Mister McCarrick

McCarrick has been “laicized”, that is, stripped of the clerical state.  While Holy Orders leaves an indelible mark on the souls (meaning that even death doesn’t remove the sacramental character – a priest is a priest forever, even in heaven or… *shudder* in the other place) he may not function in any priestly capacity for the rest of his life.

The Catholic Herald writes:

Pope Francis and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered this week the laicization of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington, and a once powerful figure in ecclesiastical, diplomatic, and political circles in the U.S. and around the world.

The decision followed an administrative penal process conducted by the CDF, which found McCarrick 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,” according to a February 16 Vatican communique.

The conviction was made following an “administrative penal process,”which is a much-abbreviated penal mechanism used in cases in which the evidence is so clear that a full trial is unnecessary.

Because Pope Francis personally approved the guilty verdict and the penalty of laicization, it is formally impossible for the decision to be appealed.

According to a statement from the Vatican on February 16, the decree finding McCarrick guilty was issued on January 11 and followed by an appeal, which was rejected by the CDF on February 13.

McCarrick was notified of the decision on February 15 and Pope Francis “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.)”

[…]

While I take little pleasure in any of this, I find it grimly pleasing.  I had long held McCarrick as one of the most loathsome people at large in the Church, based on what I had heard of him decades ago, and on his blatant lying about Ratzinger’s letter to US bishops and about what Arinze said in a presser when I was present.

Good riddance.  The barque is a little less grimy today.

What remains to be determined is to what extent McCarrick was involved with Francis and Team Francis before and after the 2003 conclave.

That will come out.  After all, the Devil makes good frying pan, but he doesn’t make covers for them.  Eventually, things come out.

 

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51 Responses to Mister McCarrick

  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    But who made McCarrick a cardinal? JPII, isn’t it? What did he know about McCarrick? We need to know what JPII knew and if he knew of McCarrick’s misdeeds, we need to know why he made him a cardinal anyway. No one, not even a Pope, should be exempt from scrutiny.
    Now we hear that Farrell, ex-roommate of McCarrick, has been appointed Camerlengo. This is not a good sign.

  2. Dismas says:

    I expect that Mr. McCarrick will keep his silence. His public image may have been destroyed, yet I doubt that his material comfort will be diminished. Well, so long as he keeps his trap shut.

  3. pgs says:

    Dear Fr. Z,
    Was this “administrative penal process” used because the evidence was clear and overwhelming? Or did it allow for a judgment without delving into what the hierarchy knew about him? Laicized or not, McCarrick still wields power by virtue of what he knows.

  4. Pius Admirabilis says:

    While I welcome this step, it seems as if McCarrick was merely a Bauernopfer, or a pawn. Meaning, it was a show trial for the entire Left to wash their hands in innocence after the culprit has been defrocked. Now everything is peachy again. We have the evil-doer, and there is no need for further investigation. Maybe that is also why the Vatican issued the laicization, which would not have been astounding under Pius X, but is all the more fascinating under Francis, who is known to have been covering up for abuser, and who is friends with them (McCarrick is not the only one).
    The St. Gallen Mafia is still in good standing, and we all know what they are about. And when Farrell becomes Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, this kind of contradicts the harsh measures against McCarrick, or at least their authenticity.

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If someone is an experienced predator, he is not going to show his true face to any superiors (unless they are similar predators), or to anyone he is not trying to prey upon. He may show it to inferiors, as a demonstration of power, while simultaneously taking steps to make sure nobody believes them.

    I have been following Catholic media for a long time, and nobody ever hinted that McCarrick was hinky in any way beyond the general liberal interpretation of theology… Until recently. Once the floodgates were broken, we heard lots.

    JPII was a saint, but he did not have perfect knowledge and wisdom while on earth. He picked bishops for each country from a list of candidates submitted by that country’s bishops.

  6. WmHesch says:

    Two important points:

    1) McCarrick has not been expelled from the Franciscan order… so presumably he would be “Brother McCarrick”

    2) He did not seek or receive an indult of departure… so he is still bound by religious vows, including obedience.

