The news that Theodore McCarrick recently moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living has fueled speculation that a report from the Vatican’s internal investigation on McCarrick will soon be released.
But while the report may be completed in Rome, its release may not be imminent, and some U.S. bishops may be quietly hoping for further delays.
The report is the fruit of an internal Vatican investigation into the career of McCarrick, who was a cardinal and the archbishop of two major American sees before he was found canonically guilty of serial sexual abuse and laicized.
In October 2018, just months after sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick first emerged, the Vatican said that Pope Francis had commissioned a study of the Vatican archival files on McCarrick, “in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”
Since the study was announced, American Catholics have called for the release of its findings. In recent months, the report’s release has become highly anticipated.
In November, Cardinal Sean O’Malley told the U.S. bishops’ conference that the Vatican intended to publish the report “soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year.”
O’Malley said that he had seen a “hefty document,” which was being translated into Italian for the benefit of Pope Francis, before its imminent release.
“The long wait has resulted in great frustration on the part of bishops and our people, and indeed a harsh and even cynical interpretation of the seeming silence,” O’Malley acknowledged.
In December, Bishop Earl Boyea said he had told been told by the pope that the report would be issued “probably after the beginning of the new year.”
And McCarrick’s January move to an undisclosed priests’ residence was apparently motivated, at least in part, by a desire to avoid media attention when the report is released. That move has led to speculation that the report could be issued at any time.
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