WASHINGTON (CNS) — As U.S. bishops gathered in early January at a seminary in Illinois to pray and reflect about the American church’s sex abuse crisis, reports trickled out about the possible fate of one their own being decided overseas.
The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported Jan. 5 that a decision on whether to laicize former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who’s facing accusations that he sexually abused minors, could come as soon as mid-January because Vatican officials don’t want the decision to overshadow a gathering the pope has called for, seeking to meet Feb. 21-24 with prelates from around the world about protecting minors.
Pope Francis accepted the prelate’s resignation from the College of Cardinals last July, and last September, the Archdiocese of Washington, to which he last belonged, announced that Archbishop McCarrick had been sent to live among a small community of Capuchin Franciscan friars in rural Kansas. The Vatican, meanwhile, has been investigating the accusations in order to make a decision about whether the 88-year-old archbishop will return to the lay state.
On Jan. 5, the online Catholic news outlet Crux reported that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles clergy sex abuse claims among some of its responsibilities, is reviewing a third case involving Archbishop McCarrick and a minor, one more case than previously reported.
After accusations came to light last summer that Archbishop McCarrick had abused a minor almost five decades ago, in his early years as a priest in New York, Pope Francis removed him from public ministry. Since then, other accusations involving abuse of adult seminarians have been reported, but now two subsequent ones involving minors have made news. Archbishop McCarrick has denied wrongdoing and while he cannot be criminally prosecuted because the cases are too old, the Vatican can take action regarding his ability to exercise the priesthood.
But the case looms over the U.S. bishops because many are asking why he was allowed to ascend the hierarchical church ladder when some in church circles had reported questionable behavior to the Vatican.
St. John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001, while he was Archbishop of Washington, and he had previously served as auxiliary bishop in New York, bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, and archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103