US bishops should consider hiring an outside investigator to find out “who knew what and when” over the McCarrick scandal, the Bishop of Lafayette has said.
Bishop Timothy Doherty said prayers and apologies to survivors of abuse were “necessary, but not sufficient”, adding that people deserve to know how Archbishop McCarrick’s alleged misdeeds went unreported for so long.
Writing for his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Doherty said he was not surprised that the scandal had “renewed public inquiry about all of us bishops.”
“Who knew what and when, and did not report it?” he added.
“The report on Archbishop McCarrick did surprise me. I had not heard even a whisper about him. There is evidence that various people made allegations and had reported them in the United States and in Rome. What has gone wrong? We deserve to find out.”
The bishop added that it is “not impossible” for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to appoint an outside investigator.
“This happened in 2002 when the whole body of the USCCB voted to engage the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to research the matter of clergy abuse of minors,” he said.
His comments come as other bishops begin speaking out on the scandal.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the USCCB, said Archbishop McCarrick will “rightly face” a Vatican canonical investigation into the sex abuse allegations against him.
He added that the US Church must address the “moral failures of judgment” of its leaders, and that the allegations “reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church.”
“They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me,” he said. “They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done to protect the people of God.
“Both the abuses themselves, and the fact that they have remained undisclosed for decades, have caused great harm to people’s lives and represent grave moral failures of judgment on the part of church leaders.”
Archbishop McCarrick resigned as a cardinal last week, the first to do so since the 1920s.