Pope Francis accepts Theodore McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, is seen during the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Jan. 18. The cardinal said June 20 he would no longer exercise public ministry after an allegation of abuse by him against a teenager was found credible. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals. The pope “has ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, together with the obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him, for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial,” the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced today.

The Vatican statement said that "yesterday evening the Holy Father received the letter in which Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, presented his resignation as a member of the College of Cardinals.”

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The 88-year-old McCarrick resigned his title as church investigations into his alleged abuse of minors and adults were well underway, and shockwaves continued to be felt across the Catholic world as new revelations emerged.

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of the sex abuse crisis]

Just over a month ago, on June 20, he was removed from public ministry by Pope Francis after a review board of the Archdiocese of New York determined that an allegation that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the early 1970s while serving as a priest in New York “was credible and substantiated.” The cardinal protested his innocence, claiming that he had “absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse,” but said that "in obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry.”

That same day, June 20, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark disclosed that there had been accusations against McCarrick while he served in New Jersey, of sexual misconduct with three adults. Two of these had resulted in confidential financial settlements with the victims. New allegations of abuse have emerged since then, including one earlier this month from a New Jersey man, whose father was the cardinal’s best friend since high school, who charged that McCarrick abused him for years from the age of 13.

Sources in Rome told America that the Vatican was following the case attentively, and Pope Francis had been waiting for the conclusion of the church investigations before taking decisive action. If the investigation had found him guilty, as was expected to be the case, the pope would have dealt with him like he did with the Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, in March 2015 (after he was found to have engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians and young priests), or even removed him from the College of Cardinals.

The Pope's acceptance of McCarrick's decision means it takes effect immediately. He is no longer a cardinal. There appears to be no precedent, and certainly none in modern times, for the renunciation of his title by a cardinal because of his involvement in sexual abuse. “It was a wise decision, a good decision, a necessary decision,” a Vatican official who did not wish to be named told America.

In the 20th century, one cardinal renounced his title: the French Jesuit theologian Cardinal Billot, who was made a cardinal by Pius X but greatly upset Pius XI with his support of Action Francaise, a reactionary French Catholic movement. He resigned from the College of Cardinals in 1927. In Billot’s case, it seems that his renunciation was done at the suggestion of Rome, and the pope accepted it.

Pope Paul VI appointed then-Father McCarrick auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977. Pope John Paul II appointed him him bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey in 1981, archbishop of Newark in 1986, and archbishop of Washington D.C. in 2001 and created him a cardinal that same year. He participated in the conclave that elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. Soon after McCarrick reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops of 75, Benedict XVI accepted his resignation in May 2006.

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Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

It seems Cardinal Tobin of Newark knew more than most about McCarrick's "young adult" goings-on. Cardinal Farrell has given an interview saying he never heard of any improprieties about his former boss, and Cardinal O'Malley says a letter sent to him on the homosexual activities with men never got to him (it was not deemed relevant to abuse of minors by an assistant priest). Both excuses are plausible, but need more thorough investigation. But, the statement by Cardinal Tobin (linked below) seems insufficient, in that it doesn't say how much he knew, and when. A thorough investigation is urgently needed.

J Brookbank
1 month 3 weeks ago

Tim, there you are!

But not a word of concern, compassion, sorrow or outrage for the Churchwomen abused by priests and bishops.

Where is your demand for an investigation of the sexual abuse and harassment of nuns?

The article about the abuse of sisters posted midday yesterday. No comment as of this morning from you or any but one of the usual suspects when you see an opportunity to attack homosexual priests.

This was posted sometime after midnight. You were the first here, within hours.

Carlos Orozco
1 month 3 weeks ago

J,
Want to block as many sexual predators from becoming priets? Common sense dictates not to admit men that have an intrinsically disordered sexuality. And that is just a start.

No point in playing gender theory, everything-goes nonsense with the Church. The priesthood should be reserved for real men with fatherly souls. That simple.

J Brookbank
1 month 3 weeks ago

Common sense is to address the systemic dynamics which allow ANY person in power to abuse and harass other persons with less power.

