DiNardo: Action on McCarrick 'clear signal' church will not tolerate abuse

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On Saturday, the Vatican announced that a former USA cardinal accused of sexual misconduct with altar boys and seminarians, Theodore McCarrick, had been expelled from priesthood, an unprecedented punishment for such a high-ranking church figure.

Prosecutors in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania past year found 300 priests were involved in child sexual abuse since the 1940s, crimes that were covered up by a string of bishops.

One of his accusers, James Grein, the son of a family friend of McCarrick's, testified to church officials that, among other abuses, McCarrick had repeatedly groped him during confession. I am grateful to Pope Francis for the determined way he has led the Church's response'.

Pope Francis in October authorized further study of archived office documents on McCarrick after a preliminary probe found allegations against him to be "credible and substantiated". Francis yanked McCarrick's rank as a cardinal in July after a USA church investigation found credible an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s.

She said the Pope had promised that that any cleric who abuses should be removed, but this has not happened in all cases.

The unprecedented summit was called by Pope Francis in September to tackle the escalating problem - but the five-month wait for the meeting to begin attracted criticism from survivors of sexual abuse, who slammed the "glacial pace" at which the church has moved to address the crisis.

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Today it was announced in Rome that at the conclusion of a penal process the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith imposed on former Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick the penalty of his dismissal from the clerical state, thus prohibiting him any type of priestly ministry.

The church has always been criticized for protecting predatory priests from the law - but the bishops' statement appeared to signal a shift.

The church has been roiled in a sex abuse crisis as several Catholic figures have been accused of either sexual misconduct or of mishandling the abuse cases.

"For years I have suffered, as many others have, at the hands of Theodore McCarrick", he said in the statement.

McCarrick appealed the decision, which was made secretly in the first instance on January 11, but it was upheld earlier this week and the pope has ruled that no further appeal would be allowed.

He was the Archbishop of Washington DC between 2001 and 2006.

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Clerical abuse survivor and former adviser to Pope Francis, Marie Collins, has said the defrocking of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick is "a step in the right direction", but very late considering his behaviour had been known about for many years.

The scandal swirling around McCarrick was particularly damning to the church's reputation because it apparently was an open secret in some church circles that he slept with adult seminarians.

Francis hasn't responded to those claims but he ordered a limited Vatican investigation.

August 26 - Asked during an in-flight interview about Archbishop Viganò's letter, Pope Francis says he "will not say a single word" on the subject and instructs journalists to use their "journalistic capacity to draw your own conclusions".

On Saturday the Vatican sent what some saw as a warning that it would get tough with bishops who have either committed abuse or covered it up.

Cupich recently spoke to WGN's Dina Bair about the critical issue, which has haunted the catholic church for decades. Maciel's sex crimes against children were ignored for decades by a Vatican bureaucracy impressed by his ability to bring in donations and vocations.

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