Theodore Edgar McCarrick
|Theodore Edgar McCarrick|
|Archbishop Emeritus of Washington|
McCarrick speaking at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
|Appointed||November 21, 2000|
|Installed||January 3, 2001|
|Term ended||May 16, 2006|
|Predecessor||James Aloysius Hickey|
May 31, 1958|
by Francis Spellman
June 29, 1977|
by Terence Cooke
February 21, 2001|
by Pope John Paul II
|Birth name||Theodore Edgar McCarrick|
July 7, 1930|
New York City
|Motto||Come Lord Jesus|
Theodore Edgar McCarrick
|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Grace|
Ordination history of
Theodore Edgar McCarrick
Theodore Edgar McCarrick (born July 7, 1930) is a retired American prelate of the Catholic Church, and a former Cardinal. He served as Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006, and was elevated to the cardinalate in February 2001. Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals on July 28, 2018, after a series of sexual misconduct allegations.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Priesthood
- 3 Episcopal career
- 4 Retirement as archbishop
- 5 Accusations of sexual abuse and removal from public ministry
- 6 Honorary degrees
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early life and education
An only child, McCarrick was born in New York City to Theodore E. and Margaret T. (née McLaughlin) McCarrick. His father was a ship captain who died from tuberculosis when McCarrick was three years old, and his mother then worked at an automobile parts factory in the Bronx. As a child, McCarrick served as an altar boy at the Church of the Incarnation in Washington Heights.
McCarrick was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York, on May 31, 1958. From 1958 to 1963, he furthered his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning a Ph.D. in sociology. He then served as an assistant chaplain at the Catholic University, becoming dean of students and director of development.
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 in 1965. In 1969, Cardinal Terence Cooke recalled McCarrick to New York. McCarrick was an associate secretary for education and an assistant priest at Blessed Sacrament parish from 1969 to 1971. He was Cooke's secretary from 1971 to 1977. He was later accused of sexually abusing a minor during this period.
Auxiliary bishop of New York
In May 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).
Bishop of Metuchen
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. 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.
Archbishop of Newark
On May 30, 1986, McCarrick was appointed 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. He also promoted vocations, and ordained a total of 200 priests for the Archdiocese.
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". 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. In 1988, he participated in an interfaith meeting with Fidel Castro to promote religious freedom in Cuba, the first meeting of its kind subsequent to the fall of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. McCarrick, as a representative of Irish immigrant families, was chosen to be placed in the Ellis Island Hall of Fame on December 8, 1990.
Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 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." 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 he described as "reminiscent of the Holocaust"), China, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, and Switzerland. Joined by Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, he announced an initiative in 1997 to assure that Catholic school uniforms in his Archdiocese would not be manufactured in sweatshops.
In 1998, in addition to his duties as Archbishop, McCarrick was designated as superior of the Roman Catholic Mission sui iuris of the Turks and Caicos Islands; he delegated this mission to priests of the Neocatechumenal Way.
Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
Pope John Paul II appointed McCarrick Archbishop of Washington in November 2000. McCarrick was formally installed as the fifth archbishop of Washington at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on January 3, 2001. On February 21, 2001, John Paul made him a cardinal, assigning him as cardinal priest to the titular church of Ss. Nerei e Achilleo. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.
In June 2004, McCarrick was accused by conservative Catholics of misreading a document from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, recommending that Catholic politicians who supported abortion be denied the Eucharist. McCarrick led a successful push to have the USCCB allow the bishops of individual dioceses to make a determination on who was or was not eligible to receive the sacrament rather than forbid all pro-abortion American politicians from doing so. Fr. John Neuhaus said that "The bishops I have talked to have no doubt that [McCarrick’s] presentation did not accurately represent the communication from Cardinal Ratzinger."
Retirement as archbishop
On May 16, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal McCarrick's resignation 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 May 16, 2006, until Wuerl's installation on June 22, 2006, McCarrick served as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Washington, an interim post.
