Category: News

American Cardinal McCarrick Has Been Laicized By Pope Francis – What Does It Mean To Be Defrocked, Laicized Or Dismissed From The Clerical State? 

American Cardinal McCarrick Has Been Laicized By Pope Francis – What Does It Mean To Be Defrocked, Laicized Or Dismissed From The Clerical State? 


The Holy Press Office has published a statement from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, concerning the case of Theodore Edgar McCarrick. Below is a copy of the statement:

Comunicato della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, 16.02.2019


[B0133]


Testo in lingua italiana

Traduzione in lingua inglese 

Testo in lingua italiana

In data 11 gennaio 2019, il Congresso della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede ha emanato il decreto conclusivo del processo penale a carico di Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Arcivescovo emerito di Washington, D.C., con il quale l’accusato è stato dichiarato colpevole dei seguenti delitti perpetrati da chierico: sollecitazione in Confessione e violazioni del Sesto Comandamento del Decalogo con minori e adulti, con l’aggravante dell’abuso di potere, pertanto gli è stata imposta la pena della dimissione dallo stato clericale. Il 13 febbraio 2019 la Sessione Ordinaria (Feria IV) della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede ha esaminato gli argomenti presentati nel ricorso del ricorrente e ha deciso di confermare il decreto del Congresso. Questa decisione è stata notificata a Theodore McCarrick in data 15 febbraio 2019. Il Santo Padre ha riconosciuto la natura definitiva, a norma di legge, di questa decisione, la quale rende il caso res iudicata, cioè non soggetta ad ulteriore ricorso.

[00272-IT.01] [Testo originale: Italiano]

Traduzione in lingua inglese

On 11 January 2019, the Congresso of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the conclusion of a penal process, issued a decree finding Theodore Edgar McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: 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 Congresso imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state. On 13 February 2019, the Ordinary Session (Feria IV) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the recourse he presented against this decision. Having examined the arguments in the recourse, the Ordinary Session confirmed the decree of the Congresso. This decision was notified to Theodore McCarrick on 15 February 2019. The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse).

[00272-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]

[B0133-XX.01]

Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was laicized this week, after he was found guilty of sexual abuse and other canonical crimes. But what does it mean to be “laicized,” “defrocked,” or “dismissed from the clerical state?”

Ordination, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a ‘sacred power’ which can come only from Christ himself through his Church.”

The Church says ordination marks a person with an irremovable imprint, a character, which “configures them to Christ.” Ordination, in Catholic theology, makes a permanent change that the Church has no power to reverse.

You are a priest forever,” the Letter to the Hebrews says.

This change is referred to as an ontological change, or a change in being itself.

In addition to making an ontological change, ordination also makes a legal change in a person’s status in the Church. By ordination, a person becomes in canon law a “cleric.” The word “cleric” is derived from the Greek word for “casting lots,” a process of selection similar to drawing straws or rolling dice, because in Acts 1:26, Matthias is added to the 11 remaining apostles after lots are drawn to select the right person.

A cleric, or a sacred minister in the Church, is an ordained man who is permitted by the Church to exercise sacred ministry. A cleric is bound to certain obligations, among them is usually celibacy in the Latin Catholic Church, and he possesses certain rights, among them is the right to be appointed to pastoral leadership positions in the Church. Clerics have the right to be financially supported by the Church, and are bound by obedience to the pope and to local Church authorities.

While ordination can never be lost – no power on earth can erase the sacramental imprint of ordination – a person can lose the legal status of being a cleric- this is what is referred to as “laicization.”

When a person loses the clerical state, he no longer has the right to exercise sacred ministry in the Church, except the extreme situation of encountering someone who is in immediate danger of death.

Someone who has lost the clerical state also no longer has the canonical right to be financially supported by the Church.

Often, a man who is laicized is also dispensed from the obligation of celibacy, and permitted to marry – but this is not always the case, especially when someone has been involuntarily removed from the clerical state.

Ordinarily, the Church does not permit a person who has been dismissed from the clerical state to teach, as a layman, in a Catholic college or school, to be a lector or extraordinary ministry of Holy Communion, or to exercise other functions in the name of the Church. This is determined on an individual basis, and exceptions and dispensations can be made.

A person can lose the clerical state because he has requested it through a special petition to the pope personally, or he can lose it as a penalty for committing an ecclesiastical crime. There are even provisions which allow for a priest or deacon who has abandoned his ministry to be removed from the clerical state after a protracted period of time, and through a specified canonical process.

Losing the clerical state as a penalty comes after a person has committed some crime. But it is not the case that everyone who has been laicized has done something wrong- the Church does not suggest that it is immoral for a priest or deacon to request laicization, and there are many legitimate reasons a priest might do so, though these are often deeply personal.

A laicized priest is no longer referred to as “Father,” or by any other honorary title given to clerics.

After McCarrick was laicized, the Church will no longer have responsibility to provide him with housing, medical care, or any other financial benefits. He will not be permitted to celebrate Mass or any other sacraments, except in situations he is unlikely to encounter, such as being with a person in danger of death.

It is not yet known whether McCarrick will leave the Kansas friary where he has been living a life of prayer and penance. Though he is reported to have some financial means at his disposal, and is likely entitled civilly to a Church pension, it is not yet known what options are available to him.

‘Widespread Communion In The Hand Is Part Of Satan’s Attack On The Eucharist’ – Cardinal Sarah.

