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BREAKING NEWS — McCarrick guilty of sexual abuse and stripped of priesthood by Pope

Theodore McCarrick was removed from the priesthood by Pope Francis after it was found that the ex-cardinal was guilty of the sexual abuse of adults and minors and the abuse of power. This is a precedential decision by the pope as Ricardo da Silva SJ reports.

In a precedential decision by Pope Francis, a cardinal has been defrocked. After months of criticism over sexual abuses of minors and adult seminarians committed by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Vatican has notified that Theodore McCarrick has been stripped of the priesthood.

The decision is a definite sign that the pope is serious about responding to the crisis of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. He has now taken concrete action and imposed the most severe measures on one found guilty of committing abuses of sex and power.

Returning a man who was once a cardinal to his lay state is unprecedented. The pope has suffered great criticism over past months for what some have thought too soft an approach in dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. But it would appear that such criticism may be unjustified.

The communication of McCarrick’s dismissal from the priestly state came this morning, 15 February 2019, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).The message from the Vatican congregation responsible for investigating such heinous abuses by clerics, reports that the ‘penal process’ into abuses by McCarrick was concluded on 11 January 2019

The CDF found the former cardinal, bishop and priest, guilty of the following violations: “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.” Given the guilty verdict, the CDF “imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state”

Hearing that he had been found guilty and expelled from the priesthood, McCarrick immediately appealed the decision of the CDF. But the congregation notified him, shortly afterwards, that they found no grounds that needed to be considered in his recourse to appeal.

Pope Francis has ratified the decision by the CDF and has decreed that the matter is res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse).

* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.