The Sky is Falling: Media Panic That Ex-Cardinal McCarrick Lives Near a School

Cardinal McCarrick hysteria

The horror! An 88-year-old ex-Cardinal! Run for the hills!

In yet another example of how hysteria and overstatement has overtaken logic and reason in the reporting of the Catholic sex abuse story line, when news surfaced that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick would be now living out his last years of life in "prayer and penance" at the St. Fidelis Friary in western Kansas, many media outlets felt it critical to report that his residence is "just one block from an elementary school."

Yet while media outlets will breathlessly claim that this new location of an 88 year-old in poor health is cause for great alarm, the facts tell us something different.

The landmark 2012 study, "Sex Offender Myths in Print Media: Separating Fact from Fiction in U.S. Newspapers" (highly recommended, pdf), blows the lid off of the old shibboleth that offenders cannot live near schools or playgrounds. The researchers reported:

"[R]esearch has demonstrated that residential proximity to schools, parks, and other restricted areas where children are presumably found is not associated with sexual recidivism."

In other words, the fact that McCarrick will be living near an elementary school is utterly meaningless.

(And do yourself a favor: Read the 2012 study.)


  1. Fizzlewit says:

    Another study is bestowed upon us that flies in the face of common sense, great. I was just doing the requisite cerebral contortions to digest a study of similar worth claiming that although 81% of the cases of abuse in the 2004 John Jay study were male-on-male, homosexuality had absolutely nothing to do with it. P.T. Barnum, call your office…

    • says:

      And what study is that? Was it peer-reviewed and research-based as this one was? I’d like to see that study.

    • Bob Sullivan says:

      You report on McCarrck, but you have never heard of or read the John Jay studies on the clergy sex abuse scandal? No disrespect intended, but this is literally a 100 level course for anyone hoping to speak intelligently about the sex scandal in the Church. It is substantially a problem with homosexuals in the Church, but you really need to educate yourself before you write about McCarrick & the others who are at the root of this problem. 

    • says:

      Bob, we assume your comment is directed at Fizzlewit.

      This site knows more about this issue than anyone. Period.

  2. Dan says:

    Are there any Catholics out there that have ever heard of jails and prisons for criminals? Then you don't have to worry about how close they are to schools. How does the Church which claims since 2001 that they would send perpetrators to the civil authorities, continue to deal with their criminals on their own terms? Despicable!

  3. Fr Fizzlewit says:  

    My point is that there is a lot of propaganda foisted on the public masquerading as "studies" that claim to be "peer-reviewed" & "reasearch-based" that come up with all kinds of findings contrary to reality. In answer to your question,, please see the link above.

    • says:

      You don’t need to tell us to “see” any study. We have linked the 2011 JJ report since it was published and are well aware of it.

      The study clearly says:

      - “Priests with pre-ordination same-sex sexual behavior who did sexually abuse a minor after ordination were more likely to have a male child victim than a female child victim.”

      - “after considering pre-seminary and inseminary sexual behavior separately, only in-seminary (not pre-seminary) same-sex sexual behavior was significantly related to the increased likelihood of a male child victim.”

      - “Priests with pre-ordination same-sex sexual behavior and post-ordination sexual behavior with adults were significantly more likely to have sexual encounters with adult males than females.”

      - “Priests with positive views toward homosexuality were most likely to have post-ordination sexual behavior.”

      We agree that the study does not blame homosexuality as much as it should, but it does *not* say that homosexuality “had nothing to do with” the crisis, as you claimed.

  4. Dan says:

    We were also told that Church apointed psychiatrists and psychologists informed the hierarchy that the pedophile and pederast priests wouldn't reoffend after receiving their counseling and therapy. However the "sexual recidivism" rate among clergy was very high, but the bishop's solution was to just repeatedly shuffle known offenders to parishes that were unaware. You would think that after decades of this secret policy, that there would have been someone in the hierarchy to put a stop to this policy, realizing it was a total failure, or did they just not care?

  5. T3 says:

    more like lack of common sense than hysteria

  6. Fr. Fred Gatschet says:

    I am a priest and live in Hays, Kansas, about 9 miles from St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria.  I have visited the facility hundreds of times.  McCarrick's life is one of house arrest.  His world now consists of a monastic cell and visits to an enclosed 40 x 40 foot courtyard.  He is half crippled and needs a walker to get around.  He's not getting out of the facility and is threat to no one.  While we are not thrilled to have had him dumped on us by the East Coast Elites who view Kansas a "fly-over-territory," as Jesus says, if we only love those who love us and do good only to those who do good to us, what credit is there in that?  Even sinners do as much. (Luke 6:32-33).  If McCarrick is guilty of only have of what he is accused of, he is a despicable man.  It's a good thing Jesus died for dispicable people, of which I certainly include myself.

