Disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Defrocked, SNAP Responds

Vatican officials announced today that disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been formally defrocked for serially abusing minors.

For the sake of his victims, we are grateful that this case has been somewhat resolved. Still, we cannot help but notice the timing of this resolution: the Friday before the pope’s much ballyhooed global abuse summit. We believe that this decision was “fast-tracked” by the hierarchy because it’s so damning:

  • a prominent cardinal severely abused his power and prestige to hurt others,
  • another prominent cardinal, Donald Wuerl, covered it up and then repeatedly lied about that, and
  • Vatican officials kept silent despite repeated warnings about a predator.

This decision comes on the heels of other high-profile scandals for church officials, including the case of Fr. Hermann Geissler, an Austrian priest accused of sexually abusing a nun, resigning as section manager at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), or the resignation of Msgr. Joseph Punderson, a high ranking Vatican canon lawyer, after being exposed in New Jersey as an abuser.

These examples are yet more proof, all in the past few months, that Catholic officials tout but do not practice “transparency.”

It is still possible, and preferable, that criminal charges be filed, not just against Cardinal McCarrick, but also against Church officials who hid his wrongdoing for decades.

One of the Cardinal’s victims has talked with New York prosecutors. We hope every one of them does. We also hope every person who saw or suspected his crimes or misdeeds, or cover ups by his peers and supervisors, does likewise. We especially hope that current and former Church staff will find the courage to ameliorate their earlier wrongdoing and do what’s right now – calling law enforcement.

Finally, we cannot help but wonder how many other high-profile abusive priests and bishops remain under the radar. For the safety of innocent children and vulnerable adults, inside and outside the church, we hope they are exposed and brought to justice soon.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Alan Dieringer
    commented 2019-02-17 19:33:16 -0600
    When will Pope Francis be investigated for his involvement with McCarrick and his actions in Argentina?

    The Monitor | Abuse Case Is Opportunity for Pope | September 25, 2013
    - An Argentine court finally sends to prison a priest convicted of child sex abuse in 2009 and defended by the Pope
    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/Monitor/2013/

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