Tag: Sex abuse scandals

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.

Ten Reasons Pope Francis Silence Is A Disaster 

Ten Reasons Pope Francis Silence Is A Disaster 

    TEN REASONS WHY POPE FRANCIS’ SILENCE IS A DISASTER.

    I was amazed to read the Pope Francis’ supporters, Fr Spadaro and Cardinal Napier have been comparing the Pope’s silence on the Vigano accusations to Our Lord’s silence before Pilate. Cardinal Napier tweeted, and Fr Spadaro re-tweeted:

     

    There are so many problems with this that it is hard to know where to start.

    First of all, when you or the person you support is under fire for something of which that person may be guilty it is not a good idea to play the victim….not even a little bit. But to compare the person under fire to Jesus at his trial? No. Just don’t go there. Playing the victim card doesn’t work anymore. It’s a worn out ploy. After the blizzard of snowflakes and faux victims we can see through that trick now.

    Secondly, if the person in question is a privileged person don’t play the victim card at all. Would you pity Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton if they played the victim card? No. If a person is a powerful and privileged person and you play the victim card it is a big own goal. The pope is one of the most powerful people in the world. He’s right up there with the Queen of England as an international leader and he is therefore on the top of the heap. When the big guys play the victim card it is not only ridiculous, it is a gross insult to all the true victims in the world.

    Third, once his supporters have played the Pope as a victim in all this, the result is disastrous for the pope and the papacy. Suddenly we see all his foot washing of prisoners, kissing of disabled people and embracing immigrants as the big show off fakery some of us thought it was all along. When the pope is in hot water and plays the victim he makes his showy advocacy of victims look like a cheap publicity stunt

    Fourth, the pope may be the Vicar of Christ, but he’s not the successor of Jesus. He’s the successor of Peter. When Jesus was on trial, we should remember that there was another person who was also silent and did not stand up for his friend who was the Way , the Truth and the Life. It was Peter. I think maybe Fr Spadaro and Cardinal Napier need to get their Bibles down off the shelf, blow off the dust and read the story again.

    Fifth, this needn’t be such a big deal that the Pope has to go all publicly sanctimonious, play the silent suffering savior and hope the storm blows over. If he wants to be like Jesus he should calm the storm. He could deny Vigano’s accusations and produce the paperwork on the whole McCarrick affair, prove Vigano wrong and take positive action to clean up the Vatican and command his bishops around the world to do the same in their dioceses. His silence only prolongs the whole sordid affair.

    Sixth, while Vigano’s testimony may seem leaky. (Philip Lawler discusses the evidence here). there is enough background evidence based in Pope Francis’ previous actions to make it credible. I outlined some reasons here. Instead of silence the Pope could easily appoint an external, independent investigator to present a report on the matter. His silence and seemingly passive stance isn’t helping anyone, and most of all it is not helping him. Instead it is moving him closer to the lame duck papacy I predicted here.

    Seventh, the pope’s withdraw into silence is revealing him to be a hypocrite in a very important situation. He has presented himself as a listener, one who gets the smell of the sheep and who comes close to the wounded, the upset, the confused and bewildered–those who are alienated from their own church. Does he not realize that there are a huge number of his sheep in the United States and worldwide who are at the brink of despair over the sex abuse crisis and the bishops’ incompetence and sleazy behavior? These people need to be listened to. They also need to be comforted and led with a strong and compassionate hand. Casting them as the Pharisees and hiding behind a fake humility and the “silence of Jesus on trial” is just about the dumbest thing any spiritual leader could do, and his tin eared sycophants don’t seem to get it….at all.

    Eighth, the silence is un necessary and destructive for him and his papacy. My own view about Pope Francis is more moderate than some. I don’t want him to resign. We don’t need three popes. I don’t think he’s a bad man and I’m dubious about some of the worst gossip about him. I do think he’s out of his depth and has surrounded himself with the worst possible advisors and supporters. But the silence is not necessary, and he’s a big enough man to do something positive. When he realized he had messed up badly in the case of the Chilean bishops’ cover up of sex abuse he back tracked, admitted his mistakes and tried to put things right. So its not like this sort of thing is impossible for him. He could do that in this case if Vigano’s accusations are on target.

    Ninth, playing the Jesus victim here is simply over the top. Nobody is trying to crucify Pope Francis. Sure, there are some extremists who want him to resign, but most of us simply want him to be the firm, compassionate and intelligent leader we expect of a pope. We don’t want him to be a victim and we don’t want him dead, but we would like him to answer the accusations of Vigano with a strong, open and understanding answer. We’d like him to then take action. If he is guilty as charged, then to make amends and put things right. If he is not, then to ask independent investigators to make a report with full access to documents, explaining exactly what did happen.

    Tenth, playing the victim actually plays into the hands of Henry Sire–the author of The Dictator Pope. Sire portrays Pope Francis as an opportunistic, cynical manipulative operator. He portrays the pope as a man who plays both sides of the house against each other. He portrays the pope as a Jesuitical Jesuit who manipulates the truth according to his own whims and tinkers with people and situations to get his own way. By putting on a long face and playing the victim, Pope Francis is, unfortunately, helping to make Sire’s devastating thesis seem plausible.

    This article was originally written by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

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