After his retirement, McCarrick resided for some time at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in the Archdiocese of Washington. He subsequently moved to the grounds of the provincial headquarters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Chillum, Maryland, in a building on a complex that included a seminary.
Within the church, McCarrick "was always seen as a moderate, centrist presence in the hierarchy, a telegenic pastor who could present the welcoming face of the church, no matter what the circumstances." The Religion News Service identified him in 2014 as "one of a number of senior churchmen who were more or less put out to pasture during the eight-year pontificate of Benedict XVI," adding that after the election of Pope Francis he found himself put "back in the mix." During his retirement, McCarrick pressed House Speaker John Boehner to take up immigration reform. McCarrick spent a significant amount of time traveling and engaging in inter-religious dialogue. In April 2014, at the request of the U.S. State Department, McCarrick (along with a Muslim and an Evangelical cleric) made a trip to the Central African Republic, a country suffering from ethnic and interreligious violence. In May 2014, he traveled with Pope Francis to the Holy Land. McCarrick also traveled to Armenia to discuss Syria with Eastern Orthodox clerics, the Philippines to visit typhoon victims, China for discussions on religious freedom, Iran for talks on nuclear proliferation, and served as a Vatican intermediary for the U.S.-Cuba talks.
Accusations of sexual abuse and removal from public ministry
Sexual advances toward seminarians
A news report by Catholic News Agency, based on interviews with six unnamed priests of the Archdiocese of Newark, described Cardinal McCarrick's actions while Archbishop of Newark. According to this report, when McCarrick would visit the seminary in the Newark diocese, he "would often place his hand on seminarians while talking with them, or on their thighs while seated near them." One of the priests stated that McCarrick "had a type: tall, slim, intelligent - but no smokers." He stated that McCarrick would invite young men to stay at his house on the shore, or to spend the night in the cathedral rectory in central Newark. In response to the story, the Archdiocese of Newark stated that neither the six anonymous priests interviewed for the story, nor anyone else, "has ever spoken to [current Newark Archbishop] Cardinal Tobin about a 'gay sub-culture' in the Archdiocese of Newark."
Michael Reading, who was ordained a priest by McCarrick, stated that he had heard stories about McCarrick's sexual advances toward seminarians when he himself was a seminarian in Newark in 1986.
2005 and 2007 financial settlements
Between 2005 and 2007, the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark paid financial settlements to two priests who had accused McCarrick of abuse. These settlements totalled $180,000. $80,000 was paid to abuse victim Robert Ciolek; a portion of this amount was paid by the Archdiocese of Newark (where McCarrick had been archbishop from 1986 to 2001) and was authorized by Newark bishop John J. Myers. Another portion of this amount was paid by the Diocese of Trenton; however, this diocese stated in 2018 that the Ciolek settlement did not concern abuse by McCarrick. In addition, $100,000 was paid in 2006 to an abuse victim by the Diocese of Metuchen (where McCarrick had been bishop from 1981 to 1986). The Diocese of Metuchen paid $53,333.34 for two other sex-abuse complaints (it is unclear whether one of these was the Ciolek settlement); these payments were authorized by Metuchen bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, who also reported the offenses to law enforcement.
According to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, nobody from these dioceses informed him of these settlements, even after the retired McCarrick began living on the grounds of a seminary in the Archdiocese of Washington.
Warnings about McCarrick's conduct
There have been questions about how much senior Catholic officials might have known about McCarrick's actions. After McCarrick was removed from active ministry on June 20, 2018, numerous bishops facing heavy pressure denied any prior knowledge of McCarrick's misconduct. These denials have been called into question by some.
Father Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville in New York City, had repeatedly issued warnings to church officials regarding abuse throughout his career. Ramsey stated that he spoke to Thomas C. Kelly, Archbishop of Louisville, about McCarrick's behavior in 1993. In 2000, Ramsey wrote to the papal nuncio Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, and warned Pope John Paul II about making McCarrick Archbishop of Washington. On October 11, 2006, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the former Vatican substitute for general affairs and current Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, wrote to Ramsey and stated that Montalvo Higuera had told Sandri about Ramsey's allegations regarding McCarrick. Ramsey wrote to Cardinal Seán O'Malley in 2015. O'Malley stated that he never saw the letter, and that it had been handled "at the staff level." Ramsey said that he tried to speak with Cardinal Edward Egan of New York about McCarrick's history, but that Egan "didn't want to hear it."
