Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued this statement Nov. 11 about the Vatican’s report on Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal in Washington, D.C.
I am grateful to Pope Francis for his commitment to bringing healing to the victims of clergy sexual abuse and to preventing such cases from being mishandled in the future, regardless of the prominence of the accused perpetrator.
Yesterday we received concrete proof of his commitment to transparency and to bring the light of truth to bear on this darkest of evils that have, in the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, reached even the highest echelons of the hierarchy in the Church. This 449-page report chronicles not only the horror of McCarrick’s abuse of minors and young adults but also the mishandling of allegations by even such saintly persons as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and those that advised them, albeit due in part to having received faulty information from several now deceased New Jersey bishops and the failure of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò to investigate when told to do so while working in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican and later mishandling the case when he was papal nuncio to the United States.
When in 2017 Pope Francis first became aware of a concrete allegation against then-Cardinal McCarrick, he ordered a canonical trial of McCarrick, which in February 2019 resulted in the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.
Pope Francis also ordered the investigation, the results of which were released yesterday, of how such a person as Mr. McCarrick could have risen to the highest ranks within the Church, including who had a hand in covering up misdeeds of which they had knowledge and why allegations received previously were not taken seriously. In May 2019 Pope Francis also promulgated “Vos Estis Lux Mundi,” a papal decree which introduced sweeping changes in order to hold bishops accountable for sexual abuse or covering up, making reporting obligatory for clerics and allowing anyone to complain directly to the Vatican if needed.
To report an incident of sexual abuse and related misconduct by a Catholic bishop, contact the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service at ReportBishopAbuse.org or call (800) 276-1562.
The Diocese of Little Rock continues its commitment to keeping children safe. Anyone who has been abused sexually by a priest or representative of the Church is encouraged to contact first the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 482-5964 and then contact Deacon Matthew Glover at (501) 664-0340 ext. 361, or Laura Gottsponer, our victim assistance coordinator at (501) 664-0340 ext. 425.
We remain united in our pain and our support for all victims of sexual abuse and pray for healing and reconciliation within our Church.
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