  7. Gregg the Obscure says:

    To use a phrase I’ve seen on these pages many times in happier contexts “it’s not nothing”. When taken with the advancement of Cdl. Farrell – who says he knew nothing about the clerical buggery sprees under his nose both as McCarrick’s housemate and as a close associate of the late Marcel Maciel – it’s quite tiny indeed. Even if Farrell is completely honest that he knew nothing, that’s not the sort of man who should be in a highly visible position in the Church.

    McCarrick excelled as a fund raiser. it would be surprising if that did not account in part for his advancement and longevity. This makes me consider that Holy Church might be better off following the example set in apostolic times in which bishops and priests focused on sacramental, catechetical, mystagogical, theological, and evangelistic ministry and left the administration of material affairs to deacons.

  8. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    “What remains to be determined is to what extent McCarrick was involved with Francis and Team Francis before and after the [2013] conclave.

    That will come out. After all, the Devil makes good frying pan, but he doesn’t make covers for them. Eventually, things come out.”

    Indeed, there are quite a few deceptive and duplicitous clergy and laity out there, and in the end, hopefully God will reveal them for the salvation of their souls.

    Some may be surprised by the large number of clergy that have collaborated with (and continue to collaborate with) governmental entities that are working hard to destroy God’s Church. Just pay close attention to those clergy that are well-liked by certain political entities and parties.

    There is more than one way to break the 8th Commandment. Multiple clergy and laity should read up on what the Catechism says about the 8th Commandment, (ahem):

    “The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others…

    Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant….

    Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity, or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy…

    Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man’s relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord…”

    Most of these people are blinded by their own arrogance, but they should be reminded that God says in Revelation 21:8 that all liars end up in hell. Even if their intentions are good, they are still committing mortal sins with those lies that gravely harm innocent persons. Persons involved with finagling the 2013 Conclave should publicly repent and publicly repair damage done. So too should other clergy and laity that have gravely harmed innocent persons through false accusations and other evils – up to and including profaning the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, profaning the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and profaning other sacred things.

  9. Therese says:

    I share the concerns of the above posters; was this done so we could “all move on” without looking too closely into the essential details of the matter? The principals of this decision will be very busy now, preparing for a world meeting of bishops, with no time for questions.

    It’s just one thing after another with this pontificate. (Mark me down as “heavily sympathetic” to the sedevacantists.)

  10. rcg says:

    But what does this mean to him? He mistreated and abused his position as a priest. What value is taking from him what he clearly hated? I doubt he will tell anything. He has been more loyal to the ones he would hurt, I think he will remain so.

  11. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    Great first step on McCarrick. Now what about all the clergy who enabled him over the last several decades? His handpicked auxiliary bishops, moderators of the Curia, priest-secretaries and other high-ranking priests currently in positions of authority ought to be questioned. Were they all just oblivious? I highly doubt it. The McCarrick network (including cardinals) is huge, and one little defrocking should not be when we rest.

  12. Arthur McGowan says:

    An opportune moment to clamor against the McCarrick-Wuerl position on the mortal sin of sacrilegious and scandalous Communion–i.e., doggedly and vociferously in favor. Each time a bishop or pastor gives Communion in violation of Canon 915, the act is grave matter. Needless to say, threatening or punishing priests who decline to join in mortal sin is also grave matter.

  13. rcg says: But what does this mean to him? He mistreated and abused his position as a priest. What value is taking from him what he clearly hated? I doubt he will tell anything. He has been more loyal to the ones he would hurt, I think he will remain so.

    This isn’t just about what it means to McCarrick. It’s about doing justice and protecting the Church. It’s about charity towards this guy’s victims.

    I can’t understand why so many people think it’s pointless to impose canonical penalties on the assumption that they won’t mean anything to the wrongdoer. The universe is a lot bigger than McCarrick.

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    “Good riddance. The barque is a little less grimy today.” Exactly.

