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BANGKOK 22 March 2019 02:57
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Former U.S. Cardinal McCarrick defrocked for sex crimes

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Former U.S. Cardinal McCarrick defrocked for sex crimes

By Philip Pullella

 

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FILE PHOTO: Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick during an interview with Reuters at the North American College in Rome February 14, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

 

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood after he was found guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Vatican said on Saturday.

 

Pope Francis has decided that the ruling, which followed an appeal by the man who was a power-broker as Archbishop of Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2006, was now final.

 

A Vatican statement said his crimes were made more serious by "the aggravating factor of the abuse of power".

 

McCarrick, who in July became the first Roman Catholic prelate in nearly 100 years to lose the title of cardinal, has now become the highest profile church figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.

 

The decision comes as the Church is still grappling with a decades-long sexual abuse crisis that has exposed how predator priests were moved from parish to parish instead of being defrocked or turned over to civilian authorities in countries across the globe.

 

With the ruling, Pope Francis appears to be sending a signal that even those in the highest echelons of the hierarchy will be held accountable.

 

The ruling, made by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith three days ago, was announced ahead of next week's meeting at the Vatican between the heads of national Catholic Churches to discuss the global abuse crisis.

 

Defrocking means McCarrick can no longer call himself a priest or celebrate the sacraments, although he would be allowed to administer to a person on the verge of death in an emergency.

 

The allegations against McCarrick, whose fall from grace stunned the U.S. Church, date back to decades ago when he was still rising to the top of the hierarchy there.

 

McCarrick, who has been living in seclusion in a remote friary in Kansas, has responded publicly to only one of the allegations, saying he has "absolutely no recollection" of an alleged case of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy more than 50 years ago.

 

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the ruling showed that "different treatment for bishops who have committed or covered up abuse in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable."

 

CRIME IN CONFESSION

 

McCarrick was also found guilty of the separate crime of solicitation, which refers to when a priest uses the pretext of the sacrament of confession to commit an immoral act with a penitent.

 

One of men who has claimed that McCarrick abused him when he was a boy said McCarrick, then a priest, touched his genitals during confession.

 

Separately, several priests and ex-priests have come forward alleging McCarrick used his authority to coerce them to sleep with him when they were adult seminarians studying for the priesthood.

 

McCarrick has not commented publicly on the allegations of misconduct with adults, which was an open secret in the U.S. Church.

 

Francis ordered a "thorough study" last year of all documents in Holy See offices concerning McCarrick. The four U.S. dioceses where he served - New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, D.C. - have launched independent investigations.

 

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

 

The meeting offers a chance for him to respond to criticism from victims of abuse that he has stumbled in his handling of the crisis and has not done enough to make bishops accountable.

 

McCarrick had already received one of the most severe punishments short of defrocking. When the pope accepted his resignation as cardinal last July, he also ordered him to refrain from public ministry and live in seclusion, prayer and penitence.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-02-16

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16 minutes ago, pegman said:

The Church should be labeled a criminal organization and disbanded by the courts. It's property and possessions confiscated just like what is done to the bike gangs. 

did not Henry VIII do something like that?

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I always "Believed" I was agnostic (I don't know if God exists & am resigned to the fact that I never will - Get on with life), turns out today's society labels me as "Passive Atheist" but if there is a God & a Hell, I "pray" for a special room for these people.

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9 hours ago, rooster59 said:

Defrocking means McCarrick can no longer call himself a priest or celebrate the sacraments

 

He can't use a particular word, and he can't "celebrate".  I wonder, what is the additional punishment if he does call himself a priest?  A double-secret defrocking?

 

He obviously does not believe in his particular brand of superstition, or he wouldn't have committed these crimes in the first place.

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6 hours ago, pegman said:

The Church should be labeled a criminal organization and disbanded by the courts. It's property and possessions confiscated just like what is done to the bike gangs. 

A good start would be delegitimising Cannon Law and replacing with Common Law.

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Defrocked eh?  That'll teach him... NOT!

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1 minute ago, simon43 said:

Defrocked eh?  That'll teach him... NOT!

Decapitate...disembowel...may get other unruly priests attention...

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18 minutes ago, simon43 said:

Defrocked eh?  That'll teach him... NOT!

Yeah, now he's running around frockless....

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Imprison the filthy animal; get the names of those who covered up his vile acts; charge them with conspiracy; then punish them Inquisition style!

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