The Stain of Theodore McCarrick Is Impossible to Expunge

His legacy lives on in his “nephews” who preside over dioceses hemorrhaging money, including — alarmingly — pension funds.

The Vatican’s long-promised report on the Theodore McCarrick scandal has yet to materialize. Meanwhile, his “nephews” continue to rise in the Church, often taking positions within the inner circle of Pope Francis. Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who roomed with McCarrick for five years in Washington, D.C., has been appointed by Pope Francis to the position of camerlengo, which means that he will preside over the next papal conclave. According to the National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters, who serves as a stenographer for the American bishops around Pope Francis, Farrell may receive another papal plum this year: a seat on the powerful Congregation for Bishops.

Winters writes that the seat is likely to go to either Farrell or Joseph Tobin, who is another “nephew” of McCarrick, having received his position as archbishop of Newark through the string-pulling of McCarrick. Donald Wuerl, who covered for McCarrick, currently sits on the Congregation for Bishops but is nearing 80, which will require that he step down, says Winters:

Of special concern to Americans will be the likely naming of a new American prelate to be a member of the Congregation for Bishops when Cardinal Donald Wuerl turns 80 on Nov. 12. This is an onerous job, but a consequential one, requiring monthly trips to Rome but also providing a seat at the table when new candidates for the episcopacy are discussed and referred to the pope.

There are really only two candidates at the moment: Cardinal Joe Tobin, who lives 10 minutes from the airport in Newark, New Jersey, and Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who is already in Rome as prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Either one would be an excellent choice as both are champions of Francis and neither is an alumnus of the North American College. It is imperative that the nuncio and the congregation look beyond the walls of the North American College for candidates.

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