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.