Since the scandalous revelations of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s sexual dalliances flooded the news and social media, faithful Catholics have been demanding answers, especially ‘Who Knew?’ Most eyes are on other bishops and cardinals closest to McCarrick, but there is another connection being grossly overlooked.
For over 18 years, McCarrick served as a member of Catholic Relief Service’s Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, a position whose term limits are normally limited to 6 years. In a 2009 interview with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, McCarrick explained that CRS’ bylaws limiting terms to 6 years was changed just to accommodate him. But McCarrick didn’t only sit on CRS’ board of directors, he was actually the chairman of CRS’ Foundation board, a position he held from the time the position was created in 2006 (see page 3 of this linked document) up until his disgraceful activities were made public. The mission of the Foundation Board states the following:
The Catholic Relief Services Foundation Board helps advance CRS’s mission by advising the agency on key strategic initiatives, providing support and inspiring others to join us.
Throughout his 18 years as a member of CRS’s board, McCarrick traveled frequently to impoverished areas of the world, many of which were dealing with serious problems regarding sex tourism and the sexual trafficking of minors. Bp. Berry Knestout, new bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, served six months as McCarrick’s secretary, and issued a statement confirming McCarrick’s frequent travel for CRS:
One month after McCarrick’s behavior was publicized, CRS issued the following statement:
“CRS recently completed a thorough global review, asking our staff to report any knowledge of previously unreported or unresolved allegations of misconduct. There were a few issues that needed attention and have been addressed, but none of them were related to program visits. CRS protocol does not allow anyone — visitors or CRS employees — to be alone with children and program participants.”
There are several problems with this statement: 1) What were the unstated issues? 2) Just because there is a protocol, this doesn’t mean it was followed.
Recently, one of CRS’s regular partners, Oxfam, was found to be mired in illicit activities in Haiti with the people they were claiming to serve. While McCarrick went to Cuba with Cardinal O’Malley in 2015 for a trip unrelated to CRS, one is forced to wonder whether such protocols were in place for him then.
The point is this; McCarrick’s activities were well known among priests, reporters and bishops for a very long time, and yet, he was applauded, heralded, cheered, and allowed free range of the world without any warning or concern for the innocents his eyes were scanning for.
We already know that Archbishop Myers, Bishop Checchio, Cardinal Tobin and Bishop Bootkoski all knew about McCarrick’s abuses. We also know that Cardinal O’Malley and Bishop McElroy were sent letters detailing McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians. And given their closeness to Cardinal McCarrick, it is highly unlikely that Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal Farrell were oblivious to McCarrick’s wicked deeds.
And given the knowledge among these highly-placed bishops, and considering the fact that Catholic Relief Services is the official international aid and development program of the United States bishops, it goes without saying that CRS, at least to this capacity, knew what McCarrick was about and still allowed him to travel the world on CRS’s dime, doing God-knows-what while he is out of the limelight in the United States. And if CRS wishes to claim that it, in fact, was unaware of McCarrick’s misdeeds … which were well-known to virtually everyone else … then CRS is entirely incompetent to police itself for the other problems that have been discovered about it.
Remember, CRS is already embroiled in its own scandals as noted in a number of our previous reports:
- CRS implemented a Planned Parenthood style sex-ed curriculum in Rwanda
- CRS implemented a condom-promoting video series
- A CRS executive entered into a same-sex ‘marriage’
- CRS employees “stood” with Planned Parenthood
- 98% of CRS employee political donations go to pro-abortion candidates
- Inventory reports show CRS distributed millions of units of abortifacient contraception and condoms
- CRS’ former CEO participated in an initiative of a women’s ordination group
- CRS is a major funder of a pro-abortion lobbying group
How are we to trust CRS when it issues denials about these relationships with the culture of death when it is run by bishops who promote and protect their abusive and deviant brothers? There is a culture of corruption that is becoming evident and this MUST be addressed before true reform can take place and trust can be reestablished.