Carlos Orozco
1 month 3 weeks ago

No abuse is justified. With respect to common sense, it has become less common in our anti-scientific, hyper-ideological times.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

J. What is a Churchwoman? Haven’t seen any article with that search term. Was it in the USA?

J Brookbank
1 month 3 weeks ago

It is a term commonly used by Roman Catholics to describe the three Roman Catholic Sisters and one RC laywoman who were kidnapped, brutally raped and then executed by five Salvadoran national guard members during the US funded civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s. This was the same war and same government which executed Saint Oscar Romero as he consecrated the Eucharist and also the execution of 5 Jesuit priests and two employees
I
httpsnatiansolidarity.net/churchwomen-35/

J Brookbank
1 month 3 weeks ago

Sandi, I was telling Tim one of the many places he could find the term "Churchwomen". Though he could also find articles about "The Churchwomen of El Salvador" here in America Magazine.

What I have noticed is that very few America Mag's most prolific commenters on all things Catholic and sexual have NO COMMENT about the article of sexual abuse of sisters and nuns. Hard to make it about homosexuality (though at least one has...)

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

J and Sandi - “churchwomen” seems to be a Protestant organization (churchwomen.org), founded in 1941. As to the reports of sex abuse of sisters and nuns, I called for an investigation of those terrible crimes as well. But, J is being overly defensive, trying to gloss over the main story on the America site, which is about McCarrick’s rise in the Church despite many knowing of his sex abuse of young men for decades, teens and now an 11-year old. I don’t know if there is a network of bishops abusing nuns but it too needs to be investigated, so we can know the extent of the problem. We need holy celibate priests. Nothing short of that is acceptable for God’s holy Church. Mercy doesn’t negate justice.

J Brookbank
1 month 3 weeks ago

Tim, direct your next search to"Churchwomen of El Savador".

Vincent Couling
1 month 3 weeks ago

Michael Sean Winters has an excellent article on how conservatives are trying to distort the McCarrick scandal to their own disordered ends ... https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/distinctly-catholic/conse…

A snippet: "I agree that there are some cardinals who should be questioned about what they knew or did not know about McCarrick, but I propose a different list: Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state to Pope John Paul II from 1991 until 2006; Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, substitute or "chief of staff" to Pope John Paul II from 1989 until 2000 and then Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops from 2000 until 2010; and, most especially, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, personal secretary to Pope John Paul II for his entire pontificate and, then, cardinal-archbishop of Krakow. We know that Sodano hated the one U.S. cardinal who tried hardest to block McCarrick, Cardinal John O'Connor. I do not know if O'Connor knew about the sexual misconduct allegations but he disliked McCarrick's ambition. We know that Sodano and Dziwisz both protected Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, and were paid handsomely for their efforts. We know that McCarrick raised large sums for both the Catholic Church in Poland and for the use of Polish hierarchs working in Rome. We know that Re was involved in all major decisions and, with the other two, essentially ran the church in the final years of John Paul II's pontificate as the pope's health deteriorated.

And, finally, there is the case of St. Pope John Paul II himself. I agree that McCarrick should resign his cardinalate or be stripped of it by Pope Francis. But, what about the pope who made McCarrick a cardinal? And who made Hans Groer a cardinal. And who made Keith O'Brien a cardinal. And who made George Pell a cardinal. And who made Bernard Law a cardinal. How many cardinals need to be disgraced for either committing sexual abuse or covering it up before someone questions the "Santo Subito" canonization of the late pontiff? St. Pope John Paul II refused to confront the evil that surrounded him and he lacked one of the principal skills a pope, or any leader, needs: John Paul II was a lousy judge of character. Seeking those who exemplified his "heroic priesthood," he bestowed power on sycophants and criminals. His Congregation for Bishops was keen on weeding out anyone who questioned Humanae Vitae, but they forgot to ask about raping children or making excuses for those who did."