Documents obtained by The New York Times reveal that in 1994 a priest wrote a letter to Bishop Edward T. Hughes, McCarrick's successor as bishop of Metuchen, stating that McCarrick had inappropriately touched him.
Richard Sipe stated that he wrote a letter to Benedict XVI in 2008 saying that McCarrick's activities "had been widely known for several decades." Sipe delivered a letter to Bishop Robert W. McElroy in 2016 concerning sexual misconduct by McCarrick. McElroy said that nothing could be done because of an inability to determine whether the allegations were credible.
One journalist claims that in a conversation with Joseph W. Tobin, Tobin said that around the time he became Archbishop of Newark in 2016, he heard "rumors" about McCarrick having slept with seminarians, but chose not to believe them, stating that at the time they seemed too "incredulous" to be true. Despite repeated denials, Wuerl, McCarrick's successor as Archbishop of Washington, has been widely suspected of knowing about McCarrick's conduct and failing to take action against him. Although this has not been proven, one writer went so far as to claim that if his denials are true, Wuerl "is the Church's most oblivious cleric."
On August 29, Bishop Steven J. Lopes criticized his fellow bishops and questioned the truthfulness of those claiming to have been ignorant of McCarrick's actions. "I’ll tell you what response I think is not good enough. It’s the parade of cardinals and bishops who have rushed to the television cameras clutching their pectoral crosses, saying, ‘I knew nothing.' I don’t believe it, and I am one of them. I don’t believe it." He continued, "I was a seminarian when Theodore McCarrick was named archbishop of Newark. And he would visit the seminary often, and we all knew."
In 2012, The New York Times Magazine scheduled but never published a story detailing McCarrick's abuse of adult seminarians, based on court documents of the legal settlements between McCarrick and former seminarians, and an interview with one of the victims.
On August 16, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), asked Pope Francis to initiate an investigation led by members of both the clergy and the laity into who knew about McCarrick's activities and how he was able to rise in to a high position in the Church despite the allegations against him. On September 20, after a month with no formal response from the Pope, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York commented that he was getting "a little bit impatient."
On August 25, 2018 Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the United States, released an 11-page letter describing a series of warnings to the Vatican regarding McCarrick. Viganò stated that Montalvo, then nuncio to the United States, had informed the Vatican in 2000 of McCarrick's "gravely immoral behaviour with seminarians and priests." Subsequently, Pietro Sambi (nuncio from 2005 to 2011) had informed the Vatican again. In 2006, Viganò -- then working at the Vatican -- wrote his own memo regarding McCarrick. However, he says, nothing was done to stop McCarrick.
In 2008, Viganò says he wrote a second memo, including material from Sipe. As a result, in 2009 or 2010 Pope Benedict XVI allegedly placed severe restrictions on McCarrick's movements and public ministry, not allowing him to travel beyond the grounds of the seminary where he was living and not permitting him to say Mass in public. However, according to Viganò, Pope Francis subsequently removed these sanctions and made McCarrick "his trusted counselor", even though Francis "knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator. He knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end." It was quickly noted that during the time McCarrick was allegedly under sanction, he maintained a "robust public presence" full of international travel, public masses, speeches, and the acceptance of awards. He even joined with other bishops to present Pope Benedict a birthday cake. Viganò's credibility was also called into question due to public spats with the Pope over the enforcement of Catholic morality. He also showed staunch disapproval of the resignation of St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Neinstedt, which occurred during Pope Francis' time in power, and reportedly attempted to end the sex abuse investigation which led to Neinstedt's departure. Viganò's defenders subsequently suggested that these restrictions might not have been formal sanctions but rather informal requests that were loosely enforced. Viganò released documentation attempting to prove that he did not obstruct the investigation into Neinstedt.
