Cardinal DiNardo: Action on McCarrick ‘clear signal’ church will not tolerate abuse

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, responds to a question during a conference on "Healing the Breach of Trust: The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis" Feb. 6, 2019, at The Catholic University of America in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) 

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Vatican’s removal from the priesthood of Theodore McCarrick “is a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated,” said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Feb. 16.

“No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the church,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. “For all those McCarrick abused, I pray this judgment will be one small step, among many, toward healing.”


“For us bishops, it strengthens our resolve to hold ourselves accountable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the cardinal said. “I am grateful to Pope Francis for the determined way he has led the church’s response.”

Cardinal DiNardo’s statement followed the Vatican’s early morning announcement that Pope Francis has confirmed the removal from the priesthood of Theodore E. McCarrick, the 88-year-old former cardinal and archbishop of Washington.

“No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the church,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo.

The Vatican said 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.”

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

By ordering McCarrick’s “dismissal from the clerical state,” the decision 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.

By ordering McCarrick’s “dismissal from the clerical state,” the decision means that McCarrick loses all rights and duties associated with being a priest.

The Vatican decision comes after months of mounting accusations that he abused children and seminarians decades ago. The accusations surrounding the former cardinal have prompted many to ask U.S.C.C.B. leaders and the heads of the archdioceses and dioceses he has served how he could have risen up the ranks of the church to become a cardinal.

Ordained a priest of the New York Archdiocese, he was the founding bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., then served as archbishop of Newark. His last assignment was as archbishop of Washington. During his tenure there, he was named a cardinal.

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

Last July, Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals after U.S. newspapers reported detailed accounts that he exposed himself and sexually molested two boys in his early years as a priest—accusations that spanned almost five decades and were too old to legally prosecute.

In a June 20 statement, he said he had “absolutely no recollection” of the abuse maintained in his innocence but said he was stepping down out of obedience. In December he went to live at a friary in Kansas to await the outcome of the Vatican’s decision on his status.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Michael Myers
3 months ago

The idea that McCarrick was finally punished for acts that were going on for decades and covered up is a sign that this behavior "will not be tolerated" is laughable as well as tragic. The only reason this is happening now is the laity is closing their wallet and leaving.

Mark M
3 months ago

Bingo...Bingo...Bingo. We have a winner!

Stephen de Weger
3 months ago

Referring to the headline: Totally wrong. What we have is a clear signal that if the church is embarrassed enough then they might act. If they'd acted before this was exposed to the public, then the headline might be correct. This is fake news or another example of mental reservation - a form of lying that the Church has perfected.

Ricardo Hunter
3 months ago

He need to b Punish and that is the best ,As Can also check For latestCelebrities News

Mark M
3 months ago

At some short time in the future, this fantasy nightmare scenario takes place:
Telephone rings -
“Hello, Attorney General’s office.”
“Hello, my name is Ted McCarrick. I’d like to speak to the A/G about what I know of incidences which occurred in the Archdioceses of Washington and Newark and Metuchen over the past forty years.”
“Indeed, yes, Mr McCarrick. We will send our most vicious investigators right over.”
2019 = RICO, Dear bishops.

Tatiana Durbak
3 months ago

And this is more of the same. We are to pretend that all is OK, because those who have done the harm and/or enabled it, now say it's all taken care of.

Robert Lewis
3 months ago

DiNardo is a one terrible hypocrite of a clerical politician who is principally interested in injuring the pontificate of the Holy Father. He himself promoted a priest who had credible accusations of sexual predation against him to the office of Director of Hispanic Outreach in his diocese here in Houston. He also threatened to rescind the healthcare of retired priests if they so much as gave Holy Eucharist to un-closeted homosexuals. He and his chancellory here claim that there are only 350 priests in his huge diocese of Galveston-Houston who have molested children since 1950. Nobody here believes him.

Mister Mckee
3 months ago

Is DiNardo serious?


The latest from america

If almost a decade of watching “Game of Thrones” has taught me anything, it’s that fairy tale endings are for children.
Jim McDermottMay 21, 2019
ARABIAN SEA (May 16, 2019) Lt. Nicholas Miller, from Spring, Texas, and Lt. Sean Ryan, from Gautier, Miss., launch an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the "Pukin' Dogs" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143 on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/Released)
This month the increasingly bellicose rhetoric and actions emerging from the Trump administration under the guidance of Mr. Bolton have meant a sudden surge of alarm in the region. Will it mean another war in the Middle East?
Kevin ClarkeMay 20, 2019
Though the ruling African National Congress party (ANC) has won the South African elections, it has done so with a dwindling support of the popular vote.
Anthony EganMay 20, 2019
God is continually inviting us to growth and continually enabling us to let some things in our life die so that we can experience new life.
James Martin, S.J.May 20, 2019