Pope Francis has said that he did not know anything about accusations of sexual abuse by Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal and Archbishop of Washington, prior to when the accusations became public in 2018.
“I knew nothing about McCarrick, of course, nothing. I have said it several times, I knew nothing,” Pope Francis said in an interview with a Mexican journalist published May 28.
Reiterating that he knew nothing beforehand, Francis said the McCarrick case was clear-cut, and emphasized that he acted both before the Vatican process against McCarrick by removing him from the College of Cardinals, and after, when he was found guilty, by dismissing him from the clerical state.
“You know that I did not know anything about McCarrick, otherwise I would not have remained silent,” Pope Francis told Valentina Alazraki. The 13,000-word interview was published on Vatican News in Spanish and Italian.
Pope Francis and the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith dismissed McCarrick from the clerical state in February, after he found guilty in an administrative penal process of solicitation in the Sacrament of Penance and “sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults.”
In the newly published interview, Pope Francis responded to a question about his response to an August 2018 letter by former nuncio to the US Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in which Viganò claimed he told Pope Francis about the allegations concerning McCarrick in 2013.
Viganò also claimed Vatican officials knew of McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct for years, eventually leading to a restriction on the archbishop’s ministry by Benedict XVI in the late 2000s, and a subsequent restoration of McCarrick’s place as a papal advisor by Pope Francis.
Since their publication, Pope Francis has not responded to the charges contained in the Viganò letter, and instead has encouraged journalists to investigate the allegations.
Read more at Catholic News Agency