McCarrick May Be Defrocked


I agree. Even if you knew for an absolute certainty that the person would never molest again, there’s still value (and even cause for celebration) in someone like McCarrick being laicized, simply because a moral universe in which Ted McCarrick is not a bishop is superior to one in which he is. (Of course, a universe in which he was actually a good cleric would have been superior to both, but we can’t get there unfortunately.)


I’m pretty sure the Church can impose conditions on laicized priests. They can be barred from volunteering in any teaching capacity in parishes for example. They can be barred from marriage even if no longer serving as a priest. Etc. Not sure if travel restriction is ever done.


Of course they can be kept from doing any parish job, and they can be kept from marrying in the Church. They obviously can’t keep the laicized priest from doing anything he wants outside the Church’s span of control - he could get married down at the courthouse or in some other church, he could start his own church as the laicized priest Dale Fushak did.

The Church is not able to control what Mr. Laicized Priest does outside the Church’s control. It could, I suppose, excommunicate him if he did something like get married when he was told not to, but my guess is Mr. Laicized Priest doesn’t care.

It seems likely that some of these laicized guys continued to commit sexual abuse after they became Mr. So-and-so living in a beach apartment in Florida. I remember reading about one who called up one of his former victims, who was now an adult with kids of his own, and wanted to come over and meet the family. If that’s not looking for more victims, I don’t know what is. The Church couldn’t do anything about it at that point.

It seems likely that they will laicize McCarrick but I’ll be interested to know if they somehow work out a way to still keep him confined at the monastery. He probably has substantial financial resources and/or wealthy friends who may not believe the allegations about him or don’t think he did anything wrong. If they laicize him and then he’s seen out living a nice life someplace, it would not be a good thing.


The character of Holy Orders is indelible.
They still can confect the Eucharist, absolve sins, etc., but if that’s done without the permission of a Diocesan bishop, it’s illicit (illegal) in the eyes of the Church.


Illicit AND invalid in the case of absolution unless a true emergency…as per canon law. A priest can always validly confect the Eucharist, but absolution requires jurisdiction. This is why SSPX absolutions were not generally recognized by the Church until Pope Francis granted their priests faculties during the Year of Mercy.


As posted above, they are allowed to do anointing of the sick and to hear the confession of a person in danger of death, and those sacraments are legal and valid.

I would presume they also have the faculties to baptize that any baptized Christian would have, and that those would still apply even if the priest had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church as well as laicized (as he would still be a baptized Christian).

It’s my understanding that if they celebrate Mass, then it would be “valid but not licit” so that the Sacrament would truly have the Real Presence, but the priest would sin by performing an illicit Mass and a Catholic who attended such a Mass with knowledge that he was laicized would sin by participating.


Thanks. I asked because here there was a time not too long ago when there were fake priests who charged particularly for weddings which were done outside the premises of a church .And some people are gullible , you know.
But they were real “ fake”, opportunists… can you believe that…? Creativity to make a profit and take people in has no limits…
Our Bishops had to come out and warn people about these “ characters”…


We all agree that we would like Cardinal McCarick to come to repentance. However, that is not the issue here. The issue is whether someone who has knowingly and willfully used his office to abuse his fellow priests and parishioners should continue to serve in that office even if by name only.


They were validly ordained. Then they got married, and they may or may not have gone through (requested) formal laicize procedure. They list their members in a state by state directory.

They may do “chaplain” type work on cruise ships, etc, maybe other places. They do weddings, etc, and may try to build up a weekly faith community wherever people are angry at the Church, because a parish got closed or…other reasons.


Thanks for the explanation.


It is better that he no longer represents the Catholic Church in any capacity. No one who abuses children should escape consequences in this life, as a matter of divine justice. I seriously doubt there is rejoicing at McCarrick’s actions, and the consequences are the direct result of his actions. It would be a cause of pain to know that children, or anyone, could be sexually abused with impunity.


As a secular outsider, I hope that the Church does keep some control on him. I realize he is not a young man but, from my perspective, having him be free of any control mechanisms doesn’t exactly make me feel that the Church is really doing it’s best for all (beyond just Catholics) society.
Question…doesn’t Canon law have definitions for these cases? Or are they just guidelines? How much freedom does the Vatican have in their decision?


More Catholics will head for the exit.


Although if somebody is doing Mass alone, it is rather difficult to enforce.


I simply said that it was illicit, nothing in regards to enforcement.


Okay- valid, but not licit. In any case, if the accused was a priest under these circumstances, he would be laicized. The man is 88 years old, and maybe he can just stay at the monastary; Rome will decide


And he likely will be, and I daresay ought to be.

Oh, yeah, because having a sexual predator at a monestary is great for the communal life of monks.

Indeed, she will.


Or he could be sent here at The Servants of the Paraclete for spiritual help and healing:


Well, this ministry and a “monastary” are two very different places…


Very, and this minstry has proven appropriate for many a clergy.

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