Vatican boots DC cardinal over sex abuse of minors as new questions swirl around Pope Francis
| Fox News, Rome – Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick has been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse and defrocked, as calls rose Saturday for Pope Francis to reveal what he knew about the once-powerful American prelate’s apparently decades-long predatory sexual behavior.
The announcement Saturday, delivered in uncharacteristically blunt language for the Vatican, meant that the 88-year-old McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., becomes the highest-ranking churchman and the first cardinal to be punished by dismissal from the clerical state, or laicization …
Scandal raises questions about the survival of Francis’s papacy
The pontiff next week leads a summit of bishops from around the world who have been summoned to Rome help him grapple with the entrenched problems of clerical sex abuse and the systematic cover-ups by the Catholic church’s hierarchy.
Decades of revelations about priests who have sexually preyed on minors and their bosses who shuffled abusive clergy from parish to parish instead of removing them from access to children have shaken the faith of many Catholics.
They also threaten the moral authority of Francis and even the survival of his papacy.
McCarrick, who in his prestigious red cardinal robes hobnobbed with presidents, other VIP politicians and pontiffs, is now barred from celebrating Mass or other sacraments including confession and from wearing clerical garb. He is to be referred to as Mr. McCarrick.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy See’s guardian of doctrinal purity, issued a decree on Jan. 11 finding 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 Vatican said. That commandment forbids adultery.
On Wednesday, Congregation officials considered his appeal and upheld the decree. Read more.
Additional coverage …
| CNN – The Vatican has dismissed former US cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick after a Church trial found him guilty of sexually abusing minors.
McCarrick, who once led the Archdiocese of Washington and was recognized as a powerful advocate of the Catholic Church’s political priorities, was informed of the decision on Friday, a Vatican statement said.
The judgment was recognized by the Pope to be a “definitive nature,” and is “res iudicata” — meaning it is no longer subject to appeal.
Allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians and an altar boy decades ago had left the Church reeling in recent years, prompting serious questions among Catholic leaders as to why he was allowed to rise through the Church ranks.
A letter from a top Vatican official obtained by CNN last year appeared to acknowledge that the Holy See knew about the allegations for at least several months before McCarrick was elevated to cardinal in 2001.
He subsequently led the Archdiocese of Washington until 2006, frequently meeting political leaders and becoming a force in American politics.
McCarrick is one of the most high-profile figures to be expelled from the Church during the sex abuse crisis that has roiled the institution in recent decades. Read more. Image: World Economic Forum, CC BY-SA 2
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