Catholic Church defrocks ex-Cardinal over Sexual Abuse

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. While he resigned as archbishop and renounced the privileges associated with being a cardinal he faced no canonical sanctions and kept his red hat.

Theodore McCarrick, 88, one of the prominent figures in the church, was defrocked just days before an unprecedented global summit of bishops to discuss child sexual abuse is convened by the Vatican.

Addressing faithful in the square, Francis asked for prayers for the gathering of the heads of Catholic bishops' conferences worldwide. "I am grateful to Pope Francis for the determined way he has led the Church's response". That commandment forbids adultery.

Mr McCarrick is alleged to have assaulted the teenager while working as a priest in NY in the early 1970s.

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.

One victim, James Grein, the son of a family friend of McCarrick's, had testified to church officials that, among other abuses, he had repeatedly groped him during confession.

The Archdiocese of Washington said that the Vatican's laicization of McCarrick "underscores the gravity of his actions".

The CNS report noted that the penalty on McCarrick "was the toughest meted out to a cardinal by the Vatican in modern times".

Since September, McCarrick has been living in a friary in rural Kansas after being ordered to a "life of prayer and penance".

The Vatican has said that the investigative process was completed in January and Mr McCarrick was informed of the decision to dismiss him from the priesthood last night.

McCarrick has also been accused of abusing seminarians and an altar boy, accusations he denies.

The pope wanted the case completed before heads of national Catholic churches meet at the Vatican from February 21-24 to discuss the crisis, three sources said. 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 a year ago.

The Sixth Commandment regards sexual behaviour. "There is also a very important signal for us bishops that we are not above the law ... we should be judged according to the highest standards", he said.

In the United States, a Pennsylvania grand jury named more than 300 clergy in a report which found more than 1,000 children had been abused.

Some critics have come out to say that the church is trying to protect its image by avoiding the word sex in the theme "the protection of minors".

Francis hasn't responded to those claims. He testified in December in NY before a Vatican-appointed investigator.

In November 2000, he was tapped by Pope John Paul II to lead the Archdiocese of Washington. She said the other 94 either still hold the title of bishop or did so until they died.

Maciel's predatory crimes against children were ignored for decades by the Vatican bureaucracy.

The Rev. Marcial Maciel, a pedophile, enjoyed John Paul II's admiration for his success in spurring vocations and for inspiring generous financial donations.

McCarrick was apparently told Friday that he would be booted from the Vatican's ranks. There are too many young people that are leaving the church.

  • Tracy Klein