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Why Didn’t Uncle Ted Come To Dinner?

A reader writes:

Every year from 1989-2016, The Catholic University of America put on their annual “American Cardinals Dinner.” Basically, it was a Mass, followed by a black-tie banquet to raise money for CUA every year. They try to have it in a different city each year, and get as many American Cardinals to show up as possible, along with the hosting bishop and the papal nuncio.

Anyway, from 2001-2006, Cardinal McCarrick attended each and every dinner in his capacity as Archbishop of Washington DC and as a Cardinal. However, something interesting happened in 2007: he stopped attending the dinners. Even Donald Wuerl would attend, as Archbishop before he was even made a Cardinal, but McCarrick stopped attending from 2007-2012. Then, as if out of nowhere, he started attending the Dinner again in 2013 (the year Francis became pope, and the dinner was back in DC). He attended subsequent dinners in 2014 and 2015. The dinner was canceled in 2016 because of the Papal Visit to DC (the dinner usually takes place in the spring), and I haven’t seen any evidence of dinners in 2017 and 2018.

All of this information is publicly available at: http://cardinalsdinner.cua.edu [1] On the sidebar, there’s a list of their previous dinners, along with photo galleries that prove McCarrick was not there during those years.

It’s true. I looked at the photo gallery. Uncle Ted stops showing up from 2007-2012, but then he’s back in the picture after Francis is made pope.

From the Vigano statement: [2]

In writing up a memo on these documents that were entrusted to me, as Delegate for Pontifical Representations, on December 6, 2006, I wrote to my superiors, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Substitute Leonardo Sandri, that the facts attributed to McCarrick by Littleton were of such gravity and vileness as to provoke bewilderment, a sense of disgust, deep sorrow and bitterness in the reader, and that they constituted the crimes of seducing, requesting depraved acts of seminarians and priests, repeatedly and simultaneously with several people, derision of a young seminarian who tried to resist the Archbishop’s seductions in the presence of two other priests, absolution of the accomplices in these depraved acts, sacrilegious celebration of the Eucharist with the same priests after committing such acts.

In my memo, which I delivered on that same December 6, 2006 to my direct superior, the Substitute Leonardo Sandri, I proposed the following considerations and course of action to my superiors:

Given that it seemed a new scandal of particular gravity, as it regarded a cardinal, was going to be added to the many scandals for the Church in the United States,
and that, since this matter had to do with a cardinal, and according to can. 1405 § 1, No. 2˚, “ipsius Romani Pontificis dumtaxat ius est iudicandi”;

I proposed that an exemplary measure be taken against the Cardinal that could have a medicinal function, to prevent future abuses against innocent victims and alleviate the very serious scandal for the faithful, who despite everything continued to love and believe in the Church.


But finally I learned with certainty, through Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, then-Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, that Richard Sipe’s courageous and meritorious Statement had had the desired result. Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.

I do not know when Pope Benedict took these measures against McCarrick, whether in 2009 or 2010, because in the meantime I had been transferred to the Governorate of Vatican City State, just as I do not know who was responsible for this incredible delay. I certainly do not believe it was Pope Benedict, who as Cardinal had repeatedly denounced the corruption present in the Church, and in the first months of his pontificate had already taken a firm stand against the admission into seminary of young men with deep homosexual tendencies. I believe it was due to the Pope’s first collaborator at the time, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who notoriously favored promoting homosexuals into positions of responsibility, and was accustomed to managing the information he thought appropriate to convey to the Pope.

Now, this is interesting. Could it be that Archbishop Vigano is mistaken, and his 2006 memo was, in fact, taken seriously, and Benedict XVI did impose some restrictions on McCarrick shortly afterward? It would explain his absence from the Cardinals Dinner from 2007 through the rest of Benedict’s pontificate.

I thank the reader for his sleuthing. All of you, send what clues you have. You might have the information that solves this mystery. E-mail me at rod — at — amconmag — dot — com if you have solid leads or clues.

40 Comments (Open | Close)

40 Comments To "Why Didn’t Uncle Ted Come To Dinner?"

#1 Comment By Dan R On August 30, 2018 @ 4:38 pm

It is sad to say but I wish there was some website or “clearing house” for detective work like this. Maybe the Cardinal’s Dinner absence means nothing, maybe it is important, but surely enough “clues” like this will add up to something.

