From Vatican Media:
The Holy Press Office has published a statement from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, concerning the case of Theodore Edgar McCarrick.
The Congresso of the CDF, which investigated the accusations, has issued a decree finding McCarrick “guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: 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”.
The Congresso has imposed the penalty of “dismissal from the clerical state”.
The statement of the CDF notes that McCarrick’s appeal against this decision was considered on 13 February 2019 by the Ordinary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Having examined the arguments in the recourse”, the statement says, “the Ordinary Session confirmed the decree of the Congresso”. McCarrick was notified of the decision on 15 February 2019.
This decision, following the recognition by the Holy Father, is definitive and admits of no further recourse or appeal.
From The New York Times:
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.
While the Vatican has laicized hundreds of priests for sexual abuse of minors, few of the church’s leaders have faced severe discipline. The move to defrock Mr. McCarrick is “almost revolutionary,” said Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America.
“Now you will see that bishops are also treated like their priests,” Mr. Martens said in a phone interview. “Bishops and former cardinals are no longer immune to punishment. The reverence that was shown in the past to bishops no longer applies.”
Mr. McCarrick, now 88, was accused of sexually abusing three minors and harassing adult seminarians and priests. A New York Times investigation last summer detailed settlements paid to men who had complained of abuse when Mr. McCarrick was a bishop in New Jersey in the 1980s, and revealed that some church leaders had long known of the accusations.
Francis accepted Mr. McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals in July and suspended him from all priestly duties. He was first removed from ministry in June, after a church panel substantiated a claim that he had abused an altar boy almost 50 years ago.
Rocco adds this detail:
Today’s announcement brings one major innovation: until now, a cleric’s sexual misconduct with adults has not risen to the level of a CDF charge nor a tribunal process. Usually addressed as a discretionary matter, that acts with adults are listed among the graviora delicta (grave crimes) warranting McCarrick’s dismissal – specifically “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power” – represents a massive sea-change in the church’s handling of allegations beyond those involving minors, one which could well have significant ramifications going forward, both in Rome and at the local level.
With his laicization now imposed, McCarrick – a particular favorite of Popes John Paul II and Francis alike – loses all the titles, responsibilities and privileges of a priest and hierarch, except for one emergency role: namely, the faculty to absolve a person in imminent danger of death. As for his descriptor going forward, he should be referred to as “the dismissed cleric Theodore McCarrick,” with the ranks or offices he once held only used after his name to reflect that they no longer apply.
America magazine’s Michael O’Loughlin has a very good explanation of what “laicization” means here.
It remains to be seen if McCarrick will remain at the Kansas friary where he has been for the last several months.
UPDATE: A statement from McCarrick’s most visible and outspoken victim, James Grein:
For years I have suffered, as many others have, at the hands of Theodore McCarrick. It is with profound sadness that I have had to participate in the canonical trial of my abuser. Nothing can give me back my childhood and I have not taken any pleasure in testifying or discussing what happened to me. There are no winners here. With that said, Today I am happy that the Pope believed me. I am hopeful now I can pass through my anger for the last time. I hope that Cardinal McCarrick will no longer be able to use the power of Jesus’ Church to manipulate families and sexually abuse children.
This great historical and holy situation is giving rise to all Catholics and victims of abuse across the world. It’s is time for us to cleanse the church. Our Lady’s work is in process.
McCarrick has haunted the church for the last 50 years. A church which has been cut off from Jesus. Run by men who have chosen to worship money, power, greed. The exact opposite of God’s Holy Teaching.
This has to change. It’s Jesus’ Church – I want to return.
I must thank my family for without their belief and guidance I would be somewhere else. I must thank my lawyer Patrick Noaker for helping me through the legal world. I must thank the important journalists who have listened to me and believed me.
We must continue to pressure state AG’s and senators to open the statutes of limitations. It’s these SOLs that has kept all of the abuse hidden from us. Hundreds of priests, bishops and cardinals are hiding behind man made law. It is Time that we opened the books and expose the pure evil of these men.
Again, it is Jesus’ Church – I want to return.
Stand Up For Jesus and walk with me
Jesus is my savior