‘Widespread Communion In The Hand Is Part Of Satan’s Attack On The Eucharist’ – Cardinal Sarah.

 

The head of the Vatican department overseeing liturgy is summoning the Catholic faithful to return to receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling.

In the preface to a new book on the subject, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, writes: 

“The most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful.”

“Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host,” he said.

The new book, by Don Federico Bortoli, was released in Italian under the title: 

The distribution of Communion on the hand: a historical, juridical and pastoral survey’ [La distribuzione della comunione sulla mano. Profili storici, giuridici e pastorali].

Recalling the centenary of the Fatima apparitions, Sarah writes that the Angel of Peace who appeared to the three shepherd children in advance of the Blessed Virgin’s visit “shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ.” His Eminence then identifies the outrages by which Jesus is offended today in the Holy Eucharist, including “so-called ‘intercommunion.’”

Sarah goes on to consider how faith in the Real Presence “can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa,” and he proposes Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa as two modern saints whom God has given us to imitate in their reverence and reception of the Holy Eucharist.

“Why do we insist on receiving Communion standing and on the hand?,” the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship asks. The manner in which the Holy Eucharist is distributed and received, he writes, “is an important question on which the Church today must reflect.”

Nigerian Priests Abducted On Christmas Eve Attributes Prayers To Their Release. 

Nigerian Priests Abducted On Christmas Eve Attributes Prayers To Their Release. 

A Nigerian priest who was kidnapped on Christmas Eve recalled his experience after Mass this week, saying prayer is what saved him.

Father Cajetan Apeh, a recently ordained priest assigned to St. Theresa’s Parish in Anam, was kidnapped along with the church’s pastor on Dec. 24. The two priests were ambushed while returning from gathering supplies in preparation for the visit of Cardinal Francis Arinze on Christmas Day.

According to Vanguard Nigeria, Apeh described the four-day ordeal to the congregation after Mass on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Mass took place at St. Joseph’s Church in Enugu Ezike, Enugu State Nigeria. 

Apeh said the priests, who initially thought it to be robbery, were abducted by four Fulani herdsmen with AK 47s and left to survive with very little food and water.

“After searching and taking all our possessions, including some loafs of bread, they led us into the bush where two of us were given half a loaf of the wheat bread they took from us for four days before our release to our superior, who drove from Enugu to Anam on the instruction of the herdsmen,” he said, according to Vanguard Nigeria.

He said they were not permitted to talk and we were given only one sachet of water to share per day, and were not provided with adequate clothing to keep warm in the bitter cold.

By December 26, Apeh said, the health condition of the parish pastor had worsened. Because the herdsmen would not let him take necessary medication, his blood pressure was high and he was feeling weak.

Apeh said the kidnappers had tried to hold the priests for ransom and were communicating with their superiors.

“They asked us our bank account numbers and we told them that we had no personal bank accounts, that everything belonged to the church. They asked if I was married, I said no, because I am a Catholic priest.”

Several authorities in Anambra, including the Police Mobile Force and Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad, had been involved with a massive search for the priests. As a result of the joint operations, the abductors were forced to release the two men on Dec. 27. Abeh said prayer was a major factor in their release, Vanguard Nigeria reported.

Due to your prayers and those of others throughout the world, we were released to our superior who travelled to Anam from Enugu, unaccompanied by any policeman or security agent.”

Nigerian Priests Abducted On Christmas Eve Attributes Prayers To Their Release. 

Nigerian Priests Abducted On Christmas Eve Attributes Prayers To Their Release. 

A Nigerian priest who was kidnapped on Christmas Eve recalled his experience after Mass this week, saying prayer is what saved him.

Father Cajetan Apeh, a recently ordained priest assigned to St. Theresa’s Parish in Anam, was kidnapped along with the church’s pastor on Dec. 24. The two priests were ambushed while returning from gathering supplies in preparation for the visit of Cardinal Francis Arinze on Christmas Day.

According to Vanguard Nigeria, Apeh described the four-day ordeal to the congregation after Mass on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Mass took place at St. Joseph’s Church in Enugu Ezike, Enugu State Nigeria. 

Apeh said the priests, who initially thought it to be robbery, were abducted by four Fulani herdsmen with AK 47s and left to survive with very little food and water.

“After searching and taking all our possessions, including some loafs of bread, they led us into the bush where two of us were given half a loaf of the wheat bread they took from us for four days before our release to our superior, who drove from Enugu to Anam on the instruction of the herdsmen,” he said, according to Vanguard Nigeria.

He said they were not permitted to talk and we were given only one sachet of water to share per day, and were not provided with adequate clothing to keep warm in the bitter cold.

By December 26, Apeh said, the health condition of the parish pastor had worsened. Because the herdsmen would not let him take necessary medication, his blood pressure was high and he was feeling weak.

Apeh said the kidnappers had tried to hold the priests for ransom and were communicating with their superiors.

“They asked us our bank account numbers and we told them that we had no personal bank accounts, that everything belonged to the church. They asked if I was married, I said no, because I am a Catholic priest.”

Several authorities in Anambra, including the Police Mobile Force and Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad, had been involved with a massive search for the priests. As a result of the joint operations, the abductors were forced to release the two men on Dec. 27. Abeh said prayer was a major factor in their release, Vanguard Nigeria reported.

Due to your prayers and those of others throughout the world, we were released to our superior who travelled to Anam from Enugu, unaccompanied by any policeman or security agent.”

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