It also speaks highly about Rod’s character that he is reporting aggressively about the Lincoln diocese, even though that story must be hard on him given that diocese’s reputation. Kudos to Rod for honesty and following the truth wherever it takes him.

#2 Comment By Jack On August 30, 2018 @ 4:48 pm

Wuerl could defend the Pope by claiming that McCarrick wasn’t there because he was busy molesting seminarians.

#3 Comment By Br. John On August 30, 2018 @ 4:53 pm

Very Good Sleuthing!

Was this what Pope Francis was hoping for when he asked journalists to read Vigano statement carefully and investigate?

#4 Comment By GaryH On August 30, 2018 @ 5:33 pm

Pope Francis is guilty as sin.

Truth comes way before institutionalism.

#5 Comment By A Hopeful Trad On August 30, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Excellent work by the reader who pointed this out. It is strong circumstantial evidence corroborating Archbishop Vigano’s allegation that Pope Francis lifted a restriction that had been placed by Pope Benedict. It also makes it impossible to believe that Cardinal Wuerl did not know about the restriction and the lifting of the restriction. No wonder mum’s the word.

#6 Comment By woke On August 30, 2018 @ 6:35 pm

Don’t know if there’s any real mystery about whether Vigano’s claims are true. Bergoglio’s silence says it all, doesn’t it? Just as with the dubia. He won’t respond because he can’t. He’s been nailed and he knows it.

#7 Comment By Dimitri Cavalli On August 30, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

No pope’s prudential judgments and moral character are above legitimate criticism.

However, let us proceed with caution (which Rod has been doing.)

There’s an old Italian proverb that’s usually translated as “He who eats the Pope chokes to death.”

Is it a coincidence that Christopher Hitchens became sick and soon died not long after he begun his latest and final publicity stunt in seeking to have Pope Benedict XVI arrested and placed on trial for crimes against humanity?

(Of course, Hitchens would never have consented to place his heroes, Lenin and Trotsky, who helped establish one of the most murderous states in world history, on trial for anything.)

#8 Comment By charles cosimano On August 30, 2018 @ 7:39 pm

Maybe McCarrick was afraid of coming down with “food poisoning.”

In any event, watching Rod with his teeth into this story makes me very glad he is not mad at me.

#9 Comment By Uncle Billy On August 30, 2018 @ 7:51 pm

Remember, it was Pope Benedict who went after Maciel, when John Paul was dying and no longer able to protect him. It appears that Benedict was the only Popewho took this sexual abuse of minors seriously. If only Benedict had been made Pope ten years earlier.

#10 Comment By woke On August 30, 2018 @ 7:52 pm

By the way, Rod, thank you for your work on all of this. May God reward you richly. You are doing his work.

#11 Comment By Tyske On August 30, 2018 @ 7:56 pm

Acceptance of homosexuality is the fault line on which rests the future of the Western Church. Regardless of the teachings of the Church, most of “the faithful” will not shut the door in the faces of their gay blood relations or neighbors. Beyond that, outside of the Church we are compelled to follow the non-discrimination laws of the land. I simply can’t see typical American Catholics making Sundays “discrimination day”.

While I worship in a very liberal parish, my own faith was saved by traditional Catholics. I deeply respect their fidelity and faithful rigor. My life has been enriched, if not transformed through these friendships. My fondness for traditionals, however, cannot overcome the sense that their insurgency contains an undertone of tragedy. Like the doomed of Masada or the Jews of the Warsaw uprising, Traditionalists are greatly outnumbered and occupy a tiny bubble in the huge tent of the current Catholic universe.

The coldly confident silence from the Vatican regarding the Dubya and now the Vigano expose signals that in order to save the Church from widespread indifference, many princes of the Church will now seek accommodation with the world. In so doing, the hierarchy has joined in the suicide pact of the culture of the West.

If the Modernists prevail and Catholicism is wiped clean of its moral and intellectual vigor, along with its sublimity, beauty and traditions, how long then before Modernism itself falls into entropy? Will our longing for an “affirming” God lead to a kind of idol making? And who will need God? After all, there are many ways outside of religion to gain “affirmation”. Will the God of orthodox Catholic understanding largely disappear?

