McCarrick May Be Defrocked


The man, and others like him, have done incalculable damage to the Church, to individual lives and souls in need of salvation. Apart from those who have left the Church because they were abused, how many people will never have a relationship with Jesus or never baptise their children, because of the actions of men like McCarrick?

How much money, which could have been used to help those in need, to help communities, to keep churches from closing has gone and will go to lawyers and towards settlements?

This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. To date, the Church’s specific sanctions and overall response to abusers and the scandal itself have been - to put it mildly - totally inadequate.

The world desperately needs to know that this isn’t what the Church is and that it won’t be tolerated or minimised.

Laicising would be an act of strength, mercy and restorative justice for McCarrick, for the clergy, for the laity and for those outside the Church.

It wouldn’t perhaps be cause for true celebration - nothing that touches even the edges of this abhorrent situation really could be - but satisfaction? Certainly.

Feeling satisfied at a fair, effective and necessary outcome shouldn’t preclude praying for the salvation of those on the receiving end of it, as difficult as that can sometimes be.


Well said. It’s more like a grim satisfaction than celebration.


Like I said, I’m sure if the cardinals and Pope think this step is necessary, it will happen.

If somebody in the pew gets satisfaction out of it, fine. Satisfaction for justice done is different from the “rejoicing” somebody posted above. We don’t rejoice when a priest falls so low.

I personally got more satisfaction out of the practical steps that were already taken to remove this man from threatening others and also removing him from the public stage. This seems like an afterthought to me. I respect that others might feel differently.

I also think that many people will not see this as “justice” because they would consider “justice” to be him getting locked up for the crimes he committed, which seems unlikely to be happening soon.


I second your “Hallelujah” and add an Amen.


He had already been removed from all public ministry. As far as I know the only priestly ministry he can (apparently) offer is private Mass.

It is hard to see how laicization would benefit him or any other person.


I pray they make the right decision, whatever that may be.

Even months later the whole thing still just makes my stomach turn. I’m just going to leave it at that.


Oh, I hope not.:frowning_face:


Sometimes there is a value in the public administration of consequences because, you know, justice. I’m kind of surprised at people saying “well, he can’t molest anyone anymore, so meh.”


What are the canon law or other official justifications for laicization in general, not re this particular situation?


It can be done either by request of the priest for a grave reason (like he wants to run for office, he wants to get married) or as a punishment for a grave reason, which would include a serious criminal conviction, heresy, or in recent years, a history of credible sex abuse allegations even if none of them resulted in a conviction or a civil court liability judgment. There are a lot of laicized sexual abusers.


I’m not sure of the actual effect. Nothing stops a laicized priest from wearing a Roman collar and calling himself a Catholic priest. In fact there is an organization called Rent-a-Priest, or celibacy is the Issue, which provides subsequently married priests for “liturgy” and so on. I think most bishops, including mine, are very reluctant to laicize, or excommunicate. Maybe that is changing now.


His defrocking in my opinion is long overdue. He got away with committing a terrible crime for far too long.

We should pray for Cardinal Theodore McCarrick that he sees the errors of his ways and repents. Lord have mercy.


good that you let everyone know and be warned.They are fake priests , right? Or what?


I don’t think he’s a Cardinal anymore, but he’s still a bishop.


I think defrocking him is more than necessary. He was a “prince” of the Church. He was supposed to have represented the best of the best; a person who under the proper circumstances could have been Pope. We need not this sort of trash voting for or becoming Pope. A line needs to be drawn and a complete disavowing of him is morally necessary. He abused the moral authority given him and the Church must prove its own moral authority against those who abuse its own basic teachings.


This is a different issue.
Lawyers here may explain it better.
Many times the victims have not reported it to civil authorities. For any reason, sometimes in the case if children to avoid exposure, so what can be done in these cases at a court of law when no “ case” is presented?
Really with all the awareness there is today, one expects and hopes that cases will be reported straight to the police…then whatever is going on is handled by those who have to handle abuse cases and there is no further harm done…
That is what is being encouraged: report it to the police.

Edited: I see you deleted your post, Governator.


Well said… At times like these, our Christian maturity is also being tested. This is when our trust in God’s love, mercy and forgiveness is front and center.

The damages have been great on the Church, and upon many lost souls. But they are simply devastating and irreversible to the abused victims. McCarrick will face God’s judgment soon enough.


It’s true that some of them still go around holding themselves out as priests, but the Church at least has an official record that the person was expelled from the ranks, which would tend to remove their responsibility for whatever the laicized priest might do. Also, in the case of the younger priests below retirement age, it relieves the Church from having to assign the priest or find some place to put him, and he is off the Diocese’s dime for his salary, benefits, health insurance etc. Interestingly, a laicized priest can still do anointings and hear confession of those in danger of death, according to this website from Diocese of Phoenix.

And just like you said, this guy Fushek mentioned on the Diocese of Phoenix website, who was a co-founder of Life Teen and was laicized after a bunch of complaints of him sexually abusing minors, is still running around calling himself Fr. Fushek and operating this rather prominent and busy “Praise and Worship Center”, which the Diocese has ordered Catholics not to attend.

I would presume that for McCarrick, the Church really doesn’t want someone of his extremely high profile getting a little condo somewhere and being out on the street, which is what seems to have happened with most of these laicized abuser priests who weren’t serving a prison term, so I’m not sure how they would legally handle keeping him out of the public eye after he is laicized. I would think if he’s removed from the priesthood, the Church no longer has control over him and he could just go do whatever.

Excommunication is a little different because it’s done in the hope that the person will reform his ways and come back to the Church, which does happen. Laicization for punishment is more like the person is such an embarrassment/ failure as a priest that the Church wants to cut ties.


In my opinion not only McCarrick, but all clergy who commit acts of sexual abuse, and all Bishops and Cardinals who covered up for them should be laicized. It’s the only way the Church is going to get past this scandal.


The vast majority of priests in USA who had credible allegations of sexual abuse are currently either dead, in a nursing/ retirement home somewhere getting ready to expire, or already laicized. You can check it on bishop-accountability. Some of the more recent ones may be in the process of laicization.

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