Sandi Sinor
1 month 3 weeks ago

Thank you for this, Mr. Couling. And bravo to Michael Sean Winters for pointing out that high ranking sexual predators were routinely protected by John Paul II's high ranking staff. How much did he know personally? When he held up Maciel as an "example for youth" did he know that Maciel molested his own junior seminarians? How much did he know about others, who, like Maciel and McCarrick, were master fundraisers? It seems that money almost always comes first in the church, especially in chanceries and in the Vatican. Rushing into calling John Paul II a "saint" was a very bad mistake.

Vincent Couling
1 month 3 weeks ago

Indeed, Sandi! JPII held up Maciel as an "efficacious guide for youth"! Accusations of predatory behaviour by former seminarians were simply ignored by John Paul the Lesser (I regard John Paul I as the pre-eminent St John Paul, and most definitely as John Paul the Greater). John Paul II's canonization process should NEVER have been rushed. There were several US conservatives who unquestioningly backed Maciel while vehemently denigrating his accusers ... among them was George Weigel, the JPII biographer who produced a magnificent whitewash ... it was JPII who gave Maciel and the Legion their prominent status, and who appears to have protected them from investigation ... the investigation only beginning after JPII's death, in spite of 9 men, in 1997, accusing Maciel of having abused them (as minors and young men) in Spain and in Italy during the 1940s-60s (it was Jason Berry's excellent investigative journalism that did much to expose the full extent of the rot). Bill Donohue (president of the so-called Catholic league) was another strident defender of the odious Maciel, as was Richard Neuhaus, who protested that Maciel's innocence was a "moral certainty". Former (Republican-appointed) US Ambassador to the Vatican, Mary Glendon, spoke derisively of "old slanders" against Maciel, and called him a man of "radiant holiness"! Clearly, if JPII regarded Maciel as innocent, then so did US conservative Catholics ... and it might have helped that Maciel's fundraising for the Vatican ran into vast sums. And Maciel's fathering of several children (whom he also allegedly abused!) by three women gives the lie to those on these America Magazine threads who so very quickly claim that the abuse of seminarians by senior clerics is automatically a problem of homosexuality ... as the canon lawyer Nicholas Cafardi has noted, "The John Jay studies done for the USCCB's National Review Board found that it was a matter of access and vulnerability, and not because our clergy are gay ... I think vulnerability is the key explanation myself. These perpetrators were all on power trips and they took the most available vulnerable victims."

Reyanna Rice
1 month 3 weeks ago

Crd Tobin of Newark knew because the diocese went through a settlement with some of McCarrick’s victims there. He had files to read. He stated specifically that he waived the provision in the settlement that the victims could not speak of their cases or the settlement. Presumably, he spoke to these victims to get their permission to do the waiver. Tobin is a Redemptorist priest, head of their order for some time headquartered in Rome and then in Rome as as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He really has not had much exposure to the same circles McCarrick moved in. His knowing “more than most” is secondhand. Sorry, Mr O’Leary, but your not going to be able to easily pull Tobin in as one who knew but didn’t speak up. You’ll have to deal with your disappointment that one of your least favorite cardinals isnt going anywhere soon.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

Reyanna- Tobin is certainly not a “least favorite Cardinal,” since I have seen him say some very good things. I just want him to be as up-front about what and when he knew, like Cardinal O’Malley. But, I am delighted to see you, Sandi an J come to the defense of Cardinals who were in McCarrick’s orbit. I have written much about the need for the assumption of innocence unless the evidence is clearcut, in this case for bishops who might have known and done nothing, because of McCarrick’s influence in fundraising and some liberal causes.

Robert Lewis
1 month 3 weeks ago

Pope Francis should demand the resignations of all bishops and archbishops and cardinals who were proteges of this monster, and then reinstate ONLY those who can prove that they knew little or nothing of his crimes.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

I completely agree. Monster indeed.

