I really was not sure in which category to post this topic, but as it’s basically a question regarding the sacrament of Holy Orders I’m posting it in the Sacraments category.
My question is of a technical nature and I do hope we’ll all remain charitable and deal with the question only and not digress into related issues.
The Pope has, as the secular press describe it, ‘defrocked’ Cardinal McCarrick. I’m uncertain as to the correct terminology but believe he’s been reduced to the lay state. So, my question is what is Cardinal McCarrick’s official status in the Church?
As I understand it the sacrament of Holy Orders brings about a change in the ontological state of the soul like Baptism and Confirmation and therefore cannot be repeated. You cannot unbaptism or unconfirm someone. I, therefore, infer you cannot undeacon, unpriest or unbishop someone. Am I correct to think Cardinal McCarrick remains a bishop but he must not wear clerical garb, choir dress and liturgical vestments. He cannot celebrate Mass, administer any sacrament, or preside at any liturgy. Simply, he must not do those things that only sacred ministers do.
What would happen if he administered a sacrament? The only one I can think would be invalid is marriage. Because he cannot be the Church’s official witness to any marriage he was involved with would lack canonical form. If he celebrated a Mass would the Eucharist be confected? I do know he can hear confessions, anoint and give Holy Communion to someone in danger of death.
I do not suggest he will try to do any of these things. The question would still stand if it were any other laicised cleric. I simply used his name because it is topical and puts my question in context. I’m simply trying to learn what status a laicised cleric has in the Church.