McCarrick’s gifts: $600,000 to high-ranking prelates
December 27, 2019
The disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick sent more than $600,000 in cash gifts to Vatican officials and other influential prelates during his term as Archbishop of Washington, the Washington Post has revealed.
A legendary fundraiser, McCarrick brought in $6 million in tax-exempt donations to an “Archbishop’s Special Fund,” over which he had complete control. He drew on that fund to send gifts that included, for instance, $19,000 to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State; $6,500 to then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the sostituto who handled everyday Vatican administrative affairs; $5,000 to the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who was the papal nuncio in Washington; and a one-time gift of $250,000 to Pope Benedict XVI shortly after his election.
The Washington Post exposé of McCarrick’s cash gifts covers the years from 2001, when he became Archbishop of Washington, until 2018, when he was finally removed from ministry because of multiple sex-abuse complaints. It does not include gifts that he may have given prior to his assignment in Washington—an assignment that was widely attributed to his previous fundraising successes.
Prelates who received gifts from McCarrick told the Post that the cash did not influence their decisions. In fact some Church officials indicated that it was not unusual to receive such gifts from the heads of affluent archdioceses. Cardinal James Harvey, the former prefect of the pontifical household, told the Post that “numerous bishops from big cities in the United States sent him monetary gifts to show appreciation for his office’s help, including in making arrangements for visits to the pope.” Cardinal Harvey added: “It never occurred to me that this would be in some way improper.”
The revelations about McCarrick’s cash gifts follow the Post’s disclosure of the lavish personal spending by Bishop Michael Bransfield, the former head of the Wheeling-Charleston diocese, who also sent more than $350,000 in cash gifts to influential Church leaders.
The Vatican has promised that a full accounting of McCarrick’s rise through the ranks of the hierarchy, and his ability to retain power despite charges of misconduct, will be made public soon.
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- Disgraced former cardinal McCarrick gave more than $600,000 in church funds to powerful clerics, records show (Washington Post)
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