CNA—Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was a major donor to a religious community whose founder was found guilty of sexual misconduct.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that McCarrick gave nearly $1 million to the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) from 2004-2017. The religious community was founded in 1984 in Argentina by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, who retired in 2010 and was found guilty of sexual misconduct with seminarians by the Vatican in 2016.
According to previous CNA reports, McCarrick used his status as a senior archbishop and cardinal to support the community and defend it against critics within the Church, including then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, before his election as pope.
Follow the money
McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis in February of 2019, after a Vatican canonical process found him guilty of sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults. He previously served as bishop of the diocese of Metuchen, Archbishop of Newark, and Archbishop of Washington, D.C., before his retirement in 2006.
According to the Post’s report, McCarrick donated funds to the institute through the Archbishop’s Fund, a charitable account under the oversight of the Archdiocese of Washington through which he also sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to charities and senior Vatican officials over the years.
After his retirement as Archbishop of Washington, McCarrick resided at a house adjacent to the IVE’s Ven. Fulton Sheen Seminary, in Chillum, Maryland, from 2011 until late 2016 or early 2017.
Priests and seminarians of the community were assigned as staff to McCarrick while the cardinal lived there and after he moved out; those positions were funded by the Washington archdiocese.
The Post also reported Monday that McCarrick granted control of a church-owned property in Maryland to the institute for a seminary that opened in 2005. The website of the Venerable Fulton Sheen Seminary says it was opened in September 1998, two years before McCarrick was appointed to Washington.
The archdiocesan Redemptoris Mater seminary, also located in Chillum, was opened in 2005, but that seminary is not connected to the IVE.
McCarrick took up residence near the IVE seminary after sanctions were reportedly placed on him by Pope Benedict XVI and he was ordered to move out of the Redemptoris Mater seminary where he had been living in a self-contained apartment.
Complaints and tensions within IVE Community regarding McCarrick
In 2018, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, alleged that canonical sanctions were placed on McCarrick in 2009 or 2010, and that he had warned Vatican superiors of McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct with seminarians and priests as early as 2006. McCarrick’s successor in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, was first informed of an abuse allegation against McCarrick in 2004 while he was Bishop of Pittsburgh.
In 2018, the Washington archdiocese repeatedly told CNA that McCarrick made his own living arrangements in his retirement, but sources at the IVE told CNA that Wuerl intervened to have McCarrick moved from his residence near the seminary.
While residing near the institute’s seminary, McCarrick would join the community for meals, and had a priest and seminarians from the institute assigned to him as his personal staff. The IVE property also includes St. John Baptist de la Salle parish, staffed by the institute, as well as the headquarters of its Province of the Immaculate Conception.
McCarrick’s presence was reportedly a source of tension within the community and formators warned students to avoid McCarrick’s “worldly” lifestyle. CNA has previously reported that McCarrick insisted on a special food menu, and that he made seminarians assigned to him accompany him to a casino and on trips to a beach house. McCarrick’s conduct triggered complaints by formators to the order’s leadership in Rome.
McCarrick last ordained priests for the institute in 2017.