After that, who then, gets to be the “People of God”? It deeply troubles me to think this, but if the West is hell-bent on remaking God in its image – mutable, amorphous, unmoored, “liquid” and disposable – is it possible that the God of the desert creeds is acting to preserve His presence on Earth through Islam?

. . .Peripheries, anyone?

#12 Comment By Conewago On August 30, 2018 @ 8:20 pm


Slobodan Milosevic’s mustachioed cover as a Catholic priest has gone awry.


#13 Comment By Jon Trent On August 30, 2018 @ 8:43 pm

Where in the World is Cardinal Wuerl?


Sorry, I could not resist that!

[NFR: Beware such thinly sourced sensational stories! — RD]

#14 Comment By Elli On August 30, 2018 @ 9:13 pm

Here is another article: Bp Stephen Lopes says they all knew. [5]

Lopes was a seminarian in Newark when McCarrick was appointed archbishop.

#15 Comment By Mark Krvavica On August 30, 2018 @ 9:14 pm

I have respect for Pope Benedict XVI for excluding McCarrick from the American Cardinals Dinner (2007-12), this Bishop of Rome had to do something about clerical abuse, Amen.

#16 Comment By TomD On August 30, 2018 @ 9:18 pm

The explanation could be simple:

1) The Curia simply decided in the interest of extreme secrecy to bypass Vigano’s desk, perhaps by calling Nuncio Sambi to Rome to directly carry the sanctions to McCarrick

2) Perhaps there were two sets of sanctions, one in 2007 and one as a follow up in 2011

3) Perhaps Vigano is right in his recollections, and McCarrick stayed away from the CUA events for another reason, perhaps a personality clash with another attendee. A long shot.

One thing for sure: Monsignor Jean Francois Lantheaume would know.

#17 Comment By JohnPerth On August 30, 2018 @ 9:20 pm

Dimitri, Francis loves Trotsky and Lenin as much as Hitchens did.

It’s an intra-ideological battle these days, between different kinds of liberals.

#18 Comment By KyleW On August 30, 2018 @ 9:34 pm

I’ve generally been inclined to credit Vigano so far, but hasn’t the narrative been that nobody knew about Benedict’s sanctions because McCarrick kept acting publicly as though he were still a cardinal in good standing, traveling openly and all that, albeit everyone concedes that he didn’t regain full status as a power-player in the Vatican until Francis took office? If there were sanctions, why would McCarrick flout Benedict everywhere else but obey him in this one particular?

#19 Comment By Lamm2 On August 30, 2018 @ 9:54 pm

If interested, tonight (8/30) EWTN had a fascinating program on World Over with Raymond Arroyo. He interviewed Edward Pentin, Robert Royal, and Father Gerald Murray. They covered so much ground, I can’t do it justice. Pentin saying another man, besides Vigano, was afraid for his life at the Vatican was more than disturbing. I hope I’m paraphrasing that correctly. I need to watch it again.

The video of the show is not in the archive yet. It should be there by tomorrow. You can find it at the link below. Scroll down their page for the program link.

EWTN Multimedia – Video

#20 Comment By BT On August 30, 2018 @ 9:58 pm

To paraphrase from The Unforgiven:
“Now, Pope Francis. Those cardinals and Bishops are going to tell different lies than you. And when their lies aren’t the same as yours… The laity is going to go after you- not deferential like before, but BAD!”

#21 Comment By David J. White On August 30, 2018 @ 10:08 pm

[NFR: Beware such thinly sourced sensational stories! — RD]

Seriously. If Church Militant were to say that water was wet, I would still double check. They are notorious for being sensationalist. And I say this as someone who is perhaps sympathetic to their slant on things more often than not.

#22 Comment By kevin on the left On August 30, 2018 @ 10:22 pm

“Is it a coincidence that Christopher Hitchens became sick and soon died not long after he begun his latest and final publicity stunt in seeking to have Pope Benedict XVI arrested and placed on trial for crimes against humanity?

Yes. Any other questions?

#23 Comment By David On August 30, 2018 @ 10:40 pm

Read the part about “out to pasture.” This is from 2014, and from a sympathetic (to McCarrick) source. This is consistent with the imposition of sanctions:

#24 Comment By Lamm2 On August 30, 2018 @ 10:58 pm

Just now saw that Arroyo put tonight’s World Over program on You Tube. I need to watch it again to see if I heard Pentin correctly.

