On the last day of their fall meeting, the U.S. bishops’ conference voted down a resolution that would have “encouraged” the Holy See to release all documents on the allegations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
After about a half hour of debate, objections that the resolution was redundant and ambiguous won out, and it was voted down by a clicker vote of 83-137, with three abstaining.
The original text of the resolution, proposed by Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, read: “Be it resolved that the bishops of the USCCB encourage the Holy Father to release all the documentation that can be released consistent with canon and civil law regarding the misconduct of Archbishop McCormick.”
“This is not going to solve everything,” Boyea said, but it was “one little task” that all of the bishops could do.
The bishops have previously supported the Holy See’s investigation with an Oct. 7 statement, made by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, which said that the bishops “welcomed” the Vatican investigation into McCarrick’s files.
Boyea said he was concerned that the Holy See would only release their findings, and not all related documentation.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco supported Boyea, saying that “the key here is documentation” and that the Holy See’s communique did not clarify what documents if any would be released.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago said he objected to the ambiguity of the meaning of “release”, and asked whether the proposed resolution would end up being more restrictive of the investigation that what the Holy See had originally intended.
“Is the Holy See’s investigation more expansive than what this statement allows for?” he added. There may be some conversations or documentation given in confidentiality that the Holy See would release, but that were restricted under canon or civil law, he noted.
Boyea responded that the resolution seemed to “rest on the word ‘encourage’…Ultimately it’s left to the decision of the Holy See,” he said.
After an amendment to add the word “soon” in the resolution, Cordileone supported Cupich’s previous question, and asked for further clarification about what the resolution mean by “releasing” the documents. Boyea again responded that it would ultimately be up the Holy See.
“So we’re voting on asking the Holy See to do what they already said they’re going to do? The successor of Peter has said he’s going to be truthful about this, and it seems to me we need to take his word at it,” Cupich said.
Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne said he also objected to the ambiguity of the wording of the resolution: “To whom would they be released? What does it mean to release them?”
“This is a statement of distrust” of the Holy See, he added.
Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento said he supported the motion. He said he thought it was respectful of the Holy Father, while also encouraging the Vatican “to move forward boldy in a way the Holy See has not been accustomed to in the past.”
The resolution was then put to a vote, but ultimately failed. The bishops then went on to discuss the proposed code of conduct for bishops during the second part of the afternoon session.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.