POPE ASSURES CLOSENESS TO VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE – ‘Time to Eradicate This Evil’

Deborah Castellano Lubov

(Zenit) A day after the Vatican’s report on ex-Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to all victims of sexual abuse.

He did so during an appeal at the end of the General Audience on Nov. 11, privately streamed from the Pope’s Apostolic Library, again without public due to the resurgence of COVID19 in the country.

Recalling that “yesterday, the Report on the sad case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published,” the Holy Father underscored: “I renew my closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and the Church’s commitment to eradicate this evil.”

The 449-page text compiled by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State was published in Italian and English and published by the Holy See Press Office.

McCarrick, once one of the most well-known American cardinals and who exercised enormous influence, was the first American cardinal to be removed from the clerical state. Following a 2018 investigation, Pope Francis rendering the CDF’s verdict definitive, blocked the possibility for appeal. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pope decided this on Feb. 16, 2019.

Here is the Feb. 16 Vatican-provided statement: “On 11 January 2019, the Congresso of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the conclusion of a penal process, issued a decree finding Theodore Edgar McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power. The Congresso imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.”

“On 13 February 2019, the Ordinary Session (Feria IV) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the recourse he presented against this decision. Having examined the arguments in the recourse, the Ordinary Session confirmed the decree of the Congresso. This decision was notified to Theodore McCarrick on 15 February 2019. The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse).”

Pope Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation as cardinal on Saturday, July 28, 2018. The statement noted: “Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the cardinalate and has ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, together with the obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him, for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.”

During the 26th meeting, Sept. 9-12, 2018, of the Council of Cardinals, also known as the ‘C9,’ presided over by Pope Francis, the Cardinal Members entrusted with working toward the reform of the Roman Curia, issued a Sept. 10 statement in Italian, expressing its “full solidarity” with the Holy Father,” and noted the Holy See would be formulating “potential and necessary clarifications.”

“It formulated full solidarity with Pope Francis in the face of what has happened in the last weeks, aware that amid the current debate, the Holy See is about to formulate potential and necessary clarifications.”

The same week, the Pope held a “Summit for the Protection of Minors” and vulnerable adults in the Vatican, Feb. 21-24, 2019, where the presidents of the national bishops’ conferences gathered together to address this issue in the Church.

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