In the latest revelation about Donald Wuerl — that, contrary to his claims of ignorance, he knew about McCarrick’s misconduct for at least 14 years — he emerges as the amoral but self-protective bureaucrat, undone by his own pass-the-buck-style record-keeping, which gives a grimly ironic dimension to his downfall.
Wuerl’s policy wasn’t one of zero tolerance but of zero legal exposure, and toward that end he needed to keep records of complaints he had received and transmitted to the papal nuncio. One of McCarrick’s victims, Robert Ciolek, had the presence of mind to ask the Diocese of Pittsburgh to see a personnel file related to his settlement, which established his memory of events: that he had told the Pittsburgh diocesan review board about McCarrick’s predation, and that Wuerl, at Ciolek’s request, had spoken with the papal nuncio about the complaint.
Ciolek wasn’t permitted to make a copy of the documents in the file but he caught a glimpse of its most relevant section, which apparently left the Diocese of Pittsburgh with no choice but to admit Wuerl’s knowledge, as much as that must have pained Wuerl’s hand-picked successor in Pittsburgh, Bishop David Zubik. No doubt Wuerl is furious at Zubik for letting Ciolek gaze at those pesky paragraphs. Reported the Washington Post:
Ciolek traveled to Pittsburgh in early December, where he was allowed to see a portion of a file about his case. It was the priest personnel file of the Pittsburgh priest Ciolek says abused him in seminary. Diocesan officials would not allow Ciolek to make copies of or photograph the documents.
However, he said he saw a very brief — perhaps one or two short paragraphs — memo in the file. From his memory, Ciolek said the document was dated right around the time of his Pittsburgh testimony. The words were typed, he said.
“It memorialized Wuerl’s meeting with the papal nuncio earlier that week, and indicated he had shared with the papal nuncio, Archbishop Montalvo, the details involving allegations I had made about McCarrick.” The memo was in the first person, Ciolek said, and included Wuerl’s handwritten initials after his printed name. It said nothing about any response by Montalvo or anything else, Ciolek said.
Caught out in a huge lie, Wuerl is now telling new lies of such pathetic Clintonian straining that they are not even worth engaging. Lying for months, Wuerl knew that he had to head off Ciolek and made sure to have his phalanx of lawyers stonewall him for as long as possible. Ciolek requested a meeting with Wuerl in the hopes of getting him to come clean, but Wuerl wouldn’t grant it without extensive conditions, according to the Post. Until just days ago, Wuerl’s lawyers were still hoping to pacify Ciolek, but Ciolek had grown tired of Wuerl’s duplicity:
Ciolek, who comes from a devout, churchgoing family, said he wanted Wuerl to apologize and own up to what happened, actions he feels could be an important part of Catholic healing.
“My hope was real reform, permanent change, serious steps,” he said. “Wuerl’s honesty and apology would have gone a long way to giving the Catholic community better hope that the church is serious about change.”
Beyond busting Wuerl as a liar, Ciolek’s revelation also confirms Wuerl’s indifference to the threat of McCarrick as a predator. For at least 14 years, Wuerl knew of McCarrick’s predatory habits and didn’t take any steps to protect his priests and seminarians from him. Wuerl related to McCarrick not as a shepherd of souls or a protector of his flock but as a corrupt peer willing to overlook his predation. Just a year or so after hearing Ciolek’s story of harassment at McCarrick’s hands, Wuerl was feting McCarrick and praising his predecessor’s tenure. Wuerl’s diocesan newspaper would consistently give McCarrick glowing coverage and the two would often concelebrate masses together. Just go back and look at all the pictures of the two schmoozing together at this or that gala. All the while Wuerl knew McCarrick had introduced grave corruption into the Church.
Read more at the American Spectator