Stephen de Weger
1 month 3 weeks ago

So, again, is that it? Just a resignation? How sweet. Wish we could hear from the victims. Has anyone asked them if they want t tell their story. How are their lives these days? What will McCarrick's life be like in regards to practicalities compared to his victims? Just wondering. This is a much bigger issue than McCarrick. See: https://eprints.qut.edu.au/96038/ ; and here: https://www.catholicmetoo.com/links/; and here https://t.co/VlJxoQowqW

Crystal Watson
1 month 3 weeks ago

The pope should have demanded his resignation. And what about Cardinal Pell, who the Pope chose to be so important at the Vatican, aware of his reputation in Australia? What about those bishops/cardinals known to have covered up abuse, like Mahony? If these people worked in civilian organizations they would have been fired long ago.

Carlos Orozco
1 month 3 weeks ago

Sexual predators can be found in all fields of human activity. They certainly abound in politics where they keep filling their wallets despite being previously exposed to the public. But no excuses: it is always most hurtful when these predators are found in the hierarchy of the Church.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

Crystal - I believe the Pope did force his resignation in this case. On Cardinal Pell, the situation is different, since nothing credible has been made public yet. Cardinal Pell is claiming innocence and did the right thing in wanting to face his accusers. Already, some of the charges have been thrown out. So, we will see.

Crystal Watson
1 month 3 weeks ago

If the charges against Pell were not credible, prosecutors would not have brought a case against him. He has no choice about facing his accusers, unless of course the pope were to squirrel him away in Vatican City, as he has others who were accused of crimes, like Archbishop Józef Wesołowski and Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

Since some key charges that the prosecutors brought were already thrown out, their credibility is now in question. You do seem to rely on legalisms in a positivist sense (if abortion is legal, it must be right, if gay marriage is legal, it must be right, etc.). That is not how morality or ethics can work. If Cardinal Pell is found innocent I will see if you then accept the legal judgment.

Reyanna Rice
1 month 3 weeks ago

McCarrick submitted his resignation but considering his insistence that he is innocent I find it surprising he volunteered it. I suspect that there was pressure put on him to submit it. The pope could not very well demand it without going through the process of documenting the cause to demand it. All he may have had until just recently was news reports. There were probably reports already in the Vatican but it may have taken time to unearth them. Recall that there were complaints made to nuncios even before he was named a cardinal. This is an organization known for two things: documenting but then having that documentation conveniently buried in bureaucratic files. The pope may now just be getting more than news reports. No organization strips someone of titles with just news reports

Michael Barberi
1 month 3 weeks ago

The revelations of sexual abuse by Priests, Bishops and Cardinals continues to damage the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The culture of the Church must change especially when it protects the reputation of the hierarchy over justice for victims. The Pope should enforce a zero tolerance policy with appropriate punishment for those found guilty of sexual crimes or covering them up. A thorough investigation must proceed with urgency and velocity.

Lisa Weber
1 month 3 weeks ago

If there were confidential settlements with victims of Carrick's abuse while he was in New Jersey, that means there has been credible, documented evidence that Carrick was a sexual predator since at least 1987. The question is why and how he managed to advance within the church with that kind of evidence against him. Allowing known sexual predators to continue as bishops, to say nothing of promoting them to the position of cardinal, is what makes people so angry about the laxness of the church in addressing these crimes.

arthur mccaffrey
1 month 3 weeks ago

don't forget that in most of these RCC financial settlements the victims are forced to sign a non-disclosure restriction that they will not talk about the case as a condition of settlement. This kind of gag order has prevented many victims from going public with their stories a long time ago, so a lot of hierarchical involvement has been kept secret. If you want to hear it first hand, talk to the Boston attorney who was depicted in the movie Spotlight-- Mr Garabedian.

Sandi Sinor
1 month 3 weeks ago

Re the gag orders and settlements. Maybe Cohen was the church's attorney also?

