McCarrick is the first churchman who reached the rank of cardinal to be defrocked in the church’s sex abuse scandals
Pope Francis has defrocked former US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and of sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Holy See said Saturday.
McCarrick, 88, is the highest-ranking Catholic churchman to be laicised, as the process is called. It means he can no longer celebrate Mass or other sacraments, wear clerical vestments or be addressed by any religious title. He is the first churchman who reached the rank of cardinal to be defrocked in the church’s sex abuse scandals.
The punishment for the once-powerful prelate, who had served as the archbishop of Washington, spent years in New Jersey dioceses and had been an influential fundraiser for the church, was announced five days before Francis leads an extraordinary gathering of bishops from around the world to help the church grapple with the crisis of sex abuse by clergy and the systematic cover-ups by church hierarchy. The decades-long scandals have shaken the faith of many Catholics and threaten Francis’ papacy.