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Church Militant has learned from extremely reliable sources that the Vatican investigation into disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick appears to have gone into cover-up mode.
In an unbelievable turn of events, Church investigators are now presenting the accusations against McCarrick from a former altar boy as not credible. But what is proving to be astonishing is the rationale.
The case as laid out to Church Militant is that the then-16-year-old boy went to St. Patrick's Cathedral to seek out McCarrick and serve midnight Mass in 1972 where McCarrick groped and fondled him in the sacristy.
Even though the boy did not go to St. Patrick's with any sexual intentions in mind, investigators for the Vatican are spinning the details in such a way as to say that McCarrick is at least partially exonerated, if not totally, because the boy presented himself to McCarrick and McCarrick did not pursue him.
Additionally, they say that since the boy was 16, a question now arises regarding the age of consent and if this could still be viewed as sexual abuse of a minor.
The investigators now appear to be scuttling both parts of the accusations — was it actual "abuse" and was the boy an actual minor?
Those with intimate knowledge of the investigation are saying it's part of a "cover-up," claiming the Vatican is trying to recast the molestation as somehow consensual sex — a theme actually brought forward by Chicago Cdl. Blase Cupich at the bishops' November meeting in Baltimore — that consensual homosexual sex involving a priest is a different matter.
New York Cdl. Timothy Dolan's entire charge of credible evidence against McCarrick was now severely jeopardized by the way the Vatican was spinning the case.
And this is why: James Grein, longtime victim of McCarrick, was interviewed at length by New York archdiocese judicial vicar Richard Welch last week about details surrounding his abuse at the hands of McCarrick.
With Dolan's original case against McCarrick apparently blown out of the water by Vatican investigators, Dolan needed to put together another case and do it fast. This one would have to be airtight, and in the case of James Grein, he found it.
Grein's story first appeared in The New York Times but did not identify him by his full name. He first came completely public at the Silence Stops Now rally in Baltimore hosted by Church Militant and a coalition of concerned lay groups.
Between the New York Times article, his speech at the rally, his interview with Taylor Marshall and an additional interview he gave Church Militant following his testimony against McCarrick given in New York last week, it appears Dolan may have his airtight case.
But what is extremely telling — as well as disturbing — according to insiders, is that the knee-jerk response from the Vatican seems to be to want to cover up, or in the very least discredit and downplay, the charges against McCarrick, and that, faithful Catholics tell Church Militant, is a big red flag that the Vatican is more concerned with cover-up than the truth.
At the moment, U.S. bishops are huddled at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago for a week-long retreat about sex abuse ordered by Pope Francis, and in just six weeks time, the sex abuse summit gets underway in Rome.
Given these latest developments and leaks, many are thinking that all of this is just one huge smokescreen, that Rome has no real concern about this issue, too easily adopts a "blame the victim" approach and is content to treat this entire scandal as just an "American thing" that will be forgotten soon enough.
Conclusion: Rome and Pope Francis are the problem here — Rome, Pope Francis and the homosexual clerical culture dominating the Church.
Stay close to Church Militant for further news as developments warrant.