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

Non-disclosure agreements are always part of settlement cases. My position is the Church should never allow their lawyers to settle. They should go to court and let the chips fall where they may. The individual alone should be charged, not the Church, where the only money they have comes from charity and the mouths of the poor. Cardinal Pell's approach is the right one. McCarrick has claimed innocence for the abuse of boys, not the adult homosexuality. He is resigning because the evidence for that part is overwhelming and breaks Canon law, if not civil law.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

Lisa - I agree the previous events should have been disqualifying for his promotions. Just because it wasn’t minor abuse settlements is not a satisfactory excuse. The question I have is - who decided to move his case for promotion forward. Needs a full investigation.

sheila gray
1 month 3 weeks ago

Homosexuality is not the cause of clergy abuse. How dare you still spout these lies?! Some abusers might be homosexual, but to say this is the cause of the abuse crisis is ignorant and wrong. Do you actually believe the male on male sex in prisons is because they’re all gay? Give me a break!

Frank Gibbons
1 month 3 weeks ago

Most of the men who engage in male on male sex in prisons are heterosexual. Most of the men who engage in male on male sex in the priesthood are homosexuals who entered the seminary with same-sex attraction. There is absolutely no connection between the two populations. Besides, men in prison don't take vows of chastity. Men sentenced to prison have no choice in the matter once they've convicted for a crime. No one forces a man, gay or straight, to be a priest.
As someone involved in prison ministry I can tell you that there are signs in prison encouraging prisoners to report sexual assault. There should be similar signs posted in seminaries and at venues where convocations of priests are held. Reporting in prison is tough because of the fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, reporting sexual indiscretions in the priesthood also comes with blowback.

sheila gray
1 month 2 weeks ago

You blame homosexuality. You fully admit it. And you are wrong to do so. But I doubt ANYTHING will change your mind. It’s a “false flag”. This attitude, however, puts children and young adults in danger. Open your mind, Sir.

Vincent Gaglione
1 month 3 weeks ago

Some of the outrage expressed here is unfortunately political in nature, part of the ongoing polarization between the self-righteous purists who presume to be Faithful without sin and the rest of us Faithful who know better about ourselves. Personal sin pervades the human condition.

As strange as my logic may seem, while the sins and behaviors described are so egregious as to be almost unbearable to hear and address, I regret not to see similar distress from the outraged or the Church about those clergy, bishops and Popes who have engaged in political and social behaviors that result in wars, deaths, civil disasters, economic entrenchment, etc. These too are serious sins that deserve attention because they also affect the spiritual well-being of the Faithful and do great damage to the Body of Christ, the Church. A weird perspective, perhaps, but that’s part of my thinking these days in the face of the sexual abuse scandals.

Paul Mclaughlin
1 month 3 weeks ago

Look it, we have to move beyond who knew what and focus on the cause. And the cause has nothing to with married priests or women priests. These changes may help, but they are not the fix.

The problem is the abuse of power. This takes many forms and may not be able to be fixed the way it needs, but one source of power surrounds Communion and the theology that priests are the only way/means who can change the body and blood. The only way they get this power is by bishops, who are defined as being in the line of succession to Peter and who also have the power to change bread and wine in the body of blood of Christ.

Think about this. It is an extraordinary power. From this power a very different human relationship forms.

A part from the power, I am also questioning the basis for the Church. Jesus talks about a lot of things, but no where does he explicated states”I give to you - his Apostles - the gift of turning bread and wine into my body.” Yes, I know about the Passover Meal, but read the words. The people who wanted power created the power.

I believe in the real presence and I believe the celebration of the Mass brings about this change. However, what brings about the change is the community of believers who come together and pray for this sacred gift.

The priest’s role is to lead and instruct the faithful, but he is not a magician.

I think if the Church wants to change and make progress addressing this mess, it must honestly look at the power it bestows on priest - temporal and spiritual - and fix it.

Crystal Watson
1 month 3 weeks ago

Who knows how many cardinals have committed child sex abuse. But we do know some of the cardinals who have been shown to have covered it up ... Law, Mahony, Brady, Ezzati, etc. In the real world, if a member of company's board of directors had admitted to forcing a child sex abuse victim to take an oath of silence about what had happened to them (as Cardinal Sean Brady has admitted), he would at the least be fired. But when an Irish sex abuse victim asked Pope Francis to fire Brady, he wouldn't ... "Irish abuse victim tells Pope she wants Cardinal Brady removed" ... https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/irish-abuse-victim-tells…

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

Should the President of the USA resign if sex predators in the public schools are found guilty while he is in office? Francis should only have fired Brady if he was guilty of covering up, not just because some anti-Catholic demands it.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 3 weeks ago

Should the President of the USA resign if sex predators in the public schools are found guilty while he is in office? Francis should only have fired Brady if he was guilty of covering up, not just because some anti-Catholic demands it.

