A priest who was the personal secretary of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick said he is sickened by manipulative fundraising tactics employed while McCarrick was Archbishop of Washington. The priest called McCarrick a “manipulator” and a “devourer of souls.”
“For a portion of my priesthood, I worked directly for the foremost fund-raiser in the Church – in the whole Church, the universal Church.”
“He was a master of the art, and knew every technique and tactic to its finest point. He paired with that an extraordinary, even preternatural sense of people, what they wanted and what they needed,” Monsignor K. Bartholomew Smith wrote Feb. 15 on a blog he maintains for parishioners of St. Bernadette’s parish in Silver Spring, Maryland.
“My stomach churns at the recollection, and not only because of how successful he was at this; but also because of what he obtained by this. He received the gratitude, the affection, and the emotional dependence of untold numbers of people high and low, rich and poor, because he made himself the bestower of the approval that they craved, told them that they were good and God Himself was grateful to them, and delivered them from the authentic demands of Jesus and His Gospel.”
“This is what their giving purchased, and what his fundraising obtained. But he took more from them than just their donations, for he was a ravening manipulator of human affections, and a devourer of souls,” Bartholomew added.
The priest, who was ordained in 1998, was McCarrick’s private secretary in the early 2000s, before being appointed to serve in a similar role for Cardinal William Baum, who was then living in Rome.
Smith told his parishioners that “you would be hard pressed to find a person in our Archdiocese, Catholic or not, who did not fall for [McCarrick’s] seduction to some degree, or at some time. We all want approval; we all enjoy gratitude. He offered Divine approval and God’s own gratitude, and many were the ones who did his bidding to obtain it.”
McCarrick, Smith wrote, “was a master of convincing folks of the pernicious delusion that God Himself needed, approved, and in fact was grateful to them for the difference that they were making in the world. This, in one line, is the snake-oil song of the ecclesiastical fundraiser, and he was the all-time virtuoso chanter and enchanter.”
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