I once knew a family who had a lodger. One frosty night, when the lodger came in late, there was a burst pipe with water flowing down the stairs. The lodger went to his room as usual. When he was challenged the next day for not alerting the family to the burst pipe, he replied, "I minds me own business."
Sadly, as the McCarrick case illustrates, we have had too many people within the Church saying, "I minds me own business."
Following the calls for transparency at the Vatican Abuse Summit, UK native, Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, who was McCarrick's aide in Rome for some 19 years, released copies of some of McCarrick's correspondence recently, saying, ³It is my firm hope that this information will help the Church as she further endeavours to create a culture of transparency.²
From this correspondence, it is clear that Pope Benedict did place very definite restrictions on McCarrick, and that several high ranking churchmen knew of these restrictions.
Monsignor Figueiredo reveals how in 2008 Cardinal Battista Re, then the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, informed McCarrick about the restrictions.
In an August 25, 2008 letter to Archbishop Sambi, the papal nuncio to the US, McCarrick acknowledged the restrictions and wrote, ³I could find a place to live in one of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington. The Archbishop [Wuerl] is willing to arrange for that in any area that the Holy See would desire. ..... In the future, I will make no commitments to accept any public appearances or talks without the express permission of the Apostolic Nuncio or the Holy See itself.²
In an email to Monsignor Figueiredo in October 2008, McCarrick says he has received permission from Rome to move ³to a parish, and my Archbishop has been great in beginning to work that out.² He also agreed to ³resign from all Roman and USCCB entities,² adding that he has been forbidden by Cardinal Re ³to come to Rome.²
But it wasn't long until McCarrick was ignoring the restrictions. Monsignor Figueiredo states, ³Since the restrictions imposed were not made public and despite McCarrick¹s promises, he continued his public ministry, including taking a highly visible role, interacting with high-ranking Vatican officials, public officials in the United States and around the globe.²
Amongst the events to which he travelled, was the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
Under Pope Benedict, he was acting in breach of the restrictions placed on him, but after the election of Pope Francis, Mons. Figueiredo reveals that McCarrick was operating with papal approval.
He travelled to China, Central Asia, the Balkans, the Middle East, Lebanon, the Holy Land, and many more places. He continually wrote letters to Pope Francis, informing him of his initiatives.
For example, on November 24, 2013, not long after Francis¹s election, McCarrick told him: ³I have put off my return trip to China and will make sure that I speak to Archbishop Parolin before I go the next time.² ( Parolin is Pope Francis's secretary of state.)
³I always feel better,² McCarrick wrote to Pope Francis in January of 2016,³if I know that you are aware of what I am trying to do.²
He wrote on March 23, 2016 to Monsignor Figueiredo: ³My visit [to Rome] was so very helpful and it looks as if two projects ‹ China and Islam ‹ continue to move forward slowly. .... I will try to be in contact with Cardinal Turkson and Cardinal Parolin to check on the progress of the planned meeting with the Chinese.²
On February 11, 2016, McCarrick wrote ³I just received a note from the Nuncio enclosing a message he had received ... indicating that the Holy Father would receive me when I come to Rome.²
McCarrick clearly played some active role in preparing for the concordat that Pope Francis has signed with China.
Since the concordat, there has been a severe intensification of the persecution of those Catholics who belonged to the underground Church that had remained loyal to Rome all these years. They have been thrown into detention camps and their churches and shrines bulldozed.
We are all familiar with the attempts of Russia to interfere in elections. We are not as familiar with China's propensity to use bugging and blackmail.
The heading in a recent copy of the US Catholic Reporter read,"Thirty Years After Tiananmen Massacre, China Remains a ŒSurveillance State¹."
Having someone like McCarrick involved in the negotiations with China was a major liability.
That his room was bugged is a certainty. That they would have also done their research on his background, is most likely.
We can only suspect what the Chinese may have learned, and how they may have used it.
Yours, in Christ
Thaddeus Doyle (Rev)
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