  15. Dear WmHesch,

    Theodore McCarrick is not a Franciscan or other type of religious. He is a secular priest, originally of the Archdiocese of New York. He is bound by no religious vows, only the priestly ones made at his ordination by Cardinal Spellman.

  16. Giuseppe says:

    His laicization doesn’t negate the ordinations of the priests he ordained, right?
    Does it negate the consecration of the bishops he consecrated?
    Is this also whey there are two co-consecrators for bishops?

  17. JesusFreak84 says:

    McCreeperPants’ll take what he knows to the grave. I don’t think the DoJ would get anything out of him even under oath.

  18. TonyO says:

    JPII was a saint, but he did not have perfect knowledge and wisdom while on earth. He picked bishops for each country from a list of candidates submitted by that country’s bishops.

    Surburban, I have been saying for almost 2 decades that the mechanisms for advancing priests to the bishopric are problematic. We need a good house-clearing investigation into just how much corruption has been occurring in that process. But the problem is that the scandals of homosexuality involved in the power-plays are actually johnny-come-latelys to the scene: somehow , for even longer, the process has been allowing (a) heretical, or (b) criminally ignorant, or (c) (doctrinally) committedly spineless priests (i.e. who don’t care enough about differences of doctrine to hold a definite position) to advance. A true house-cleaning would have to also ask things like “why are bishops so absolutely determined to run their seminaries in a way that defies Pope Leo XIII’s and Pius X’s directives about training priests in the method and doctrines of St. Thomas Aquinas, and how is it that these bishops were considered sound enough to elevate to begin with?” There’s a lot of black underneath, and while the homosexuality is among the worst (well, Satan-worship is probably the absolute worst), I am not sure we can actually hope to solve the problems of the errors of sexuality until we deal with the more extensive problems of heresy and ignorance.

    But who made McCarrick a cardinal? JPII, isn’t it? What did he know about McCarrick? We need to know what JPII knew and if he knew of McCarrick’s misdeeds, we need to know why he made him a cardinal anyway. No one, not even a Pope, should be exempt from scrutiny.

    True. I was always worried that the haste with which JPII was cannonized (sic) might come back to bite us. I think that if people were asking this (and related) questions properly there would indeed be some squirmy uncomfortable feelings about his being sainted on a fast-track process. Any saint can be mistaken about something, but as smart a man as JPII was, didn’t he have any indicators that there were lots and lots of wolves in bishop’s hats? Didn’t he consider that cleaning up the selection process was a papal function of the first order?

  19. Malta says:

    Just think about it: days before defrocking McCarrick, the Pope elevates McCarrick’s good friend and housemate to a very high position in the Vatican (who himself has allegations tied in to the gay sub-culture of the Church). This is intrigue and subterfuge at a level only Shakespeare could properly put into words.

    Does this Pope think the vast majority of Catholics are stupid? My feeling is he gets a rush duping us.

    Rest assured McCarrick is going to have a very comfortable retirement.

  20. ChrisP says:

    I give Mister McCarrick 18 months tops before he meets his Maker. I sincerely hope he makes a conversion and repentance before then, but there is no way a liability like him can be left to roam free by certain elements in the Church.

    Yes, it’s that bad.

  21. HobokenZephyr says:

    Is t dismissal from the clerical state the penalty for Solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, notwithstanding the “other” matters? I thought that was the biggest of the no-no’s and was reserved to the Holy Father.

    Either way, good riddance and may God have mercy on his soul.

  22. Fr. Kelly says:

    for those speculating about whether McCarrick will speak out, from the time the New York “Credible Accusations” were made public this past summer, it was noted in reports that McC could not remember the events in question and that he could not answer the charges in detail since he was in dementia.

    Unless that was a coverup, we shouldn’t expect him to be able to speak out now. He may not be fully aware of what has happened even now.

  23. matt from az says:

    What is to stop Uncle Ted from going over to the CofE or the Episcopal Church and injecting their bishops with valid holy orders?
    Would he not be able to confer valid but illicit orders?

