Though some commentators have argued that the disgraced cardinal was no more active during Pope Francis’ papacy than during the tenure of his German predecessor, some news outlets registered a notable uptick in the his profile post-2013.
Among the claims made in Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell letter released this week is the contention then-Pope Benedict XVI ordered Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to quietly withdraw from active ministry in 2011, and that the penalty was lifted by Pope Francis in 2013.
While Pope Francis has yet to respond to this specific allegation, Archbishop Viganò’s statement has prompted a review of Cardinal McCarrick’s activities during the past five years since Pope Francis’ election in 2013.
The former cardinal retired from active ministry June 20, following confirmation from the Archdiocese of New York of “credible and substantiated” allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor.
But until that time, he moved freely across the national and global stage, from high-profile visits to China and Cuba to Masses concelebrated with cardinals and bishops, and board meetings for the Papal Foundation and Catholic Relief Services.
Though some Catholic commentators have argued that the disgraced cardinal was no more active during Pope Francis’ papacy than during the tenure of his German predecessor, some news outlets registered a notable uptick in McCarrick’s profile post-2013.
“McCarrick is one of a number of senior churchmen who were more or less put out to pasture during the 8-year pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI,” wrote David Gibson for a 2014 Religion News Service story, which made a point echoed by a recent Washington Post story. “But now Francis is pope,” Gibson’s article continued, “and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper … and McCarrick himself are back in the mix and busier than ever.”
Asked to explain why he was less visible previously, Cardinal McCarrick told Religion News Service that Pope Benedict was “anxious to bring the church back to where he thought it should be, and I guess I wasn’t one of those who he thought would help him on that. I would have obviously done what he asked.”
In the wake of Pope Francis’ election, McCarrick ramped up his already active travel schedule. He visited typhoon victims in the Philippines, and flew to China and Iran “for sensitive talks on religious freedom and nuclear proliferation,” according to the RNS article. He also joined the Pope for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and was appointed to an interfaith delegation organized by the U.S. State Department that traveled to the Central African Republic.
Read more at National Catholic Register