L’Affaire McCarrick: Soon to be “Mister”

This is an interesting development in L’Affaire McCarrick.

From Vida Nueva Digital:

Francisco expulsará del sacerdocio a Theodore McCarrick por abusar de menores

Theodore McCarrick está viviendo quizá sus últimos días como sacerdote. El que fuera cardenal y uno de los hombres más influyentes de la Iglesia católica en Estados Unidos podría recibir en breve el máximo castigo que el Derecho Canónico contempla para un eclesiástico: la dimisión del estado clerical. Según ha podido saber Vida Nueva, la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, encargada de juzgar los ‘delicta graviora’ (delitos más graves, entre ellos la pederastia), está a punto de cerrar el proceso a McCarrick, acusado de abusar sexualmente de tres menores y de varios seminaristas y jóvenes sacerdotes.

La reducción al estado laical de un antiguo miembro del Colegio cardenalicio, del que fue expulsado en julio por el Papa por abusos a un adolescente, es una medida sin precedentes en la historia moderna de la Iglesia. Será el mejor símbolo de que Francisco va en serio en su voluntad de limpiar la Iglesia de pederastas y encubridores antes de que se inicie la cumbre convocada en el Vaticano del 21 al 24 de febrero para hablar sobre cómo proteger a los menores dentro de las instituciones eclesiásticas. Representantes de las conferencias episcopales de todo el mundo están llamados a participar en esta inédita cita que debe marcar un punto de inflexión en la lucha contra la pederastia en la Iglesia.

[…]

Reuters:

Vatican to rule next week on defrocking of disgraced U.S. cardinal: sources

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Vatican officials will meet next week to decide the fate of disgraced former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick over allegations of sexual abuse, Vatican sources said on Friday.

Vatican sources told Reuters last month that McCarrick will almost certainly be dismissed from the priesthood, which would make him the highest profile Roman Catholic figure to be defrocked in modern times.

Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican department that will rule on the case, met Pope Francis on Thursday, according to a public Vatican schedule.

The Vatican did not say what was discussed but one source said it was likely that Ladaria briefed the pontiff on the final stages of the McCarrick case. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case.

Francis, who will have to sign off on any dismissal decision, wants the McCarrick case over before heads of national Catholic churches meet at the Vatican from Feb. 21-24 to discuss the global sexual abuse crisis, three Vatican sources told Reuters last month.

[…]

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22 Responses to L’Affaire McCarrick: Soon to be “Mister”

  1. restoration says:

    “It will be the best symbol that Francisco is serious in his desire to cleanse the Church of pedophiles and accessories before the summit…”

    Oh please! The only reason he is doing anything is that the spotlight is on. His gay emissary to Red China got caught leaving him no choice but to act. Like a roach that doesn’t like the light, Francis will quickly return to the darkness of his homosexual buddies in the Curia. This homo-predator cabal is happy to sacrifice a geriatric member of their tribe so that it can be business as usual. It already took months longer than it should have…they proably hoped he’d die as they slow walked the proceedings.

    I hope Mr. McCarrick sings like a canary once he is out on the street. He knows where all the “bodies are buried” going back to Cardinal Spellman. Perhaps he will implicate Donald Wuerl’s and his groomer Cardinal Wright? I want him in prison–not getting a bookdeal, but 60 Minutes or a major paper needs to get the exclusive on this criminal’s long history.

  2. Ave Maria says:

    May “Uncle Ted” be the first of many who deserve a defrocking.

  3. Will this be the first of many, or will this be the token cleric thrown under the bus (albeit for reasons well-founded) while the other malfeasants are off the hook? Given how the issue is being handled by Rome so far — who’s in charge of what, who’s able to deny repeatedly, and so on — I have to wonder.

  4. Josephus Corvus says:

    At the end of the day, what is the advantage that comes from this other than making it look like the Church is “doing something”? As long as he is a cleric, he has the duty of obedience so those in charge could send him somewhere where he is never heard from again. If he is dismissed, he can pretty much do or say whatever he chooses.

    My archdiocese had an archbishop who retired under a serious cloud. His successor was one who didn’t want to rock the boat because he was angling for a major promotion, so #1 was allowed to appear in public, do Confirmations, write in the Catholic paper, etc. Once the promotion was received and Archbishop #3 arrived, the first guy was never heard from again, as it should have been.

    In fact, this has been my question regarding any abuser priests who are beyond the reach of the law. If they are dismissed from the clerical state, they can actually be more of a danger since they can leave the area they are known in and be involved with potential victims in secular life, while if they were not dismissed, they could be sent somewhere out of the way.

  5. Josephus Corvus says: At the end of the day, what is the advantage that comes from this other than making it look like the Church is “doing something”? As long as he is a cleric, he has the duty of obedience so those in charge could send him somewhere where he is never heard from again. If he is dismissed, he can pretty much do or say whatever he chooses.

    That the Church look like she is “doing something” is not nothing. The Church must be seen to be punishing evildoers and to vindicate their victims. Anything less is an absence of charity. And what makes you think that priests deposed from the clerical state do not still owe a duty of obedience to legitimate authority? Everyone owes that.

    These arguments that nothing is achieved by invoking canonical penalties when appropriate have led the Church to disaster.

  6. Gab says:

    I’ll only believe it when I see it happen.

  7. Josephus Corvus says:

    @Anita Moore – Maybe I’m missing what state a dismissed cleric is actually in. Everyone does not owe their respective bishop the same level of obedience. If my bishop told the pastor of my parish to pack up his things, move across the county, and do another role, off he would go. On the other hand, if bishop told a lay person to quit their job, while they might be obliged to consider it, unless the job is intrinsically sinful there is no obligation to quit. Losing the prestige of being a cardinal, on the other hand, does mean something. So would an assignment cleaning bed pans….

