Pope Francis has expelled Theodore E. McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, from the priesthood, after an expedited canonical process that found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades, the Vatican said on Saturday.
“The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law” — making it final — the Vatican said of the sentence handed down by its doctrinal watchdog.
It appears to be the first time that a cardinal or bishop in the United States has been defrocked, or laicized, from the Roman Catholic Church, and the first time any cardinal has been laicized for sexual abuse. Laicization, which strips a person of all priestly identity, also revokes church-sponsored resources like housing and financial benefits.
Back in 2013, prior to Pope Francis’ white cloud of smoke appeared at the Vatican naming Bergoglio the new Pontiff, McCarrick wrote an article or CNN on what a new pope will face..
As has been true in the past, the next pope will have to provide a moral voice to a range of challenges.