A highly anticipated Vatican report found on Tuesday that Pope John Paul II had rejected explicit warnings about sexual abuse by Theodore E. McCarrick, now a disgraced former cardinal, choosing to believe the American prelate’s denials and misleading accounts by bishops as he elevated him to the highest ranks of the church hierarchy.

As Washington’s archbishop, Mr. McCarrick was one of the most powerful leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, a media darling and prodigious fund-raiser with deep connections in the Vatican. But he became the highest-ranking American official to be removed for sexual abuse when the pope kicked him out of the priesthood in 2019.

Given Mr. McCarrick’s long career — as a priest in New York, archbishop of Newark and a Washington cardinal with a national and international profile — the 449-page report had the potential to engulf three separate papacies in scandal. Since the abuse carried out by Mr. McCarrick became public in 2018, conservative critics have accused Francis of covering up the American’s misconduct.

But the investigation, commissioned by Francis, who had promised to “follow the path of truth wherever it may lead,” largely absolved the current pope. Instead, it put fault chiefly with Francis’ conservative predecessors, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and in particular Pope John Paul II — elevated to sainthood since his death — who believed Mr. McCarrick’s denials of the allegations of sexual misconduct and promoted him….

The above comes from a Nov. 10 story in the New York Times.

Read the full 2018 letter of Archbishop Vigano on his attempts to notify Pope Francis of the McCarrick scandal.