Poll: Americans Think Cardinals Are Lying

by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 6, 2018   

88 percent disbelieve the cardinals who say they knew nothing about McCarrick's sex abuse

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics believe American bishops are being dishonest when they say they knew nothing about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's serial sex abuse.

In a recent poll by Church Militant, nearly 88 percent of respondents said they don't believe the claims of ignorance made by high-ranking American prelates like Cdls. Donald Wuerl, Kevin Farrell and Seán O'Malley.

These cardinals — and other U.S. prelates — have claimed that they knew nothing about the ex-cardinal's alleged habit of sexually assaulting seminarians and others.


Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, D.C. has repeatedly denied he knew about McCarrick's alleged sexual abuse. In a recent interview with dissident National Catholic Reporter, Wuerl recommended the U.S. bishops create their own investigation, instead of having an unbiased external investigation.

Cardinal Farrell, head of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, has likewise denied knowing about McCarrick's sordid behavior, even though he lived in the same rectory as McCarrick for years. Farrell said in a recent interview that he was "shocked" when he heard about the allegations against McCarrick — a claim that has been roundly panned by a skeptical public.

But Cdl. Farrell has also been accused of lying about Fr. Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ who was found to be a serial sex abuser. But Farrell claims he had no idea about Maciel's sexual activity and said he didn't know Maciel well. But other former Legionaries claim Farrell was on familiar terms with Maciel.

Cardinal O'Malley was accused of failing to act on knowledge of McCarrick after a letter was sent to him in 2015. But O'Malley claims that his staff handled the letter and deemed it not credible.

Church Militant's survey respondents are not the only ones doubting U.S. cardinals' position that they did not know about McCarrick.

For instance, an anonymous priest wrote a piece for Church Militant titled "If I Knew, So Did They." He said, "In one after another official statement, bishops are treating their priests and the laity as imbeciles who have no ability to see through yet another charade."

Ever since news of the McCarrick scandal broke in June, it was widely shared that "everyone knew" about McCarrick's sexual predation. On June 20, Rod Dreher wrote for The American Conservative:

Remember how, after Harvey Weinstein was busted as a serial sexual abuser, it emerged that a whole lot of people knew this about Weinstein, but never said anything about it? The same thing is true about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was outed today (by the Catholic Church) as having sexually abused a minor years ago.

On a similar note, Philip Lawler wrote in a First Things piece published July 24, "Why were so many others, including American bishops and Vatican officials, willing and eager to ally with McCarrick, despite the fact that 'everybody knew'? Who was promoting his interests? And whose interests was he promoting?"


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