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Bringing up unsavory details about a powerful cleric may make them fear being seen as “trouble-makers” or “complainers” in their dioceses or among their brother priests.

Cardinal Mc Carrick was also one of the most powerful men in the U. church, the bishop of one of the major sees in the universal church and a personal friend of several popes.

(There is often a grossly misplaced emphasis on “forgiveness” in cases of abuse.) Finally, there may have been a discomfort or disgust with the homosexual or even sexual aspect of it, and therefore a desire for the charges to simply “go away.” Finally, sin: to ignore reports of this kind of abuse is sinful.

Second, there may have been a enormous amount of shame or embarrassment among the seminarians and priests who were forced into Mc Carrick’s embrace or bed.

“Why didn’t they punch him in the face when he said that? Likewise, there may be a sense of not being “man enough” to resist.

Fifth, Bishop Mc Carrick’s talent, intellect and work ethic made him a “desirable” candidate for promotion to the Archdioceses of Newark and later Washington, D. There is plenty of sin to go around: the sins of nuncios and all church leaders who disregarded, downplayed or simply ignored these reports, the sins of all those in power who turned a blind eye to years of the abuse of power, and, finally, the sins of Cardinal Mc Carrick himself, who became not a servant leader but an abusive one.

On a pilgrimage to Lourdes a decade ago, I watched someone badger him rudely and relentlessly, during a breakfast, about some fine point of theology, for almost a half hour.

Cardinal Mc Carrick treated her with so much patience, dignity and care, as she continued to berate him, that afterward I asked him how was able to be so kind.

And here I will offer only a few explanations; there are many others, and this is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis.

To be clear, this kind of abusive behavior is not confined to diocesan seminaries.

Perhaps the shame of it happening to a victim who is an adult—who might have been more physically able to “fend off” the advances—is greater than that of a child, who is incapable self-defense in this situation.

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