Vatican removes former US Cardinal after being found guilty of abuse

The 88 year-old former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, Theodore E. McCarrick has been removed from the priesthood.

Pope Francis Saturday, confirmed the removal of the archbishop as he is found guilty of abuse.

The Vatican announced the decision February 16, saying he was found guilty of “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 cardinal was found guilty by a panel of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith on Jan. 11, the Vatican said. McCarrick appealed the decision, but the appeal was rejected Feb. 13 by the congregation itself. McCarrick was informed of the decision Feb. 15 and Pope Francis “recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law,” making a further appeal impossible.

The decision to remove McCarrick’s from the clerical state means that McCarrick loses all rights and duties associated with being a priest, cannot present himself as a priest and is forbidden to celebrate the sacraments, except to grant absolution for sins to a person in imminent danger of death.

McCarrick’s was initially suspended from ministry and removed from the College of Cardinals in 2018 after a man alleged that McCarrick began sexually abusing him in 1971 when he was a 16-year-old altar server in New York. The Archdiocese of New York found the allegation “credible and substantiated” and turned the case over to the Vatican.