press in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 24, 2002. U.S cardinals met for a summit with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican April 23-24, 2002, as the sex abuse crisis unfolded in the United States. Cardinal McCarrick was a key spokesman for the bishops during the summit. (CNS photo/Paolo Cocco, Reuters)

Archbishop Jose Gomez called the just-released McCarrick report “another tragic chapter in the church’s long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy.” It is indeed that, but it is also an unprecedented effort at transparency and openness on the part of the church.

For two years U.S. Catholics have waited for this accounting. It is a painful, at times graphic story of moral corruption and institutional mistakes. Yet this report is an important moment in the life of the church, following Pope Francis’ lead to bring the truth to light without fear or favor.

The McCarrick Report:
A Tragic Chapter, A Full Accounting

Two years after Pope Francis called for a full accounting of how Theodore McCarrick was able to rise through church ranks and promised to make the report public, the McCarrick Report, issued Nov. 10, is a devastating portrait of  personal deception and institutional blindness, of opportunities missed and faith shattered.

At the same time, it is also the story of an unparalleled effort at transparency, revealing a church that is committed to the accountability of its leaders at all levels. Today and in the week ahead, Catholic News Service is examining all aspects of the report. It is also reminding readers of the vulnerability of victims who will suffer further pain as incidents of abuse are brought to light.


Overview of the investigation’s findings, including St. John Paul II’s reluctance to believe allegations against Theodore McCarrick.

Leaders of Catholic communities where McCarrick served welcome the report.

McCarrick investigation includes unprecedented interviews with both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict.

Pope Francis has taken a series of ground-breaking initiatives to address abuse and the toleration of abusers and is holding bishops and cardinals accountable.

Victim survivors acknowledge that while a recurrence of PTSD can occur when high- profile news about clergy abusers breaks, such news does raise awareness.

Video report considers reasons St. John Paul II did not heed warnings regarding McCarrick’s suitability for heading the Washington Archdiocese.