World Over – 2018-08-30 – SPECIAL Full Episode with Raymond Arroyo [8]

#25 Comment By Everett On August 30, 2018 @ 11:59 pm

Elli posted above the Bishop Lopes story. Here’s the audio from that:


Bishop Lopes was ordaomed a priest in 2001 after being at the NAC. Know who was rector of the NAC at the time? Timothy Dolan. So, all of the seminarians knew, but no Bishops knew, and the rector of the seminary didn’t know?

#26 Comment By Margarita On August 31, 2018 @ 12:08 am

My sincere thanks to Rod for his writing and reporting on this subject.

#27 Comment By Anne On August 31, 2018 @ 5:28 am

So now checking on the goings and comings of MacCarrick during his supposed “sanctioned years” makes sense? I thought it didn’t matter since he was just such a blatant flouter, nobody, least of all a papal nuncio, could control him. And yet here he is, apparently obedient enough to skip the American Cardinals Annual Dinner even two years before the time Vigano said the sanctions went on (2009, or maybe 2010). This means something? Yesterday, LifeSite News moved the start date for the sanctions back a year, to 2008, to explain why MacCarrick had made plans to move out of a seminary a year too early to fit Vigano’s time line. Now, we’re moving the start date back yet another year to make his absence here fit. But what about all those other events he didn’t miss that don’t jibe with the sanction time line? What about the other dinners and awards ceremonies, some where Vigano himself was present, including one in which he spoke publicly in praise of the flouter-honoree? What about the many cardinals’ meetings MacCarrick didn’t miss during this same period, and in the Vatican to boot?

Face it, we’re all getting vertigo searching for clues in the comings and goings of Ted MacCarrick, trying to decipher meaning in the endless cocatenation or smallest discrepancy. The fact is, nothing much changed in the public life of Ted MacCarrick between 2009 and 2013, and nothing much changed after that either.
Nothing changed until events of the summer of 2018 led a pope to finally remove him from public ministry and take his red hat. And somehow we went from there to here.

The whole idea of secret sanctions that can’t be enforced if the subject doesn’t like them gets pretty absurd the more you think about it. Even if Benedict did put them on MacCarrick, there’s no way to tell by how he lived whether Francis took them off or left them on. Even Vigano doesn’t claim he ever heard or saw anything to indicate something had changed officially. He’s just making assumptions from mundane facts such as MacCarrick’s plan to travel to China (he traveled the world for Catholic Relief Services and the State Department all along), and the even more annoying fact (to him) that somebody other than the nuncio was advising this Pope on episcopal appointments, and since to him the results looked way too liberal, who else but MacCarrick could possibly be usurping his role? That kind of reasoning just doesn’t “flow” for church progressives the way it apparently does for Catholics of the right.

#28 Comment By Pear Conference On August 31, 2018 @ 5:55 am

This reminds me of Kremlinology. Even if one side is “telling the truth,” both sides are deeply implicated.

When you hear reports of child molestation, you inform law enforcement.

That’s the minimum a decent human being would do (never mind a “holy” one).

Did any of these clergy do that?


#29 Comment By mightywhig On August 31, 2018 @ 6:30 am

Keep reporting on this. Important reading.
Supposedly the sanction against McCarrick started in 2009-10, according to Vigano. Perhaps earlier now?

#30 Comment By david On August 31, 2018 @ 6:31 am

Let me get this straight. This is it? These are the so called penalties for abusing people that trusted him? Not attending dinners. No travel a lifetime of prayer and penitence. I’m sorry but that’s it? He’s still by current standards living quite well. Based on what we see here he wasn’t “demoted” he’s still a cardinal, he wasn’t told to admit what he did to go to victims and ask their forgiveness directly.

I’m sorry I was so very close SO VERY CLOSE to two people who were molested as children and for them it was a life time sentence. Mental health issues all of it. To say that the so-called penalties here constitutes any form of justice for the victims is nonsense just sheer nonsense. Any of you who were molested as kids or were or are married to someone who was feel free to comment.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Yes we have to forgive no matter how difficult it is and for me it was so very hard forgiving the person who molested the person I loved so much but I finally did to get the 900 pound gorilla off my back. But that doesn’t mean that people in authority don’t do what they can to stop the abuse and see real justice handed out to these horrible predators. And that means more than letting them walk away with their rank, their privileges.

