Irish American cardinal first ever bishop defrocked in history of Catholic Church

Tuesday, 19 Feb, 2019

He is the first churchman who reached the rank of cardinal to be defrocked in the church's sex abuse scandals.

"I am absolutely convinced that our credibility in this area is at stake", said Father Federico Lombardi, who Pope Francis has chosen to moderate the meeting.

The pope "has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accordance with (church) law, rendering it as 'res iudicata, '" the Vatican said, using the Latin phrase for admitting no further recourse. McCarrick was informed of the decision Friday.

Edward Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery in 2009, and celebrated Mass with Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to Washington.

"But now Francis is pope, and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper (another old friend of McCarrick's) and McCarrick himself are back in the mix, and busier than ever", Gibson wrote.

Meanwhile, an worldwide organisation representing survivors of clerical child sexual abuse has given a conditional welcome to news of the expulsion of the former cardinal.

Today the Holy See announced that Theodore E. McCarrick has been dismissed from the clerical state.

The announcement also follows news of a salacious new book that calls the Vatican "one of the biggest gay communities in the world".

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, a USA church leader whose own credibility in handling clergy abuse cases has recently been questioned, issued a statement on Saturday calling the punishment of a once-powerful American prelate "a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated". "No matter what rank they have in the church, they should pay".

"We are going to do everything possible to make sure people are held responsible, accountable, and there's going to be transparency, because those three elements will keep children safe", the cardinal said.

"I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then-Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo", wrote then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, a senior Vatican official, in the letter to a NY priest who alerted him to the allegations.

McCarrick's civil lawyer, Barry Coburn, told The Associated Press that for the time being his client had no comment on the defrocking.

He subsequently led the Archdiocese of Washington until 2006, frequently meeting political leaders and becoming a force in American politics.

McCarrick said in a June 20 statement, following his announcement that he was stepping down from the College of Cardinals, that he had "absolutely no recollection" of abuse accusations that surfaced after USA newspapers reported detailed accounts that he exposed himself and sexually molested at least two boys in his early years as a priest - accusations that spanned nearly five decades and were too old to legally prosecute.

The son of a ship captain who died when McCarrick was 3, the disgraced cleric attended Catholic elementary school and Fordham Preparatory School and was ordained after earning bachelor's and master's degrees at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York. McCarrick was among the clergy members on the Newark list.

Along with claims he abused minors, the former priest and cardinal has also been the subject to allegations of sexual misconduct against seminarians including asking them to share his bed. A review board, including legal experts, psychologists, parents and a priest, then found the allegations "credible and substantiated".