Former Cardinal Defrocked by the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse

Blocked Former President Mary McAleese
Blocked Former President Mary McAleese

18 February, 2019

McCarrick's expulsion comes ahead of a worldwide bishops' summit on the abuse crisis taking place at the Vatican next week.

"It is a very important signal that, if we're talking about accountability for bishops, we are actually doing it", he said.

According to the Catholic Diocese of Salina, on Saturday the Vatican announced that former Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has been dismissed from the clerical state. He directs McCarrick to observe a life of prayer and penance, pending the canonical process against him.

But the Salina, Kansas, diocese, said "Mr. McCarrick will continue to reside at the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria until a decision of permanent residence is finalized".

McCarrick had already resigned from the College of Cardinals in July.

Tobin, who was named a cardinal by Francis, expressed gratitude to the pontiff "for his leadership throughout this hard investigation and decision".

On June 20, 2018, then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick acknowledged that he had been informed "that an allegation of sexual abuse of a teenager from nearly 50 years ago had been made against me".

For us bishops, it strengthens our resolve to hold ourselves accountable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was also accused of later "misconduct" with adults.

The pontiff is asking for prayers for this week's sex abuse summit at the Vatican, calling abuse an "urgent challenge of our time".

The Vatican said its investigation found McCarrick, who had served as archbishop in Washington, D.C., guilty of sexual crimes including solicitation in the confessional.

Another man subsequently claimed he had also been abused as a child by McCarrick, and several former trainee priests alleged they had been sexually harassed by the former cardinal at his New Jersey beach house.

That is the harshest form of punishment that the Vatican can take against non-resident priests. No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the Church. The four USA dioceses where he served - New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, D.C. - have launched independent investigations.

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Grein said pressure must be put on US state attorney generals and senators to change the statute of limitations for abuse cases. "At the same time, we renew our commitment to care for the victims who have suffered abuse, to prevent abuse before it occurs, and to identify and report child abuse once it has happened".

The ruling makes McCarrick the highest profile Catholic priest to be expelled from the priesthood over abuse allegations.

Pope Francis ultimately ordered a Vatican investigation into the accusations in 2017, and McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals a year ago after the accusations were made public. Anne Barrett Doyle of says also demanded that the pope use immediately laicize other abusive bishops.

Defrocking means McCarrick can no longer call himself a priest or celebrate the sacraments, although he would be allowed to administer to a person on the verge of death in an emergency.

In 2001, McCarrick became a cardinal.

McCarrick had been one of the most prominent American cardinals active on the global stage.

He subsequently led the Archdiocese of Washington until 2006, frequently meeting political leaders and becoming a force in American politics.

Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said in an email to the AP that church officials have repeatedly shown "they are incapable of accurately determining the credibility of accusations, being transparent with the public, and understanding the pain that survivors go through".

"We've got to be detached from that personal credit or blame because the real issue is what's at stake for the church", he said.

In a letter that June addressed to the Archdiocese of Washington community that was shared by pastors, Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl added, "While the Archdiocese of NY investigated this claim, at the same time, I requested that a similar review be made of all Archdiocese of Washington's records".

A Vatican trial found the 88-year-old guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession as well as sexual abuse of minors and adults, officials said.

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