The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith co him guilty of "solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, one of the most prominent and for decades among the most influential people in the US Catholic Church, has been dismissed from the clerical state.
A decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published today declares him guilty of "solicitation in confession and violations of the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue with minors and adults, with the aggravating circumstance of the abuse of power". McCarrick, formerly Archbishop of Washington, had been stripped of his position as Cardinal last July 2018, after allegations had been made against him of having abused a minor.
Here is the text of the statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
"On 11 January 2019, the Congresso of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the conclusion of a penal process, issued a decree finding Theodore Edgar McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power. The Congresso imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state. On 13 February 2019, the Ordinary Session (Feria IV) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the recourse he presented against this decision. Having examined the arguments in the recourse, the Ordinary Session confirmed the decree of the Congresso. This decision was notified to Theodore McCarrick on 15 February 2019. The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse). ".
The McCarrick case has long divided the Church of the United States. As early as the 1990s, when he was archbishop of Newark, rumors circulated about his homosexual behavior toward seminarians and priests. Many Catholic laypeople in the US wonder why such a distinguished personality has been able to "make a career" by becoming archbishop of Washington (in 2000) and cardinal (in 2001).
Retiring in 2006, he continued to influence the bishops' nominations in the US and on the international politics of the Holy See, particularly in relations with China.
A dossier published by former Nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò states that Benedict XVI had imposed sanctions on McCarrick, but they were never applied. In response Card. Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, said that those of Benedict XVI were not "sanctions", but recommendations.
Last June, McCarrick was publicly accused of raping a teenager 45 years earlier. Following this he was removed form the college of cardinals and was dismissed from every public ministry. Last December, he was also accused of molesting an 11-year-old boy during a confession. From July 2018, at the suggestion of Pope Francis, the former cardinal has the obligation to live confined to "a life of prayer and penance". At present McCarrick is located in the convent of St. Fidelis in Victoria (Kansas), where he lives together with five Capuchins and a friar.