Cardinal McCarrick Says Plenary Council Would Be Unwise

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 18, 2002 ( A U.S. cardinal doesn’t think it is a good idea to call a plenary council in the wake of the clerical sex-abuse scandals, as some bishops have suggested.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, in an interview with the Washington Times published today, said he thinks focusing only on priests amid so many other cultural, social, cultural and geopolitical problems would be “narrow” and “unwise.”

Rather, he said, the 13-member review committee of lay Catholics, appointed by the prelates to monitor how they dealt with errant priests, must give bishops time to clear up the abuse accusations, he said.

“It’s a fine board,” Cardinal McCarrick was quoted as saying by the Times. “But it’s probably too soon to know if [some bishops] are dragging their feet” on disciplining accused priests.

In mid-August, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls said the Holy See had not made a decision on whether to accept the charter adopted by the U.S. bishops in response to the scandals.