Rorate Caeli

DC basilica shrine rector under investigation

Another high-profile cleric in the Archdiocese of Washington is under investigation.  To no one's surprise (except the Washington Post and other mainstream media) Monsignor Walter Rossi, the current rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is the subject of a "full forensic investigation" by the Diocese of Scranton (Rossi's home diocese) and the Archdiocese of Washington (where Rossi works at the basilica shrine).

The issue of the affairs of Walter Rossi has been pushed for at least a year by investigative reporter George Neumayr.  This week a question was asked directly -- and in public -- about Rossi to the new DC Archbishop, Wilton Gregory, at a "Theology on Tap" event. The next day an investigation was announced.

[Ah, such memories of the news about high-ranking clergy that can be made at DC Theology on Tap events.]

So far, former DC cardinal-archbishop (Mr.) Theodore McCarrick has been defrocked after years of bishops, dioceses and the mainstream media covering for him. His successor, Donald Wuerl, was forced into retirement as a result of years of scandal. The former rector of the basilica shrine in DC, Michael Bransfield, was removed as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston due to scandal, and his basilica shrine successor, Walter Rossi, is now under investigation by two dioceses. And then there's this mess stemming from DC, starring Rossi's close priest-friend, co-featuring the bishop of Trenton who formerly headed Catholic University in, of course, Washington.

A news release from the Diocese of Scranton (found on George's post linked above) revealed that diocese admitted it referred allegations concerning Monsignor Rossi to the Archdiocese of Washington a year ago, but DC (under Wuerl and his chancery staff, almost all of whom remain under Archbishop Gregory) determined they were "unfounded."

The news release continues: "Additional concerns have now surfaced, however, requiring a broadened investigation."  The question is whether or not this will be a serious investigation with ramifications, or a mere formality to give the appearance of accountability.

As we wrote previously about Catholic scandal in the United States, all roads lead to Washington, D.C.