Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, now that the din of the McCarrick Report has died down a bit — the report written by the Secretariat of State ad usum Delphini — I will softly allow myself to glean from a few details, which however are not details.
We all recall the interview that [Mexican journalist] Valentina Alazraki gave to him, and her question about McCarrick and Viganò. Valentina asked: "There are some who continue to think that it's true and continue to wonder whether you knew or not about McCarrick. In the press, there are obviously all sorts of things being said."
Pope Francis answered:
I knew nothing, obviously, of McCarrick. Nothing, nothing. I said several times that I didn't know, that I had no idea. You know that I didn't know anything about McCarrick; otherwise, I would not have stayed quiet. The reason for my silence was first of all that the proofs were there; I said to you all: "Judge for yourselves." It was truly an act of trust. And then, regarding what I said to you about Jesus, that in moments of fury one cannot speak, because it is worse. Everything goes against it. The Lord has shown us this path, and I follow it.
Now, let's also recall that on June 23, 2013, when Abp. Viganò had an audience with the new pope, it was Bergoglio who brought up McCarrick, not the nuncio.
The pope asked him something like this: "What is McCarrick like?" And in fact after the interview, Abp. Viganò declared: "He is pretending that he does not recall what I told him about McCarrick, and he is pretending that he wasn't the one who asked me about McCarrick in the first place." And Viganò concluded: "That the pope would say that he did not know anything is a lie." Now, we know that this pope, alas, permits himself, shall we say, tiny liberties with the truth, both the truth of the past as well as the truth of intentions.
But was it really like this? Was McCarrick for him just one cardinal among many? And no one had said anything to him? Now from the report prepared by the Secretariat of State, in which — in an absolutely stunning way — testimony is missing from both the Secretary of State, Cdl. Angelo Sodano, who was the absolute protagonist of the last phase of the pontificate of John Paul II, as well as that of Benedict XVI's secretary of state, Cdl. Tarcisio Bertone — it emerges that two of Pope Bergoglio's principal collaborators had spoken to him of Theodore McCarrick, and in what way.
As for then-archbishop Angelo Becciu — who at the time was the substitute in the Secretary of State — the report states that Becciu recalled in an interview "having mentioned to Pope Francis the existence of old accusations regarding McCarrick in 2013 and then once again at a certain point between 2014 and 2016."
Becciu came to know some important information, since in 2000 he worked as an official in the nunciature in Washington, thereby becoming a witness to the concern of Nuncio Gabriel Montalvo about McCarrick's misdeeds. The report states that Becciu "said to Pope Francis that Nuncio Montalvo appeared shocked when he learned of the appointment in Washington because Montalvo had excluded McCarrick from the terna after receiving letters that reported accusations made by others about McCarrick's prior immoral conduct with a seminarian."
But not only that, Becciu also told the Holy Father that "it was his conviction that McCarrick was subsequently forbidden to travel, and that this was in relation to the same accusations that had emerged prior to his appointment to Washington."
The report recounts an occasion in which McCarrick came to Rome, saying that "Abp. Becciu recalled asking rhetorically: 'But what is McCarrick doing here? He should not be here.'"
The other important person who brought McCarrick to the pontiff's attention is the present secretary of state, Pietro Parolin.
In March 2016, McCarrick wrote to Pope Bergoglio and Cdl. Parolin. The American cardinal addressed Francis in these words: "Holy Father, thank you for letting me pursue these small works of mine. I hope that I can be useful to you and to the Church and am, of course, always willing to let everything pass if in any way You would prefer that I go into a deeper retirement or into a house of prayer." This last sentence is interesting and telling: reading it, it seems evident that McCarrick took it for granted that Pope Francis was aware of the "restrictions" that had been placed on his life by the Vatican; and perhaps the two had talked about it in previous conversation.
Here it is also useful to recall that shortly prior to June 23, 2013, Abp. Viganò had run into McCarrick as he came out of an audience with the Pope, and seeing the nuncio, he said to him with a big smile in a triumphant tone: "He is sending me to China."
The report states that Cdl. Parolin had received a similar letter [from McCarrick] and he took the occasion to speak about the McCarrick case. According to what is said in the report, Parolin said in "a brief conversation with Pope Francis that McCarrick was 'gossiped about' regarding past imprudent acts with adults and that the Congregation for Bishops had previously indicated to McCarrick that he should lead a more reserved life and not travel so much." The report continues by saying that "Cdl. Parolin recalled that he 'did not present it as a matter of grave concern or as something very serious,'" but that he asked if anything should be done, noting, "He keeps writing. He continues to travel. He continues to meet people." Cardinal Parolin recalled that Pope Francis commented that "maybe McCarrick could still do something useful."
And that is where the McCarrick question would still stand, had not James Grein, the seminarian who McCarrick had molested when he was still a minor, decided to bring legal action against him, making the bomb explode.
These are the pieces of the puzzle. It is up to each one of you to decide how credible Pope Bergoglio's "distractions" are, his lapses in memory (or his lies, if we want to believe Viganò), and also how credible a report is that seeks to shift all responsibility onto a pope who at the time was very ill and trusted his collaborators. And yet the report, prepared by the very same people — the Secretariat of State — who were actually a party to the dispute, was very careful not to question him [Bergoglio]. I wonder why.