Theodore Edgar McCarrick

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His Eminence
Theodore Edgar McCarrick
Archbishop Emeritus of Washington
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick.jpg
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick speaking at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
See Washington
Appointed November 21, 2000
Installed January 3, 2001
Term ended May 16, 2006
Predecessor James Aloysius Hickey
Successor Donald Wuerl
Other posts Cardinal Priest of Ss. Nerei et Achillei
Ordination May 31, 1958
by Francis Spellman
Consecration June 29, 1977
by Terence Cooke
Created Cardinal February 21, 2001
by John Paul II
Rank Cardinal Priest
Personal details
Born (1930-07-07) 7 July 1930 (age 87)
New York, New York
Previous post
Motto Come Lord Jesus
Styles of
Theodore Edgar McCarrick
Coat of arms of Theodore Edgar McCarrick.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Washington (Emeritus)

Theodore Edgar McCarrick (born July 7, 1930) is an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001.

Early life and education[edit]

An only child, McCarrick was born in New York City to Theodore E. and Margaret T. (née McLaughlin) McCarrick.[1] His father was a ship captain who died from tuberculosis when McCarrick was three years old,[1] and his mother then worked at a car factory in the Bronx.[2] As a child, McCarrick served as an altar boy at the Church of the Incarnation in Washington Heights.[2]

After attending Fordham Preparatory School, he studied in Switzerland for a year before returning to the United States and attending Fordham University.[3] McCarrick later entered St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, from where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in philosophy (1954) and a Master's in history (1958).[4]


McCarrick was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis Spellman on May 31, 1958.[1] From 1958 to 1963, he furthered his studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning a Master's in social sciences and a doctorate in sociology. He then served as an assistant chaplain at the Catholic University, where he later became dean of students and director of development.

Cardinal McCarrick greeting Admiral William Fallon at a September 11th memorial mass in Washington, D.C.

McCarrick served as President of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico from 1965 to 1969, and was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on November 10, 1965.[1] Upon his return to the Archdiocese of New York, he served as both Adjunct Secretary for Education and associate pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church until 1971. During this time, he helped found the Cardinal's Committee for Education and the Inner City Scholarship Fund, which promotes the education of the poor, particularly among minorities.

He was private secretary to Cardinal Terence Cooke from 1971 to 1977.

Episcopal career[edit]

Auxiliary bishop of New York[edit]

On May 24, 1977, McCarrick was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York and Titular Bishop of Rusibisir by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 29 from Cardinal Cooke, with Archbishop John Maguire and Bishop Patrick Ahern serving as co-consecrators. He selected as his episcopal motto: "Come Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).[5]

As an auxiliary to Cardinal Cooke, he served as Vicar general of East Manhattan and Harlem.

Bishop of Metuchen[edit]

McCarrick was later named the founding Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, on November 19, 1981. He was installed at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral on January 31, 1982. During his tenure, McCarrick erected new parishes in Perth Amboy, Califon, Skillman, Old Bridge, and Three Bridges.[6] He also oversaw the development of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, Bishop's Annual Appeal, and ministries for blacks and Hispanics, pro-life activities, and the disabled.[6]

Archbishop of Newark[edit]

On May 30, 1986, McCarrick was promoted to the fourth Archbishop of Newark. He succeeded Peter Leo Gerety, and was installed at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on the following July 25. During his tenure, he established the Office of Evangelization, ministries for Hispanics and victims of HIV, and a drug prevention program.[7] He also promoted vocations, and ordained a total of 200 priests for the Archdiocese.[2]

Cardinal McCarrick in June 2006

McCarrick became known as an advocate for social justice, once saying, "[T]he Church cannot be authentic unless it takes care of the poor, the newcomers, the needy".[2] During the 1980s, he served as an official observer to the Helsinki Commission and the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, serving at the behest of the State Department.[7] In 1988, he participated in an interfaith meeting with Fidel Castro to promote religious freedom in Cuba, the first meeting of its kind since the 1958 Communist revolution. McCarrick, as a representative of Irish immigrant families, was chosen to be placed in the Ellis Island Hall of Fame on December 8, 1990.[7]

