Vatican defrocks former US cardinal McCarrick over sex abuse

7 months 3 days 23 hours 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
COLUMBIA — The Columbia community came together Thursday night to remember the life of a Columbia College student killed in... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 8:55:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the third straight year, the Capitol Avenue Historic District in Jefferson City is considered a "Place... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 8:22:47 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is sending highway patrol troopers and other state workers to St. Louis... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 7:29:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
WILLIAMSBURG — A woman running for a seat in the U.S. Congress said Callaway County Sheriff's Department wrongfully searched her... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 6:39:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - For investigators, finding Megan Shultz's likely remains in the Columbia landfill after only eight days of searching was... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 6:36:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — In an earlier story we discussed the difference between weather and climate . While they’re not the same... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 6:20:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in Continuous News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri health officials say the state has recorded its first vaping-related death. The Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 4:05:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- One Columbia neighbor was left feeling uneasy Thursday after a burglary resulted in a death on her street. ... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 4:03:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
BOONVILLE - The Boonville Police Department took 30-year-old Johnathan Todd into custody on Thursday for possession of meth, marijuana, prescription-controlled... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 3:58:53 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
FULTON – Fulton community members and business owners are coming together to show their support for a family and their... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 2:56:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request by Missouri to allow a ban on abortions after... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:21:00 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Jurors ruled against a teacher who alleged that she was fired from a Catholic school in... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:15:51 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
IBERIA - Police are investigating a threat of mass violence made by a student in Iberia R-V School District. ... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 9:53:00 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - An Illinois man drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks Wednesday afternoon after falling into the water.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 9:40:00 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
Global warming has often been used interchangeably with climate change. Well, they shouldn’t be, because they do not describe the... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 10:50:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in Climate
COLUMBIA - Longtime MU professor and musicologist Dr. Michael Budds wiped tears from his eyes as MU alumna Symonne... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 8:29:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
BELLE - After the bodies of 4-year-old Bentlee Turner and 37-year-old Jason Burton were found on Monday night, the community... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 7:42:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Flu shots are now available from the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services (PHHS). ... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:26:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
9am 76°
10am 77°
11am 79°
12pm 80°