  24. Justalurkingfool says:

    IF, as Fr. Kelly suggests Dementia has already affected Cardinal McCarrick, then this is OUTRAGEOUSLY VINDICTIVE because, regardless of the depravity of his long life, he is now very sick.

    This needs to be made public if such a diagnosis has been competently reached and rendered, by professionals in the field.

    If this is true there is NO DEFENSE, outside of UNFATHOMABLE DEPRAVITY, for this action to laicize him, at this time.

    Karl

  25. The Astronomer says:

    The Lavender Mafia has thrown one of their own (who no longer serves any real useful purpose to them) under the bus in a cosmetic attempt to show “see, we’re DOING something!”

    The Lord Jesus is not fooled and neither are the laity…

  26. Michael Haz says:

    It’s a start. As much as I hate to say it, there it is. The question (for me, at least) is whether this was a bone thrown to the faithful to get us to shut up about the lavender mafia and other problems within the Catholic Church, or the beginning of a sincere effort to rid the Church its clergy and ordained whose beliefs and behaviors stand in opposition to the Church’s teachings.

    When the Cult of Jim gets stomped on I’ll start to believe that the clean-up has gone far enough down the org chart to be meaningful.

    Until then, I remain very doubtful.

  27. veritas vincit says:

    WmHesch: ‘1) McCarrick has not been expelled from the Franciscan order… so presumably he would be “Brother McCarrick”’

    As far as I can tell, particularly from his Wikipedia biography, Mr. McCarrick was a secular priest, not a Franciscan. He was merely living at a Franciscan friary in Kansas.

    I would assume that being laicized has released McCarrick from his obligation to remain at that friary in a life of prayer and penance.

  28. Gab says:

    Okay, NOW I believe it.

  29. JGavin says:

    I think this is killing the chicken to scare the monkey. A cleaning from top to bottom is needed.Who knew what and when. There is still the aroma of obfuscation and not fessing up. I also suspect there are people of conservative leanings who are guilty as well with similar orientations are in positions of authority. It makes it really hard to attend Mass and contribute financially. This is the most diabolical of plots from the enemy. It is also not an American issue as the events unfolding in Chile prove. The only thing that one keeps in mind is that one is not going let their actions mislead me into going to Hell.

  30. Chuck Ludd says:

    It is not a time to gloat, but a time to pray.

  31. AA Cunningham says:

    I have been following Catholic media for a long time, and nobody ever hinted that McCarrick was hinky in any way beyond the general liberal interpretation of theology… Until recently. Suburbanbanshee says: 16 February 2019 at 9:38 AM

    Apparently not long enough as talk about McCarrick and what was taking place at his beach house has been around for at least two decades.

    JPII was a saint, but he did not have perfect knowledge and wisdom while on earth. He picked bishops for each country from a list of candidates submitted by that country’s bishops. Suburbanbanshee says: 16 February 2019 at 9:38 AM

    While Pontiff’s have the final say, they base their decisions largely on the recommendations of others. Had Quarracino not suppressed Kolvenbach’s report on Bergoglio, it’s likely that he would have never been ordained a Bishop.

  32. JGavin says:

    Chuck ludd It is always a time to pray. Think of explaining yourself as perpetrator to Him who died for your sins? Think of how the actions of the perpetrator jeopardized the faith of those who were his victims and not only them but also the friends and families of those victims who fall away from the Church but cannot put their finger on it but may be aware that something is wrong with the victim. Think of the victims who slide into substance abuse and suicide because of this. Think of the casual Catholic who abandons the faith altogether because the feeling all clergy are guilty either by doing the abuse, consenting to the abuse or concealing the ill done deed. Imagine the fury that awaits you when staring at the nail marks, you who by your calling and anointing KNEW better. This sort of crime damages the whole Church militant. It threatens the salvation of souls. It fills up hell, potentially.

  33. Geoffrey says:

    “But who made McCarrick a cardinal? JPII, isn’t it? What did he know about McCarrick? We need to know what JPII knew and if he knew of McCarrick’s misdeeds, we need to know why he made him a cardinal anyway. No one, not even a Pope, should be exempt from scrutiny.”

