Alleged victim of Archbishop McCarrick speaks at rally outside USCCB meeting

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James Grein speaks at the “Silence Stops Now” rally in outside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ general assembly meeting in Baltimore, Nov. 13. (Christine Rousselle/CNA)

By Christine Rousselle
Catholic News Agency

BALTIMORE (CNA/EWTN News) — James Grein, the man who came forward this summer alleging he was abused for 18 years by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, appeared in public Tuesday for the first time and revealed his full name. Previously, the New York Times had identified him only as “James.”

Grein appeared at the Nov. 13 “Silence Stops Now” counter-rally organized by several groups critical of the bishops’ approach to addressing the sexual abuse crisis, including Church Militant — an internet-based independent Catholic media outlet. The rally was held near the location of the USCCB’s Fall General Assembly in Baltimore.

Grein was visibly nervous taking the stage, where he delivered a short speech about his experience coming forward with his story and received an extended standing ovation when he finished.

In July Grein came forward with his story to the New York Times. He said Archbishop McCarrick began abusing him when he was 11 years old. At that time, the former cardinal was 39 years old, and a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

This abuse continued for the next 18 years, he said, during which then Fr. McCarrick was consecrated a bishop and served in the local Churches of New York, Metuchen and Newark. In November 2000, he was appointed archbishop of Washington, where he served the remainder of his career until his 2006 retirement. In 2001, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals. About a week after Grein’s allegation was published, then Cardinal McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals.

Grein credited the first survivor coming forward for giving him the strength to share his experience.

“That article would never have been written had it not been for a 16-year-old altar boy who accused McCarrick of abusing him,” he said. After that survivor went public, and his claim was found to be credible, Grein said he felt as though “my time has come” and chose to share his story.

Previously, he felt there was “no place” for him to report his abuse, and that nobody would believe him even if he were to report it. Grein said he was motivated to go public Tuesday as a way to inspire other victims.

“I do this today so that others like me have the strength to come forward. Think about what you can do to help others. This movement must continue to gain strength,” he said.

“Our bishops must know that the jig is up.”

Grein said he believed that Archbishop McCarrick’s punishment of a life of prayer and penance was a “necessary step” on the extended journey to “reform and reclaim the Church.” The archbishop is currently living in a monastery in Kansas until he is faces a canonical trial.

Despite his abuse, Grein said that he has continued to put his faith in Christ, and continues a regimen of prayer and fasting, which he had maintained for 9,850 days.

“Jesus’ law is much higher than pontifical secrets,” he told the crowd.

“It’s not Francis’ Church. It’s Jesus Christ’s Church.”