A former nuncio to the United States acknowledged hearing rumors about the sexual misconduct of Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick already in 1994.
Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, who served as pro-nuncio to the United States from 1990 to 1998, told Catholic News Service Oct. 29 that he received a phone call from a woman in the months preceding St. John Paul II’s visit to the United States in 1995.
“I remember in 1994, during the preparation of the papal visit to New York, Newark and Baltimore,” Cardinal Cacciavillan said, “I received a telephone call” at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.
According to the 93-year-old retired papal diplomat, the caller feared there would be a “media scandal if the pope goes to Newark,” Archbishop McCarrick’s diocese, because of “voices, voices (rumors) about McCarrick’s behavior with seminarians.”
“It was not a formal complaint, but the expression of a concern,” he said.
Cardinal Cacciavillan said that he took the matter to the then-archbishop of New York, Cardinal John J. O’Connor, because he was “the closest bishop. No one better than the archbishop of New York would know what was happening in the Archdiocese of Newark.”
Cardinal O’Connor carried out an “investigation, an inquiry,” he said, and told the nuncio that “there was no obstacle to the visit of the pope to Newark.”
Cardinal Cacciavillan described Cardinal O’Connor, who died in 2000, as a “very competent person,” and the retired nuncio said he had no reason to doubt the reliability of Cardinal O’Connor’s inquiry.
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