Crystal Watson
1 month 3 weeks ago

Brady was guilty of covering up abuse ... he admitted it. It was a big scandal because he refused to retire. And the person who asked Pope Francis to remove him was not anti-Catholic, it was a Catholic woman who was a sex abuse victim with whom the pope met. Here's a news video about Brady ... https://youtu.be/p8a_E14BKDM

Eileen Flynn
1 month 3 weeks ago

Is it realistic to think that an investigation into former Cardinal McCarrick's career will review his interactions with seminarians at the neocatechumenate seminary in Kearny, NJ? How many immigrants did McCarrick recruit for Redemptoris Mater and did he abuse them in the same, lesser or greater numbers than the seminarians at Immaculate Conception Seminary/Seton Hall University? If seminarians at RM felt insecure and beholden to McCarrick because they were immigrants and sponsored by him, did Uncle Ted take unholy advantage?

quikev08@gmail.com
1 month 3 weeks ago

the church's modern tribulation is 99 percent self-inflicted, by a few of her priests and the others who cover their sins.

Better no priest than a bad one.

HMC needs to get her house in order. While it remains perverted so is Christ's message about sin, sinners and redemption - that was never intended for 'the elect', or those who 'elect' them. .

J Brookbank
1 month 3 weeks ago

Many want to deny that abuse of power is the fundamental dynamic here.

I do not think power makes otherwise healthy people sexually attack other people.

Power does, however, provide the opportunity for sexual predators to groom, abuse, harass and then threaten their victims with harm should they disclose all of the above; power then provides the sexual predator with the protection of others who are invested in the predator's retention of that power and who will deny that it is possible the abuse could have happened and/or join the predator in destroying the victim's credibility, courage and, if necessary, the victim's entire life. The "power" of power is so real and, yes, POWERFUL that perpetrators need not even overtly threaten many victims because "the power of the powerful" to control the narrative and the outcomes that victims understand the treat without having to hear the words.

Power provides financial predators the same forum and tools but the specific target for abuse is the victim's money and assets.

Power provides domestic violence abusers the same forum and tools but the specific target is the victim's Independence and freedom.

Power provides abusers in work and academic settings the same forum and tools but the target is the victim's work product, ideas, promotions, salary, benefits, reputation, etc.

Etc, etc, etc

"Abuse of power" is the root dynamic.

The unmet need which motivates the perpetrator to abuse his or her power is specific to the abuser.

TH

Additionally, the real motivation for the abuse is not always immediately evident.

For instance, sexual abuse is "about sex" only some of the time. Sexual abuse and harassment is often about violence (with sexual assault often being an incredibly violent act), domination, humiliation, retaliation, control, punishment, retribution, manipulation, a threat to achieve another end, psychological torture, or to relieve pathological stress/anxiety/etc. within a predator who is psychologically damaged and had no other coping tools, etc.

Those motives are NOT "about sex".

Abuse of power is not a hypothesis. It is well known dynamic in just about every sphere of human endeavor and in just about every field of scholarship. It is addressed in law and policy at every level of government all over the world.

Paul Mclaughlin
1 month 2 weeks ago

I agree it is about power. But where are the sources? I am beginning to think, as I posted earlier, it is rooted in the teaching that only an ordained priest can change bread and wine into God. This teaching does not come directly from the texts, but through men saying so. If I am known and accepted as having this power, it is the basis of having power. As I said to friend of mine who attends church everyday and knowing endures the most boring preacher God put on earth - why do you come here? He said “he can do something I can’t do myself.”