    It has been discussed in other quarters that Pope St John Paul II’s apparent “slowness” to dealing with the abuse crisis was based on his personal experiences in Communist Poland, where it was a known tactic of the Communists to malign priests and bishops with false allegations concerning affairs, etc.

    Regarding McCarrick, Popes are only told what their subordinates want them to know. Popes may be the Vicar of Christ on Earth, but that does not make them omniscient or omnipresent. They have to rely on others.

  34. Pingback: Sunday Go To Meeting Post | The Port Stands At Your Elbow

  35. Hb says:

    While McCarrick deserved to be reduced to the lay state, it seems to be a move done to satiate the masses and for Rome to look like it is doing something so that after the bishops return they can go back to business as usual.

    Let us pray for the conversion and salvation of souls….

  36. acardnal says:

    The title of your post says it all: “Mister” McCarrick.

  37. Andrew Hollingsworth says:

    Surely the outcome has been a huge advance on other recent scandals involving members of the Sacred College Cardinal Groër remained a Cardinal and Cardinal O’Brien remained a Cardinal with some form of proviso that he would not take part in the Conclave. These men should too have been strongly encouraged to resign as Cardinals if not be subject to the same process as McCarrick.

  38. ThePapalCount says:

    Pope Francis’ appointment of McCarrick’s close collaborator Cardinal Kevin Farrell as carmelengo is really a mockery. Is Francis tone deaf to what is going on? I doubt it. He’s in the mix and he is a conniving fox.
    Nonetheless, I hope Cardinal Farrell gets to exercise his office as soon as possible.

  39. Hidden One says:

    Giuseppe,

    No, no, and no. Be at peace.

  40. Fr. Kelly says:

    Before we get too too excited about the definitive character of this punishment,

    let’s consider the case of Ernesto Cardenal. John Paul II suspended him a divinis in 1979 because of his refusal to step down from his position in the Nicaraguan communist Sandinista government. There is a famous 1983 video of John Paul II castigating him when he kneels for a blessing in a greeting line.

    All these years, he has been referred to as a former priest, who will never be allowed to offer the sacraments.

    El Pais is carrying a piece with yesterday’s dateline. Francis has just rehabilitated him and the nuncio promises to assist him offer his first Mass back in good standing.

    Pablo Ordaz (17 Feb 2019). “Roma se reconcilia con Cardenal”. El País.

    So how permanent is “laicization?”

  41. Fr. Kelly says:

    The timing — at least — on this stinks to high heaven.

  42. gvhorwitz says:

    I get the sneaking suspicion that this is nothing more than throwing the bishops a bone prior to this upcoming February 2019 meeting.

    I’m sure that there will be no mention of the fact that the former Cardinal, Mccarrick, was permitted to run roughshod all over the earth by the present Pope.

  43. robtbrown says:

    Justalurkingfool says:

    IF, as Fr. Kelly suggests Dementia has already affected Cardinal McCarrick, then this is OUTRAGEOUSLY VINDICTIVE because, regardless of the depravity of his long life, he is now very sick.

    This needs to be made public if such a diagnosis has been competently reached and rendered, by professionals in the field.

    If this is true there is NO DEFENSE, outside of UNFATHOMABLE DEPRAVITY, for this action to laicize him, at this time.

    From what I read, it was merely said that McCarrick said he didn’t remember. That’s not exactly a novel approach for people justly accused of crimes.

    McC was removed because his lifestyle was morally incompatible with the life of a priest. Administration of justice is always both educational and medicinal. If what has been reported has not only been true but also merely a sample of his conduct for years (including underage boys and “initiation of young priests”) , he really has no rights in this matter that can be violated.

  44. robtbrown says:

    Re the possibility of the repentance by McC:

    It must be kept in mind that he seems to have integrated homosexual behavior into his priesthood and episcopal life, with pajama parties for young priests.

