Update: Cardinal Farrell expresses shock over Cardinal McCarrick abuse case

IMAGE: CNS photo/Robert Duncan

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinal Kevin
J. Farrell, head of the Vatican office for laity and family, said he was
“shocked” when he heard allegations of years of sexual abuse and
harassment by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the man who ordained him a bishop
and whom he served as an auxiliary bishop for six years.

“I was shocked, overwhelmed; I
never heard any of this before in the six years I was there with him,”
Cardinal Farrell told Catholic News Service July 24.

The Irish-born cardinal was
incardinated in the Archdiocese of Washington in 1984, and shortly after
Cardinal McCarrick was named archbishop of Washington in 2000, the future
Cardinal Farrell was named his vicar general.

The Vatican official said he had
never met Cardinal McCarrick until Cardinal McCarrick became archbishop of

In late June Cardinal McCarrick, the
88-year-old retired archbishop of Washington, said he would no longer exercise
any public ministry “in obedience” to the Vatican after an allegation
he abused a teenager 47 years ago in the Archdiocese of New York was found
credible. The cardinal has said he is innocent.

The Archdiocese of Washington said
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, “at the direction of
our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is to
refrain from any public ministry or activity until a definite decision is

Since then, at least one other
person has come forward claiming Cardinal McCarrick sexually abused him as a
child, and several former seminarians have claimed that the cardinal would
invite groups of them to a beach house and insist individual members of the
group share a bed with him.

“I worked in the chancery in
Washington and never, no indication, none whatsoever,” Cardinal Farrell
said. “Nobody ever talked to me about this and I was involved, heavily
involved,” in investigating and confronting the problem of clerical sexual
abuse for the Archdiocese of Washington, especially after the U.S. bishops
approved their charter for child protection in 2002.

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of
Washington said in late June that he had requested a review of all the
Archdiocese of Washington’s records. “Based on that review, I can report
that no claim — credible or otherwise — has been made against Cardinal McCarrick
during his time here in Washington.”

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