So how does the bread turn into the real presence. First, we turn to the texts. Of course, there are Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, etc, but in Matthew Jesus says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” So it is the faithful gathering of believers (Mass) that changes the bread and wine. The priest becomes the worship leader, not the power broker.

J Brookbank
1 month 2 weeks ago

Paul, you ask a critical question. "Where does the power come from?"

Two related thoughts:

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely "

And the unjustified claimng/holding/protection/denial-to-others of power invariably lead to injustice

J Brookbank
1 month 3 weeks ago

It also well understood by those who investigate "abuse of power" crimes and both study and treat victims and perpetrators of these crimes and this misconduct is that perpetrators are skilled in identifying person who are vulnerable in some way and, thus, easy targets. Children who unsupervised for one reason or another; children who are overtly different from their peers in one way or another; children who are bullied or rejected by their peers, parents, churches or other communities; children who have secrets about any of the above as a means of protecting themselves from bullying and rejection and targeting; adults who are overtly different in one way or another from other adults; adults who are bullied or rejected by their peers, superiors, churches and other communities; persons of lesser institutional power; women are almost always vulnerable to become victims of an abuse of power because in most institutions everywhere in the world women hold less power.

Gay men and gay boys have historically especially vulnerable to becoming victims of abuses of power by others because they have been been targets of bullying, rejection, bigotry and abandonment by parents, family, friends and THEIR CHURCH AND CHURCH AUTHORITIES AND CHURCH MEMBERS if and when their identity is suspected (even if they are not and have never been sexually active.

THAT is one more reason to persist in challenging this insistence that the perpetrators of sexual abuse against men and boys are almost certainly gay because they have chosen male victims.

Some perpetrators are hetetsexual and some are homosexual.

And they ALL choose victims who are vulnerable and thus likely to be in need of SOMEONE who offers kindness and acceptance and support and also threatened into silence.

Thus, bigotry against homosexual men, priests and boys is a key factor in the decision of sexual perpetrators to target those men and boys.

See the film Spotlight for easily accessible, well-documented and firsthand evidence of the above.

Crystal Watson
1 month 3 weeks ago

I agree that power doesn't turn people into child molesters. Power gives people almost unlimited options with almost no accountability. People who are good will remain good in those circumstances. But the church, with its mandatory celibacy, secrecy, and medieval political structure, tends to attract a larger than average percentage of people with emotional/sexual problems who will lose their way with too much power.

justinreany@gmail.com
1 month 3 weeks ago

Another pervert homosexual predator bites the dust! Very sad he left a wake of broken souls and lost vocations in his wake. But such is the post-conciliar Church we live. When modernists and pervs run the show they protect their own. Now to take down McCarrick's ilk like Tobin, Cupich, Wuerl, etc. Bet you $100 the next scandals will be associated with these modernists.

Jean Davis
1 month 3 weeks ago

Beyond disturbing. Beyond evil. Beyond tragic.

Jack Feehily
1 month 2 weeks ago

I get the gravity of harming children and adults by clergy of all ranks who seriously violate their promises or vows to live chastely for the sake of the kingdom of God. Yes, many of these are abuses of power as well which reflects the violation of the promise to serve rather than to dominate. But I am greatly disturbed by the journalistic focus on sexual sins and crimes as if they are the most egregious offenses against the promises made by the ordained. How many children and adults have been gravely harmed by clergy who have failed to call them and showed them how to live as disciples of Jesus in the world. What about the sins that resulted from telling the laity to mind their own business when it comes to questions of governance and teaching, or, worse, by failing to actively solicit from them the ideas and suggestions that arise from their competence in many areas. How about a system of selecting church leaders by consulting only “house clergy and laity”? There are lots of grave sins which will once again go unnoticed under the cover of those awful sexual ones.

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Pope Francis leads a meeting with young people in Palermo, Sicily, Sept. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Even after revelations about sexual abuse in the church, 79 percent of U.S. Catholics—but only 53 percent of all Americans—hold a favorable view of Pope Francis, according to a Gallup poll.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 18, 2018