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he served as chairman of the Committee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe from 1992 to 1997. In this capacity, he visited such countries as Yugoslavia, the Baltics, and Kazakhstan. He was twice elected to head the USCCB's Committee on Migration, and once asked the Congress "to recognize and support the important task of nurturing new citizens so that they may begin to play a full role in the future of this nation."[7] He later became a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants.

He was elected chairman of the Bishops' Committee on International Policy in 1996. His other visits included Bosnia (which described as "reminiscent of the Holocaust"), China, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, and Switzerland.[2][7] In 1995, he hosted Mother Teresa and later Pope John Paul II, who elevated the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to the rank of a basilica during his visit by McCarrick's suggestion. Joined by Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, he announced an iniatiave in 1997 to assure that Catholic school uniforms in his Archdiocese would not be manufactured in sweatshops.[8]

In addition to his duties as Archbishop, McCarrick was made Superior of Turks and Caicos on October 17, 1998.

Archbishop of Washington[edit]

President George W. Bush and Laura Bush welcome outgoing Archbishop of Washington McCarrick, left, the incoming Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl, far right, and Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi to the White House.

On 21 November 2000, John Paul II appointed McCarrick the fifth Archbishop of Washington. As archbishop, he served as the spiritual leader of over 580,000 Catholics in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's, and Saint Mary's Counties in Maryland.

McCarrick is the Cardinal Priest of the Titulus Ss. Nerei et Achillei.[clarification needed] He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.


On 16 May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Cardinal McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington, D.C., upon the latter's reaching the customary age limit of 75, and appointed Donald Wuerl, Bishop of Pittsburgh, as the 6th Archbishop of Washington, DC. From 16 May 2006 until Wuerl's installation one month later, on 22 June 2006, McCarrick served as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Washington, an interim post.

McCarrick is a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[9] He is also a member of the Inter-American Dialogue.

McCarrick is an accomplished polyglot, credited by the Arlington Catholic Herald[10] as being fluent in seven languages. Six are known to be English, Latin, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

On 29 August 2009, McCarrick presided at the graveside service of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) at Arlington National Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "MCCARRICK, Theodore Edgar". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Goodstein, Laurie (2000-11-22). "Newark Prelate to Head Washington Archdiocese". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Becker, Elizabeth (2001-03-05). "PUBLIC LIVES; An American Cardinal Who Works to Help the World". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Ph.D., D.D.". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. 
  5. ^ "The Coat of Arms of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. 
  6. ^ a b "History". Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Most Reverend Theodore E. McCarrick, Ph.D., D.D.". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. 
  8. ^ "Archdiocese of Newark Sweatshop Initiative". The Catholic-Labor Network. 
  9. ^,com_csis_press/task,view/id,2571/
  10. ^ cardinal mccarrick

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Archbishop Emeritus of Washington
May 16, 2006 – present
Preceded by
James Aloysius Hickey
Archbishop of Washington
November 21, 2000 – May 16, 2006
Succeeded by
Donald Wuerl
Preceded by
Peter Leo Gerety
Archbishop of Newark
May 30, 1986 – November 21, 2000
Succeeded by
John J. Myers
Preceded by
Lawrence Aloysius Burke, SJ
Ecclesiastical Superior of Turks and Caicos
October 17, 1998 – November 21, 2000
New title
First Bishop
Bishop of Metuchen
November 19, 1981 – May 30, 1986
Succeeded by
Edward Thomas Hughes
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of New York
June 29, 1977 – November 19, 1981
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Léon Théobald Delaere, O.F.M. Cap
Titular Bishop of Rusibisir
June 29, 1977 – November 19, 1981
Succeeded by
Ivan Dias