Viganò also claimed that McCarrick "orchestrated" the appointments of Blase Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago and Joseph Tobin as Archbishop of Newark. Journalists at the time of the appointments of both Cupich and Tobin reported that McCarrick had played the decisive role in recommending both. Viganò stated that he discussed McCarrick's conduct and the penalties surrounding it with McCarrick's successor as Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. After the report was released, Wuerl's spokesperson denied that he was aware of any misconduct by McCarrick. In the letter containing these allegations, Viganò called on Francis and all others who covered up McCarrick's conduct to resign.
Asked to respond to Viganò's allegations the following day, Pope Francis replied that reporters should "do your jobs" and make conclusions themselves based on the testimony presented. Francis confirmed that he had read Viganò's statement, and then told the journalist who had asked the question, "You read the statement attentively, and you make your own judgment. I will not say a single word about this.... I believe the statement speaks for itself, and you have enough journalistic capacity to reach the conclusions."
According to veteran Vatican journalist John Allen, the "clear suggestion" from Francis was that "if they did so, the charges would crumble under their own weight." On August 28, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki said, in reference to Francis' statment, "Frankly, but with all due respect, that response is not adequate." He called on all Vatican officials, including Francis, to "make public the pertinent files indicating who knew what and when...and provide the accountability that the Holy Father has promised."
Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, the former first counsellor at the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., confirmed that Viganò had told "the truth" but declined to offer additional comment. In his letter, Viganò had cited Lantheaume as the one who told him about the alleged "stormy" encounter between McCarrick and Sambi in which Sambi informed McCarrick of the sanctions being placed on him.
The New York Times stated that Viganò's letter contained "unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks", and described it as "an extraordinary public declaration of war against Francis' papacy at perhaps its most vulnerable moment." A number of bishops sharply criticized the letter while others called for an investigation.
The McCarrick case and Viganò allegations, happening at about the same time as the conclusion of the grand jury investigation of Catholic Church sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, which alleged systematic cover-up of clergy sex abuse by bishops in Pennsylvania over decades, produced what has variously been described as a "Catholic insurgency" or "Catholic civil war." Significant numbers of lay Catholics have called on bishops implicated in alleged cover-ups as well as Pope Francis to resign. The problem has also opened up ideological divisions within the Church. Large numbers of conservatives, many of whom have long disliked Pope Francis, have called on him and certain bishops to resign following the Viganò letter and other revelations, while liberals, most of whom have been supportive of Francis's papacy in the past, have more commonly criticized the letter and defended Francis.
Viganò has subsequently released two follow-up letters. In these letters, he defends himself from critics, adds more details to his claims, and calls on more Church leaders to speak out. After the publication of the second letter, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who had been named by Viganò in that letter as the person who allegedly told him about the sanctions, released a public response strongly chastising Viganò, while confirming that informal sanctions on McCarrick did exist and that he was the one who told Viganò about them.
Removal from ministry and resignation as cardinal
On June 20, 2018, Cardinal McCarrick was removed from public ministry by the Holy See after a review board of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York found an allegation "credible and substantiated" that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy while a priest in New York. Patrick Noaker, the attorney for the anonymous complainant, alleged two incidents at St. Patrick's Cathedral, one in 1971 and the other in 1972. Noaker stated that when measuring the teen for a cassock, McCarrick "unzipped [the boy's] pants and put his hands in the boy's pants."
McCarrick stated that he was innocent of these charges: "I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence." He also stated, "In obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry." Also on June 20, 2018, Tobin revealed that during McCarrick's ministry in New Jersey, there had been accusations of sexual misconduct with three adults, and that two of the allegations had resulted in confidential financial settlements with the complainants.
On July 5, Fordham University rescinded an honorary degree and other honors it had granted Cardinal McCarrick. The Catholic University of America, where McCarrick earned two degrees and served in a variety of spiritual and administrative positions, revoked the honorary degree it awarded him in 2006.