  8. Joe in Canada says:

    displaying my theological ignorance here. Why has he not resigned from the episcopacy as he has from the cardinalacy? Is that possible? Didn’t Raymond Lahey resign from the episcopacy?

  9. Dismas says:

    Meh, his golden parachute won’t be touched. Too much at stake…

  10. ThePapalCount says:

    Will he be reduced to the lay state? “Mr” McCarrick — something tells me that he will not. But, will be ordered to a place of penance and prayer for the rest of his life as a simple priest. No faculties. No public appearances. The Powers that be may say he’s very old and has been punished enough by losing the cardinalate and by being banished already to a convent. They may say it would be uncharitable to toss him out on the streets. His health insurance and pension would not be touched.
    As a layman however he could go wherever he wanted and speak out anytime about his situation and about others etc. A loose cannon. But, by keeping him a cleric they can control him…and threaten him with the loss of health insurance and church pensions if he is disobedient.

  11. TonyO says:

    But, will be ordered to a place of penance and prayer for the rest of his life as a simple priest.
    and

    As long as he is a cleric, he has the duty of obedience so those in charge could send him somewhere where he is never heard from again.

    Ordered, sure. But would he go?

    You guys are all making this assumption that if he is a cleric, he will do what he is told. But he already defied Pope Benedict who told him to do not-quite-as-difficult things, so what makes anyone think he would abide by a sentence of living in a place of penance and prayer? He could just thumb his nose at the orders and continue on doing what he chooses. Leaving him a cleric DOES NOT imply he will obey orders. And the Church has no penal institutions with guards and electric fences to keep people in against their will.

    At the end of the day, what is the advantage that comes from this other than making it look like the Church is “doing something”?

    It is (a) carrying out just law, which is inherently desirable.
    It is (b) imposing a just sentence, which inherently operates to help redress the crime committed, whether the offender feels unhappy about it or not.
    It is (c) upholding the integrity of the priesthood, bishopric, and the cardinalate, to regain (a bit of) the respect due to it.
    It (d) removes from the offender a title of honor and respect which he no longer deserves, which is to say it testifies to the truth.
    It (e) removes from the offender the office or right to perform acts that ought to be denied him for the safety and purity of the sacramental order.
    It (f) will be something McCarrick will find painful, whether he seems to publicly or not.

    It’s not merely symbolic. It’s real, even if it’s not perfect.

  12. HvonBlumenthal says:

    If it is done as part of a wider policy of punishing clerics who make indecent proposals (whether to clerics or laypeople) then it’s a good thing.

    If, on the other hand, it is a one-off action designed to mislead people into thinking that clerical harassment only really matters when children are involved, then it is not a good move.

  13. Egad_Trad_Dad says:

    Cleric or lay, Ted’s probably going to do what he wants. Canon law rests chiefly on moral rather than coercive authority, hence those whose consciences are so degenerate that they flout the laws of nature will not be troubled when flouting the laws of the Church. Boot his posterior out and let the chips fall where they may, says I.

  14. kurtmasur says:

    “And the Church has no penal institutions with guards and electric fences to keep people in against their will.”

    I guess we could say that the above statement is true, or isn’t it?

    Wasn’t it cardinal Cupich Who had ordered a priest from his diocese not to burn the gay pride flag, the priest burned the flag anyways, and the cardinal ended up calling the police on the priest to remove him by force from his own parish?

  15. Imrahil says:

    As far as I know, “simple priest” is not an option. He is a bishop, and a bishop can possibly be reduced to a layman but never to a simple-priest. Because the former can be achieved by dismissing him from the clergy and forbidding him to act out his ordination-character (except in danger of death); but how would you effect to make him a simple-priest?

  16. APX says:

    Losing the prestige of being a cardinal, on the other hand, does mean something. So would an assignment cleaning bed pans….

    A bit insulting and degrading to the humble folk in hospitals, convalescent houses and nursing homes, etc who do this and other unpleasant tasks day in and day out serving those who can no longer serve themselves.

  17. Egad_Trad_Dad says:

    @imrahil: It is possible to reduce a bishop to the lay state. Consider the disgraced Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who was penalized thus in 2009.

  18. Imrahil says:

    Which is what I said. But it is not possible (correct me, but I can’t see how) to reduce him to a simple-priest state.

  19. AA Cunningham says:

    “and the cardinal ended up calling the police on the priest to remove him by force from his own parish? kurtmasur says: 9 February 2019 at 4:22 AM”

    The details surrounding Father Paul Kalchik’s decision to go into hiding can be found at:

    Chicago Priest Goes Into Hiding to Escape Cdl. Cupich’s Punishment

  20. TonyO says:

    and the cardinal ended up calling the police on the priest to remove him by force from his own parish?

    Sure, the cardinal or bishop can take a parish away from a priest, and can use the forces of civil law to make it effective. But the cardinal cannot call the chancery guards, nor call on the police, to force the priest to remain in a “place of penance and prayer” if he decides to walk out and walk away. Nor prevent the priest from speaking in public, nor publishing books and articles, nor living off of money he may have amassed while in a parish (unless fined away due to civil crimes).

  21. Matthew says:

    It would be best, no matter what the Holy Father decides, that McCarrick not live in a Friary across from a high school much longer.

  22. DonL says:

    I hope that we not allow ourselves to be distracted by this one event, thinking that all is accomplished. That larger problems have yet to be dealt with is the big reality God’s Church cannot afford to ignore.. or put off till tomorrow.

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