SPECIAL REPORT AT 4:30 PM ET
DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A new site is tracking how American bishops have responded to the McCarrick scandal, and where they stand on the idea of an independent investigation.
Church Transparency lists all the dioceses in the United States, the respective bishops and how the bishops have responded to the bombshell testimony of Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò, former papal nuncio to the United States. Archbishop Viganò claims that Pope Francis lifted sanctions that Pope Benedict XVI had imposed on ex-Cdl. Theodore McCarrick, an alleged homosexual predator.
On the website, prelates fall into one of four categories, based on their response to Viganò's testimony. Many U.S. bishops are in support of an investigation into Viganò's claims, while still others have given a neutral or pastoral response. A large number of bishops have no official statement on record. Only a few bishops, especially those named by Abp. Viganò as allies of McCarrick, have spoken against an investigation.
Forty-one bishops are listed as having "no public statement." Of the 148 bishops with official statements about Viganò's testimony, 80 are supporting an investigation, 63 have remained "neutral or pastoral," and only five are opposed to investigating.
In percentages, that means 54 percent of bishops with statements on the matter are in support of an investigation, 43 percent are neutral and a mere 3 percent are opposed. These statistics do not include bishops with no statement on record about Viganò's testimony.
Church Militant tried to reach out to the creator of Church Transparency, but could not get in touch with whoever is behind the website. The site merely identifies itself as "a project by a lay Catholic convert from Texas."
Further digging showed the domain was created in late August, but revealed no information about its owner.
According to the site, only five U.S. ordinaries have publicly opposed investigating Viganò's claims. Four of the five prelates were implicated by name in Viganò's initial testimony in August.
Archbishop Viganò's letter discussed Cdl. Donald Wuerl at great length, saying at one point, "His recent statements that he knew nothing about [McCarrick's sexual predation], even though at first he cunningly referred to compensation for the two victims, are absolutely laughable."
"The Cardinal lies shamelessly," Viganò commented, "and prevails upon his Chancellor, Monsignor Antonicelli, to lie as well."
Viganò references Bp. McElroy, saying that his appointment to the San Diego diocese was "orchestrated from above" by the Vatican.
The former papal nuncio testified about Cdl. Joseph Tobin and Cdl. Blase Cupich, "The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl."
He went on to call out Cdl. Cupich: "Regarding Cupich, one cannot fail to note his ostentatious arrogance, and the insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that 80 percent of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims."
Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa also opposed an investigation into Abp. Viganò's allegations. He is the only U.S. prelate opposed to an investigation who was not named in Abp. Vigano's testimony.
Jackels said in a statement on Sept. 6, "I have not read the letter accusing the Holy Father, but those who have, and who are in the know, comment on how there are many holes in the testimony, and that it is sometimes ambiguous."
He went on to argue, "With regard to the accusation, some people (even some bishops), with hardly the time for mature reflection, let alone consultation with a Review Board, have opined that it is not only credible, but that the Pope must be guilty."
Archbishop Jackels blasted Abp. Viganò's supporters, accusing them of treating the Pope as though he were guilty until proven innocent.