While the United States was reeling last week from an utterly chaotic election, the Vatican decided it was the right moment to publish its long-awaited report into disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The mammoth document is a nauseating account of clerical coverup, cowardice, and complicity that prioritizes subtle finger-pointing and deflection over real accountability. Those expecting an explanation of how a serially accused predator was catapulted through the church hierarchy despite serious allegations and rumors of assault and indecent behavior will be left not merely disappointed but disillusioned.
Equally unsatisfactory is its failure to disclose the extent to which this highly compromised man played a role in fostering relations between the Vatican and China and in helping to secure the controversial Sino-Vatican accord. While acknowledging that McCarrick made frequent trips to China over more than two decades and that his activities there, as in other countries, “constituted a form of soft diplomacy” for the Vatican, the report effectively brushes