#31 Comment By ginger On August 31, 2018 @ 6:56 am

“Maybe McCarrick was afraid of coming down with “food poisoning.”

One of the funniest stories I heard back when the Legionaries of Christ and Maciel were being revealed as total frauds was this:

Maciel ordered Legionaries to lace with laxatives the morning coffee of an investigator sent by the Vatican (I think this was during the Maciel investigation back in the 1950s). After a couple of weeks, the poor man had to return to Rome due to what he thought was a bad case of Montezuma’s revenge.

It has become a running joke between my husband and me–“maybe they should lace that guy’s coffee with laxatives”

Really, they were pretty merciful to that investigator, as they could easily have used arsenic instead.

#32 Comment By Caleb Bernacchio On August 31, 2018 @ 7:23 am

You are celebrating the fact that Benedict (possibly) told McCarrick that he can’t eat dinner with the other cardinals so you can further delegitimize Francis. But you miss the forrest for the trees. It matters little if Francis removed these sanctions which were really nothing but a slap on the wrist. The real tragedy is the fact that Benedict was unwilling to put real sanctions on McCarrick and Francis, if he did what Vigano claims, was only continuing this tradition of failing to hold senior clerics accountable.

[NFR: You are ignoring that I repeatedly have said in these posts that Benedict failed. I said in another post yesterday that Benedict’s slap-on-the-wrist response to Maciel and McCarrick was wrong. — RD]

#33 Comment By Chris On August 31, 2018 @ 7:49 am

“Will the God of orthodox Catholic understanding largely disappear?”

In the West, perhaps. Orthodoxy is the second largest form of Christianity on the planet. It is the greatest irony that the papacy, the symbol of unity in Catholicism is again a stumbling block. The Orthodox have done a much better job of upholding creedal, Trinitarian Christianity and it won’t do anymore to point out papal scandals of the past. Since the age of instant information has dawned you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all of the time.

#34 Comment By connecticut farmer On August 31, 2018 @ 9:17 am

Thanks for this Rod. Though there is much yet to uncover it’s beginning to look as though Ratzinger, though he may have tried his best, was in over his head. What went on behind the closed doors of the Vatican remain unknown, but the circumstances surrounding Benedict’s resignation from the papacy still remain a bit murky.

#35 Comment By Jrm On August 31, 2018 @ 11:10 am

All of the evidence so far shows three popes complicit in the cover up. Benedict’s half-ass conduct towards is at best equivocal and more likely incompetent. He knew the score under John Paul and was gutless then.

#36 Comment By James On August 31, 2018 @ 11:45 am

It gets worse, there needs to be more confirmation from other sourcees for this story, yet Pope Francis seems to be part of the problem. Pope Francis seems to be covering up for drug fueled gay orgies by Swiss Guards, this goes right back to the Vatican. Granted this Article from Ben Shapiro, and I’m not a big fan of the guy, yet if there smoke, there is fire.


#37 Comment By Jeff C On August 31, 2018 @ 12:42 pm

To Everett – check out short URL!

I know it’s extremely superficial but does anyone else think Cdl. O’Malley’s beard needs to go? Either go clean shaven or let it grow like an Orthodox Metropolitan. It gives the impression he’s trying to hide something.

Can you imagine the pope with a beard? There hasn’t been one in at least 400 years as far as I can tell.

#38 Comment By Everett On August 31, 2018 @ 8:43 pm

Jeff C – I know, right? This is what happens when I’m using my phone and not paying attention. Here’s the easy version of that link:


#39 Comment By tomas pajaros On September 2, 2018 @ 8:59 pm

It seems fully apparent that Pope Benedict put consequences on McCarrick.
It would be extremely odd if the status and cause of a Cardinal having such sanctions on him, was not fully, clearly communicated in transition to the next Pope, Francis.
For me the inescapable conclusion is that Francis knew of the history of accusations against McCarrick, knew that his predecessor had found them credible enough to lay sanctions on him . . . and chose to release those sanctions and elevate McCarrick to still higher positions of power.
Therefore Pope Francis must resign.

#40 Comment By Wayne Mayo On September 4, 2018 @ 8:25 pm

Benedict was a true leader. Went after heresy, sin. fidelity.
Editors, writers, priests.

I do hope “zeal for the House of God” will show up from some direction.

Sin is sin. Repentance is repentance.