  7. This is a vivid example of what has been revealed in recent polls: The only institution with a trust rating lower than congress is the news media. 

    • Dan says:

      And the Catholic Church's "trust rating" has to be much lower than both. We don't even need a poll to figure that out, only 'common sense'. When will the Church exhibit some?

  8. DJR says:

    "[R]esearch has demonstrated that residential proximity to schools, parks, and other restricted areas where children are presumably found is not associated with sexual recidivism."

    In other words, the fact that McCarrick will be living near an elementary school is utterly meaningless.


    This article compares apples to oranges.  The cited report deals with recidivism amongst convicted criminals and their proximity to schools after they have left prison and reentered society.  McCarrick is not a recidivist, so the report has nothing to do with the former cardinal's situation.

    It can be safely assumed that the author of the article knows absolutely nothing about McCarrick's ongoing sexual activity, if any.  How could the author possibly know whether it has stopped and, if so, when?  Granted, due to age, the likelihood is that it has, but does the author know that?  How?

    Nor does the analysis stop at proximity to schools.  Saint Fidelis has youth activities. 

    The issue here is not "recidivism"; it is "access" and "likelihood."  Would the author state that proximity to a school is irrelevant if McCarrick were still in his 40s? 

    The report states that, among recidivists, it is “social or relationship proximity” that plays a major factor in their recidivism.  Although McCarrick is not a recidivist, his history reveals that that statement would be applicable to him. 

    Is McCarrick a threat to the local students at the public school?  Not very likely.  But citing reports that have no relevance to his situation doesn’t forward the public discourse much.

  9. Otto says:

    Thank you for posting the link to that 2012 study. That really gets to the heart of the issue. This is a moral panic that goes back to older moral panics about "stranger danger" and Satanic ritual abuse. In those older moral panics innocent people were hurt as in the infamous McMartin preschool case.

    In the case of alleged sexual abuse by Catholic clergy there is the added issue of America's long history of anti-Catholicism as well as plenty of political axe-grinding from all across the political spectrum. In this climate I wouldn't be surprised if Catholic priests become victims of vigilantism. There has already been one case of a Byzantine Catholic priest being attacked.

    I have a priest friend who tells me that he is afraid to walk around outside while wearing his Roman collar.

    • Baptized In Water says:

      Otto, I definitely agree. This hysteria has to be seen and understood in the broader context of anti-Catholicism. And in fact, false sexual abuse allegations against the Church is a part of a very old playbook, most notably The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, a spurious 19th century accusing nuns at a convent of this same stuff and worse.

      And I can definitely see how priests are afraid to go out in public out of fear of violence, assault or just humiliation. All of this stuff are old plays out of an old anti-Catholic playbook.

    • Dan says:

      "Do not call conspiracy everything these people regard as conspiracy. Do not fear what they fear; do not live in dread. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread."  Isaiah 8:12-13

      "Do not be afraid," Moses replied. "For God has come to test you, so that the fear of Him may be before you to keep you from sinning." 

      So quit your "anti-Catholicism" false accusations, conspiracy theories and attempts to blame others for the filth of your Church. Fear God and clean up your act, stop sinning and making excuses for the sins of the Church, and maybe He will have mercy on those who turn from their idolatry and refuse to commit sexual immorality and show you the path to peace. Otherwise continue in your fear. because you surely have much to fear.


  10. Dan says:

    I have a great idea. How about rounding up all the Cardinals, McCarrick, Pell, Weurl along with all your pedophile bishops and priests and bring them to Rome's Skeleton Rooms and they can have all the orgies they desire, sodomize each other and if they get bored they can screw Jesuit cadavers. They can retire there in prayer and penance to their idols and we won't have to worry about them being near our schools, orphanages or young children. SOLVED!

  11. Jim Robertson says:

    It seems when I channel God on this thread I'm not posted.

    2 of my posts have not appeared.

    But when the rest of you channel your interpretations of what God "wants" you get to speak freely. 

    If God wants us to use our free will to find and support "Him". Why does TMR leave out my arguments?  Free will requires choice. If you eliminate my take but allow all the others you are controlling free will. You, not God, are limiting the choices humanity's free will can choose from.

  12. Dan says:

    Don't worry, Jim, I've been censored just as much and most likely more than you. And you shouldn't be channeling God anyway, because you can't, you won't and you don't. Your nonsense isn't going to help anyone to know God and you know it, so I think you should stop it.