Pope asks for prayers for sex abuse summit at Vatican

Blocked Former President Mary McAleese

Blocked Former President Mary McAleese

McCarrick became the first Roman Catholic prelate in almost 100 years to lose the title of cardinal and is now the most high-profile church figure in modern times to have faced such a dismissal.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Washington said: "Our hope and prayer is that this decision serves to help the healing process for survivors of abuse, as well as those who have experienced disappointment or disillusionment because of what former Archbishop McCarrick has done".

They are demanding that Francis, other Vatican officials and bishops elsewhere come clean about how McCarrick managed such a meteoric rise through church ranks despite reports about his sexual life.

Francis said it would be a "catechesis", or a teaching session, a pronouncement that stunned victims of abuse and their advocates.

Some believe the Vatican's actions are a step in the right direction but too little too late. They should have taken them sooner.

Vatican watchers have compared the McCarrick coverup scandal to that of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, perhaps the 20th-century Catholic Church's most notorious pedophile.

McCarrick, who recently became the highest-ranking cleric to be defrocked by the Vatican, worked his way up over several decades to the highest circles of church leadership, despite awareness among the hierarchy of his suspect behavior, including sleeping with adult seminarians. I am grateful to Pope Francis for the determined way he has led the Church's response'. McCarrick was informed of the decision February 15 and Pope Francis "recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law", making a further appeal impossible. McCarrick was informed of the decision Friday. The defrocking means McCarrick can no longer call himself a priest or celebrate the sacraments, although he would be allowed to minister to a person on the verge of death in an emergency, according to Reuters.

McCarrick moved from his Washington retirement home to a Kansas religious residence after Francis ordered him to live in penance and prayer while the investigation continued.

The disgraced former cardinal was laicized January 11, he was notified his appeal was rejected February 15, and Vatican announced news February 16. "This is a humiliation in that world such as one can not imagine".

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Despite the apparent common knowledge in church circles of his sexual behaviour, McCarrick rose to the heights of church power. "No matter what rank they have in the church, they should pay".

McCarrick's punishment is the toughest meted out to a cardinal by the Vatican in modern times.

August 30 - The Archdiocese of Washington confirms that seminarians were permitted to serve as assistants to McCarrick while the archbishop was being investigated for the alleged sexual abuse of a teenager.

McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals in July amid fallout from an Archdiocese Review Board investigation into allegations he abused a teenage altar boy while he was a priest of the Archdiocese of NY. He's known about the McCarrick problem for as long time. No clearer is the rift than in the relationship between Pope Francis and Cardinal O'Malley, a bearded Capuchin friar who likes to be called "Cardinal Sean".

The former cardinal has said he has "absolutely no recollection" of an alleged case of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy more than 50 years ago, reported Reuters news agency.

McCarrick was Newark archbishop for 14 years.

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. "One thing he distinctly remembers is that McCarrick told him not to tell anyone about it", Noaker said.

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.

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