The new Bishop of Jefferson City, Missouri has expressed his shock at the McCarrick scandal and “the silence of so many bishops who knew about him.”
Writing on the diocesan website, Bishop Shawn McKnight said the reports were “almost unbearable”, adding: “How could a brother bishop disrespect with such callousness the dignity of young boys, seminarians and priests over decades and no one called him on the carpet?”
“It is inexplicable to me. This cannot continue, and I hope with God’s grace there will be a change of culture among the clergy.”
The bishop, who was installed just six months ago, also urged any victim who has not yet come forward to do so now “so that justice may be served and healing can take place.”
Bishop McKnight was ordained in 1994 for Diocese of Wichita, Kansas and has held teaching posts at Newman University and at the Pontifical College Josephinum Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. From 2010 to 2015 he was a member of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
His comments come as bishops call for an inquiry into the allegations surrounding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl suggested on Monday that a panel of bishops could investigate claims and rumours against their fellow prelates and report the findings to Rome.
However, two bishops have said any investigation must be independent. Bishop Timothy Doherty of Lafayette said the US Conference of Catholic Bishops could hire an outside investigator to find out “who knew what, and when” over the McCarrick affair.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany also said any investigative panel “would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised.”
“While I am heartened by my brother bishops proposing ways for our Church to take action in light of recent revelations – and I agree that a national panel should be commissioned, duly approved by the Holy See – I think we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer,” Bishop Scharfenberger said.