Vatican defrocks former US cardinal McCarrick over sex abuse

8 months 2 days 1 hour ago Saturday, February 16 2019 Feb 16, 2019 Saturday, February 16, 2019 7:25:00 AM CST February 16, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Holy See said Saturday.

The punishment for the once-powerful prelate, who had served as the archbishop of Washington and had been an influential fundraiser for the church, was announced five days before Francis is set to lead an extraordinary gathering of bishops from around the world to help the church grapple with the crisis of sex abuse by clergy and systematic cover-ups by church hierarchy. The decades-long scandals have shaken the faith of many Catholics and threatened Francis’ papacy.

Defrocking means McCarrick, 88, who now lives in a friary in Kansas after he lost his title of cardinal last year, can no longer celebrate Mass or other sacraments, wear clerical vestments or be addressed by any religious title.

The Vatican’s press office said that on Jan. 11, the Holy See’s doctrinal watchdog office, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, had found McCarrick guilty of “solicitation in the sacrament of confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

The officials “imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.”

The commandment cited regards sexual behavior.

McCarrick, when he was ordained a priest his native New York City in 1958, took a vow of celibacy, in accordance with church rules on priests.

The pope “has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accordance with (church) law, rendering it as ‘res iudicata,’” the Vatican said, using the Latin phrase for admitting no further recourse.

“Today I am happy that the pope believed me,” said one of McCarrick’s chief accusers, James Grein.

In a statement issued through his lawyer, Grein also expressed hope that McCarrick “will no longer be able to use the power of Jesus’ church to manipulate families and sexually abuse children.”

Grein had testified to church officials that, among other abuses, McCarrick had repeatedly groped him during confession.

Saying it’s “time for us to cleanse the church,” Grein said pressure needs to be put on state attorney generals and senators to change the statute of limitations. “Hundreds of priests, bishops and cardinals are hiding behind man-made law,” he said.

McCarrick had appealed his penalty, but the doctrinal officials earlier this week rejected that, and he was notified of the decision on Friday, the Vatican announcement said.

The archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where McCarrick was posted at the pinnacle of his clerical career, from 2001-2006, said in a statement it hoped that the Vatican decision “serves to help the healing process for survivors of abuse, as well as those who have experienced disappointment or disillusionment because of what former Archbishop McCarrick has done.”

Complaints were also made about McCarrick’s conduct in the New Jersey dioceses of Newark and Metuchen, where he previously served.

McCarrick, a one-time “prince of the church,” as cardinals are known, becomes the highest-ranking churchman to be laicized, or dismissed from the clerical state. It marks a remarkable downfall for the globe-trotting powerbroker and influential church fundraiser who mingled with presidents and popes but preferred to be called “Uncle Ted” by the young men he courted.

The scandal swirling around McCarrick was even more damning to the church’s reputation in the eyes of the faithful because it apparently was an open secret that he slept with adult seminarians.

The Vatican summit, running Feb. 21-24, draws church leaders from around the world to talk about preventing abuse. It was called in part to respond to the McCarrick scandal as well as to the explosion of the abuse crisis in Chile and its escalation in the United States last year.

Despite the apparent common knowledge in church circles of his sexual behavior, McCarrick rose to the heights of church power. He even acted as the spokesman for U.S. bishops when they enacted a “zero tolerance” policy against sexually abusive priests in 2002.

That perceived hypocrisy, coupled with allegations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses, outraged many among the rank-and-file faithful who had trusted church leaders to reform how they handled sex abuse after 2002.

Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July after a U.S. church investigation determined that an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible. It was the first known allegation against McCarrick involving a minor — a far more serious offense than sleeping with adult seminarians.

But Francis himself became implicated in the decade-long McCarrick cover-up after a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. accused the pope of rehabilitating the cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI despite being told of his penchant for young men.

Francis hasn’t responded to the claims. But he has ordered a limited Vatican investigation. The Vatican has acknowledged the outcome may produce evidence that mistakes were made, but said Francis would “follow the path of truth, wherever it may lead.”

McCarrick moved from his Washington retirement home to a Kansas religious residence after Francis ordered him to live in penance and prayer while the investigation continued.

It wasn’t immediately clear if he would continue to live in a religious residence.

Vatican watchers have compared the McCarrick cover-up scandal to that of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, perhaps the 20th-century Catholic Church’s most notorious pedophile. Maciel’s sex crimes against children were ignored for decades by a Vatican impressed by his ability to bring in donations and vocations. Among Maciel’s staunchest admirers was Pope John Paul II, who later became a saint.

Like Maciel, McCarrick was a powerful and popular prelate who funneled millions in donations to the Vatican. He apparently got a calculated pass for what many in the church hierarchy would have either discounted as ideological-fueled rumor or brushed off as a mere “moral lapse” in sleeping with adult men.

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Children in St. Louis have been the victim of homicides at 10 times the national rate... More >>
30 minutes ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:34:54 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is reversing his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world... More >>
45 minutes ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:19:49 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police were seen searching the area near the scene of a crash Saturday afternoon. Police responded to... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 8:31:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members came together Saturday for a Walk and Roll-A-Thon in recognition of Disability Employment Awareness Month. ... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 5:11:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Demonstrators rallied at Speakers Circle on Saturday for the first ever National Period Day. Organizers said they... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:47:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members got the chance to challenge Columbia police officers in their favorite video games during the department's... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:41:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Grassroots organizations are working across Missouri to persuade gun-related business owners to join efforts to limit... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:37:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
SALINE COUNTY — Three Saline County children abducted in 2017 were found in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, according to the... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 2:15:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One Lincoln man is dead following a crash between a motorcycle and a tractor-trailer Friday night on... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 1:19:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Water and Light department said it believes all power has been restored in Columbia. About... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 10:05:00 AM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
MARSHALL - The suspect in a pair of shootings in early October has been caught out of state, police announced... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 9:10:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - A man heard his sentence on Friday after killing a 20-year-old three years ago for drunk driving. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:06:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA —The University of Missouri issued a statement Friday that the MU Department of Theatre was "in error" when it... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:52:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Friday Night Fever’s Week 8 Game of the Week features a dominant Helias (6-1) visited by a surging... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:44:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA — The True False Film Festival and Ragtag Cinema are dissolving their relationship with Columbia church The Crossing. Cinema... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:33:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Springfield Mayor Ken McClure hosted a group for a strategy session that included Governor Mike Parson in October.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 4:18:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY - The extent of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' leg injury sustained during the team's Thursday night... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Sports
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
10pm 54°
11pm 52°
12am 51°
1am 50°