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Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, speaking here at the U.S. Bishop fall general assembly in 2014, has been a prominent liberal voice in the U.S. Church.Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

VATICAN CITY, December 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The bishops of New Jersey and Pennsylvania have asked Pope Francis for the Vatican report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. 

Bishop Laurence T. Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania told Catholic News Service that he and his confreres discussed sexual abuse with the pontiff in a meeting held as part of the American bishops’ “ad limina” visit to the Vatican. He indicated that they also asked the Vatican to share its findings from its investigations into McCarrick

According to Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the Archbishop of Newark, Pope Francis indicated only that the report “would come.” 

Persico said the group had emphasized that American Catholics are waiting for the report on how McCarrick became both an archbishop and a cardinal when his reputation for sexual harassment was well-known. The bishop believes the report “will be helpful for transparency.” 

Referring to the Grand Jury report into clerical sexual abuse in six dioceses in Pennsylvania, Persico said it accused bishops of  “cover-up, cover-up, cover-up. “

“And this is one way that we express transparency and say, 'OK, we went up the chain to see where mistakes were made,'” he said.

“I feel confident that the Holy Father understands the importance of it and the need for it to be published.”   

Theodore McCarrick, 89, once one of the most powerful and influential prelates in the Catholic Church, was expelled from the College of Cardinals after credible allegations that he had sexually assaulted young boys were made known to the public. It was subsequently revealed that McCarrick’s sexual predations upon vulnerable seminarians and young priests had been an open secret among even very senior prelates, including Pope Francis, for years.   

McCarrick has been returned to the lay state and is now living in a Capuchin friary in Kansas

In November, Cardinal Sean O’Malley told American bishops that a long-expected report on the Vatican’s investigation of McCarrick has been delayed yet again. 

At the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal O’Malley of Boston updated his colleagues about the probe, saying, “The intention is to publish the Holy See’s response soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year.” The response has been expected since at least February, if not before.