How did it happen? That’s the question the McCarrick Report was supposed to answer. How many of the bishops knew about his beach house? Who turned a blind eye? Who lied to protect one of their own?

Nobody expected the Report to answer those questions, and so nobody will be disappointed. Still, it was revealing.

The McCarrick Report drives home one detail that many of us forgot: there never really was a “smoking gun.” There was no hard evidence of sexual assault. Hardly anyone was willing to come forward and testify to McCarrick’s misdeeds. There were rumors, of course, and lots of them. But the Vatican is not in the habit of defrocking priests (let alone bishops) over rumors.

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