In late July 2018, a New Jersey man whose uncle had known McCarrick since high school alleged that McCarrick had sexually abused him for 20 years, and that McCarrick had exposed himself to him when he was 11 and had sexually touched him beginning when he was 13. On July 16, 2018 The New York Times published a front-page article describing McCarrick's abuse of adult seminarians.
On July 27, 2018, Pope Francis ordered McCarrick to observe "a life of prayer and penance in seclusion" and accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals. McCarrick became the first person to resign from the College of Cardinals since French Cardinal Louis Billot resigned in 1927 when he refused an order to withdraw his support of Action Française, a monarchist movement that Pope Pius XI had condemned. He is also the first cardinal to resign following allegations of sexual abuse. The Pope took this action before the accusations were investigated by church officials, the first time an order of penance and prayer has been issued before a church trial. McCarrick was not laicized (removed from the priesthood) pending the completion of a canonical trial. The Vatican announced on July 28, 2018, that Pope Francis had ordered Archbishop McCarrick (as he now was) to obey an "obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him" and also observe "a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial."
Council of Cardinals meeting
On September 10, 2018, the Council of Cardinals- or C9- began a three day meeting to discuss, in part, how to respond to Ramsey's 2006 letter. The C9 issued a joint statement stating the Holy See "is working on formulating potential and necessary clarifications."
Vatican trial and sentence
On September 28, 2018, it was announced that McCarrick was living at the St. Fidelis Capuchin Friary in Victoria, Kansas. Pope Francis had sentenced McCarrick to serve a life of prayer and penance at this location pending the completion of a canonical process against him. He remains prohibited from engaging in any public ministry. The Diocese of Salina, where the friary is located, would not be incurring any of the costs for housing McCarrick.
Vatican Archives review
On October 6, it was announced that Pope Francis had authorized the Vatican Archives to conduct a "thorough study" to answer how McCarrick managed to rise in the Vatican ranks despite reports that he had slept with not only seminarians, but also young priests as well. The statement did not address the allegations made by Archbishop Viganò.
|New Jersey||1987||Saint Peter's University||Doctorate |
|New Jersey||1994||University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey||Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.)|
|New York||2002||Fordham University||Doctorate (rescinded)|
|District of Columbia||2004||Georgetown University||D.H.L. |
|District of Columbia||May 13, 2006||Catholic University of America||D.H.L. (rescinded) |
|New York||2007||Siena College||Doctorate of Sacred Theology (rescinded)|
|Indiana||May 18, 2008||University of Notre Dame||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) |
|Oregon||2008||University of Portland||Doctorate (rescinded) |
|New York||May 2011||St. Bonaventure University||Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) (Rescinded) |
|New York||October 12, 2012||College of New Rochelle||Doctorate (rescinded) |
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The dates and of the settlements were not disclosed. Church officials also did not say if the settlements involved payments to the victims.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Theodore Edgar McCarrick.|
- "McCarrick Card. Theodore Edgar". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on September 4, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington Official Site
- Biography from the Washington Archdiocese website.
- Retiring Archbishop Gives Farewell Homily Washington Post, June 19, 2006, by Candace Rondeaux.
|Catholic Church titles|
James Aloysius Hickey
| Archbishop of Washington
November 21, 2000 – May 16, 2006
Peter Leo Gerety
| Archbishop of Newark
May 30, 1986 – November 21, 2000
John J. Myers
Lawrence Aloysius Burke, SJ
| Ecclesiastical Superior of Turks and Caicos|
October 17, 1998 – November 21, 2000
| Bishop of Metuchen
November 19, 1981 – May 30, 1986
Edward Thomas Hughes
Léon Théobald Delaere, O.F.M. Cap
|— TITULAR —
Titular Bishop of Rusibisir
June 29, 1977 – November 19, 1981
Bernardino Echeverría Ruiz
| Cardinal-Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo
February 21, 2001 – July 28, 2018