A former Roman Catholic Cardinal who was forced to resign from his office for sexual abuse last summer was dismissed from the clerical state in a Vatican trial on Friday.
Theodore McCarrick, 88, is the most senior member of the Catholic clergy to be defrocked in modern times. McCarrick was officially removed from the clergy on charges of soliciting sex while hearing confessions.
McCarrick had been first busted in July when a former altar boy went public with a story that involved McCarrick unzipping his pants and groping him in New York 1972. Another adult man then came public with his account of being abused by McCarrick as a boy, beginning when he was 11.
The sexual abuse accusations against the Cardinal led to several former Catholic seminarians stepping forward with accounts of McCarrick’s gay relationships with them. McCarrick had gained a reputation for abusive solicitation of men studying at seminaries to become Catholic priests.
The church judicial proceedings in regards to the abuse attributed to McCarrick revealed what many saw as a lack of will to confront allegations against the Archbishop of Washington among senior Vatican officials.
An Italian bishop, Carlo Maria Vigano, has accused Pope Francis of having prior knowledge of the accusations against McCarrick before they surfaced publicly. Vigano even took the almost entirely unprecedented step of calling for the Pope’s resignation over his handling of the now-disgraced former Cardinal.
Church authorities in the United States may have been secretly aware of the accusations against McCarrick, sweeping the reports under the rug. McCarrick’s successor as Archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl, may have been told about reports of McCarrick sexually abusing a 16-year old boy as early as 2004.
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