Pope Francis accepts resignation of U.S. cardinal accused of sexual abuse – National

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VATICAN CITY — In a transfer described as unprecedented, Pope Francis has successfully stripped U.S. prelate Theodore McCarrick of his cardinal’s title and rank following allegations of sexual abuse, together with one involving an 11-year-old boy. The Vatican introduced on Saturday that Francis ordered McCarrick to conduct a “lifetime of prayer and penance” even earlier than a church trial is held.

Breaking with previous follow, Francis determined to behave swiftly within the case of the emeritus archbishop of Washington, D.C., even earlier than the accusations might be investigated by church officers. McCarrick was beforehand one of many highest, most well-known Catholic church officers in the USA and was closely concerned within the church’s response there to allegations of priestly abuse.

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The pope has ordered McCarrick’s “suspension from the train of any public ministry, along with the duty to stay in a home but to be indicated to him, for a lifetime of prayer and penance till the accusations made in opposition to him are examined in a daily canonical trial.”

Among the many boys McCarrick allegedly abused was a baby he had baptized shortly after he was ordained a priest.

Francis obtained McCarrick’s letter providing to resign from the School of Cardinals Friday night, after current weeks introduced a spate of allegations that the 88-year-old prelate had for years sexually abused boys and had sexual misconduct with seminarians. The McCarrick case posed a check of the pontiff’s not too long ago declared resolve to battle what he referred to as a “tradition of cover-up” of comparable abuses within the Catholic church’s hierarchy.

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The Vatican didn’t say the place McCarrick can be confined nor when a church trial would possibly start. The order suspending him from public ministry successfully permitted a measure already taken in opposition to McCarrick since final month.

A Catholic College canon regulation knowledgeable, Kurt Martens, famous this was the primary time an order of penance and prayer had been issued earlier than a church trial takes place.

U.S. Catholics who’ve adopted sexual abuse scandals involving clergy hailed stripping McCarrick of cardinal’s rank as an unprecedented shift in how the Vatican has handled allegations in opposition to prime churchmen.

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“The Vatican nearly by no means strikes at this velocity,” mentioned Terence McKiernan, of BishopAccountability.org.Inc., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group that tracks clergy sexual abuse instances.

The pope seems to “perceive the gravity of the scenario and additional hurt to the Catholic church’s standing,” he mentioned in a phone interview.

Within the case of Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, accused by former seminarians in 2013 of sexual misconduct, Francis solely accepted his resignation after the Vatican’s prime abuse prosecutor carried out a full investigation, two years after the primary revelations got here out.

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McCarrick had been already faraway from public ministry since June 20, pending a full investigation into allegations that he fondled a teen over 40 years in the past in New York Metropolis. A person, who was 11 on the time of the primary alleged occasion of abuse, says a sexually abusive relationship continued for 2 extra many years.

McCarrick denied the preliminary allegation.

The Rev. James Martin, the editor-at-large at America Journal, which covers U.S. and worldwide church points, tweeted that McCarrick’s resignation means “means elimination of the titles Cardinal’ and ’Your Eminence.”

Since McCarrick is over 80, he was already now not eligible to vote in a conclave to elect the subsequent pope. However being a cardinal is a prime honor of the church, and people elevated to that rank are referred to as upon to advise the pope.

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Now McCarrick is now not a cardinal.

Martin, a Jesuit like Francis, famous that Bernard Regulation was allowed to remain a cardinal after he resigned as Boston archbishop, following revelations that he had sanctioned the systematic cover-up of pedophile monks whereas presiding over that U.S. diocese.

After resigning his Boston publish, Regulation was transferred to a prestigious job at a Rome basilica. That appointment, through the papacy of John Paul II, who was extensively thought of to have underestimated the scope and severity of the intercourse abuse scandals worldwide, triggered outrage from many survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.

McCarrick rose steadily up the U.S. church’s ranks, from auxiliary bishop in New York Metropolis, to bishop in Metuchen, New Jersey, to archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, after which to Archbishop of Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital.

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Scandals involving pedophile clergy or cover-ups of such abuse have concerned hierarchy in addition to monks.

One in every of Francis’ closest advisers, Cardinal George Pell, is the highest-ranking Catholic on this planet to be charged within the church’s international abuse scandal. The 77-year-old faces trial in his native Australia on decades-old youngster intercourse abuse allegations. Pell has denied wrongdoing. Particulars of the allegations haven’t been made public.

Bishops have been implicated within the sexual abuse scandals which have stained the Catholic church’s repute worldwide for many years, usually for his or her roles in masking up for pedophile monks by shuffling them from parish to parish and conserving the trustworthy at the hours of darkness in regards to the allegations.

Earlier this month, an Australia bishop turned essentially the most senior Roman Catholic cleric to be convicted of masking up youngster intercourse abuse. Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was sentenced to 12 months in detention by an Australian court docket in a landmark case welcomed by some abuse survivors as a powerful warning to establishments that fail to guard kids.

Nicole Winfield contributed to this report.

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