Cardinal-elect Wilton Gregory has admitted to being “deeply ashamed and profoundly angry” at the failures of the Church revealed in the Vatican ‘McCarrick Report’.

– Scandal of predator former cardinal reveals “failures of competence, communication and culture” on the part of the hierarchy

The report on the molester former cardinal and Archbishop of Washington Thedore McCarrick “is about unconscionable human violation and the pain that too many people endured at the hands of a deceitful man who only pretended to want what was best for them in order to get what he wanted for himself”, Gregory, the current Archbishop of Washington, acknowledged in a statement November 16.

Further, Gregory recognised that the McCarrick Report is also about Catholic leaders “who upon their ordination promised our Heavenly Father that they would always put His precious people first; yet, through failures of competence, communication and culture, they seem to have completely mismanaged what they came to know about this devious man”.

Gregory – who is slated to be elevated by Pope Francis to the College of Cardinals November 28 – said that those blind spots of bishops are “dark corners of our Church of which I am deeply ashamed and profoundly angry”.

The McCarrick Report “pushed into sunlight a culture that has too often served not to build up our cherished Catholic Church – Jesus Christ’s greatest Gift to us – but to undermine it, far beyond the amoral ecclesiastical tenure of a single fallen cleric”, Gregory admitted.

He acknowledged that “those of us in leadership have too often failed to understand, to acknowledge, to respond to, and to prevent the damage done to our innocent faithful – minors and adults”.

The archbishop hit out at McCarrick for allowing himself “to be motivated by his own sinful gratification rather than the diametrically opposite Gospel call to go and make disciples for Jesus Christ”.

“For a priest of His Church there can be no greater failing, except possibly to be aware of such incongruity and, in response, do nothing”, Gregory lamented.

But beyond the sins of a single man, Gregory noted “how large and how enduring a step” on transparency and accountability among the hierarchy more broadly “remains to be proven to the countless people we have disappointed”.

“There are challenges to our integrity that must be overcome before we can move forward, and yet paradoxically it seems we can’t move meaningfully forward until that integrity is restored. This will require time and transparency, contrition and commitment, prayer and reconciliation, authenticity and humility”, the cardinal-elect recognised.

– Bishop Mark E. Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston suggests reforms to secret process of episcopal appointments to prevent another McCarrick

The US Bishops are meeting online yesterday and today for their Fall General Assembly, at which they devoted over half an hour of discussion on Monday to the McCarrick Report.

Bishop Michael F. Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, called for clarity around the financial gifts McCarrick was known for offering to people and organisations but which are not mentioned in the Vatican report.

Because, the bishop said, “we have to give an accounting to the faithful for this. We have to respond to their questions, and this is one of several issues that they are asking”.

For his part, Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, called for assistance in identifying the personality traits of “predators” like McCarrick, while Bishop Mark E. Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia – who himself succeeded scandal-ridden bishop Michael Bransfield – urged reforms to the secret process of episcopal nominations to weed out men like McCarrick.

“To me, it will be helpful to avoid future problems if that name [of an episcopal nominee] be made known, that name be published… in a time frame of a 30 or 60 days for people to comment”, Bishop Brennan reflected. “You might well surface things at that time that would affirm the appointment… or a deterrent to say that ‘this is not a good idea'”.

– Cardinal Cupich chides bishops who sided with Viganò over Pope in McCarrick allegations

Cardinal Blase Cupich of the archdiocese of Chicago, in the meantime, welcomed the publication of the McCarrick Report as a “watershed moment” for the Church, and said that the document is in that sense something that the US Bishops “should continue to study and read”.

“But let’s be honest about this – the report mandated by the Holy Father was historic, and so were his initiatives, and we have structures in place now to move forward and we should pay attention to that. But also doing it in a way that’s in unity and respecting collegiality with him”, Cupich continued.

The cardinal criticised without naming them those bishops in the US who took sides in the McCarrick scandal with former nuncio in the US Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who went so far as to push for the Pope Francis’ ouster over the scandal swirling around the former cardinal but who has now been discredited by the evidence presented in the McCarrick Report.

“We have to make sure that we never again have a situation where anyone from our Conference is taking sides in this – with the Holy Father or challenging him or even being with those who are calling for his resignation. That kind of thing really has to cease, and the Holy Father has appointed a way in which we take up this initiative together in a collegial manner”, Cupich insisted.

Discussions on Day 1 of the USCCB Fall General Assembly

Novena’s full coverage of reactions to the ‘McCarrick Report’:

Amid fallout from ‘McCarrick Report’, ‘Voice of the Faithful’ alerts of drop in US dioceses’ financial transparency

Analysis by Novena US contributor Matt Kappadakunnel: Defund the Bishops

Lay accountability group urges Francis to accept “resignations of all those involved” in McCarrick cover-up

It’s not just McCarrick: Record of John Paul II on abuse comes under scrutiny in Poland, France

11/11: General Audience: Pope rues “sad” ‘McCarrick Report’, renews Church’s commitment to eradicate “evil” of clergy sex abuse

Abuse survivors call for “immediate… punishment and expulsion” of McCarrick cronies: “Awareness is meaningless without concrete action”

US Bishops express “sorrow and apologies” for McCarrick scandal, “another tragic chapter in the Church’s long struggle” against abuse

Vatican releases report on ex-cardinal McCarrick, says John Paul hired him, Benedict fired but did not try him and Francis trusted in predecessors


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.