    Further, he was trained as a sociologist, the epistemology of which has much in common with the Sophists. Probably, buried somewhere back in his formation he was presented with the concept of Truth. It’s not unlikely, however, that McC lost it long ago in the fog of Relativism–and re-enforced by steady promotion.* Not only was it lost, but he probably has no idea where he put it.

    * When the Washington job opened up in 2000, many thought the ideal candidate would be Justin Rigali, the Archbishop in St Louis who was not only trained as a diplomat but also a former head of the Accademia, the Vatican school of diplomacy.

  45. Imrahil says:

    Dear Justalurkingfool,

    I find it rather astounding that you find “unfathomable depravity” in the fact that a convicted felon receives his just punishment, just because he happens to suffer from dementia at present. (Assuming, for the sake of the argument, that he does.)

    Of course – because I think you are going in such a direction: Some state or other may for prudent reasons or other introduce, by positive law, a concept such as “fitness to stand trial”, no doubt; and if so, the thing to do is follow them. In the Church, however, the will of the Holy Father (which cannot be in doubt here) easily dispenses with any things like proper procedure, legal formalities, and indeed (merely) positive law. (Though not with justice.)

    What, I beg your pardon, is the unfathomable depravity – or just the injustice – in a felon, how much ever and in which manner ever sick he is at present, receiving a little portion of his due?

  46. Justalurkingfool says:

    I would never take action against someone with dementia, period. Other than preventing them from doing further damage. Preventing further harm is NOTHING related to punishment. I have never said he was innocent of what he has been charged with. But, his dementia, is sufficient reason to defer ALL punishment, even that is deserved.

    If you cannot see THAT, then I cannot make it clearer. We were either raised differently or view human dignity differently or both.

    Only God, Himself, has the right to punish someone with dementia.

    Karl

  47. Fr. Kelly says:

    I’m the one who raised the question here of McCarrick being in dementia, but I am not wholly convinced of it.
    The extraordinary act of rehabilitating Ernest Cardenal on the same day that McCarrick was laicized looks an awful lot like reassuring him or his ilk that if they just play along, this punishment does not have to be permanent.

    I wish I could find reason to doubt that Francis would do this, but so far I cannot

  48. Imrahil says:

    Dear Justalurkingfool,

    let’s not speak about “being raised differently”, as the behaviorists do. Being Catholics, let us speak of objective principles.

    Objective principles such as the following:

    1. People are responsible for the things they have done in freedom of action.

    (This disallows punishing people who weren’t responsible for their actions, mental derangement and so forth, at the time they happened. Noone has suggested that, however, w.r.t. Mr. McCarrick.)

    2. Authority has the delegated right to punish crime (where “crime” would be precisely defined as “a sin, which the authority – or the consensus of mankind – has decided to single out from among the other sins as crimes, and whose being punished furthers the common weal).

    3. When authority does punish, it is not add odds with the principle that God alone may take revenge; because the authority is from God and delegated by Him, as St. Paul teaches.

    4. What I called “authority” is both the State and the Church.

    5. When someone is punished, of course the chief effect of the punishment to him personally is atonement (provided he is repentant); but the chief effect of the punishment as punishment is that the perpetrator gets what he deserved. Things like prevention, bettering and so forth are important but secondary.

    Hence,

    it is perfectly okay in natural law to punish a person suffering from dementia for a crime she* committed when she didn’t do so, at least if her guilt is obvious (if not, her lessened ability to stand trial does have to be taken into accound), the punishment is just (in the sense that it would be just for a healthy person), and there is no positive law to the contrary.

    Objective principles, not upbringing.

    – And besides, noone has suggested here either that Mr McCarrick would suffer from full-fledged dementia. Now a person who does suffer from some senile forgetfulness (which I guess the physicians call beginning dementia) is not even by any positive law I know of unfit to stand trial.

    [* “she”, b/c “persona” is a female noun.]

  49. Fr. Kelly says:

    Al Capone was not released from prison when his syphillis became advanced leaving him non compos

  50. Justalurkingfool says:

    I will leave the punishment of someone with Dementia to God.

    Karl