WASHINGTON D.C. -- A retired cardinal in the Catholic church has been barred from public ministry by the Vatican because of allegations of abuse that date back nearly 50 years.
Theordore McCarrick, 87, said a sexual abuse report was launched by the Archdiocese of New York, where he served as a priest beginning in 1958. The organization hired private investigators after receiving a tip through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), which was established in 2016, as part of its ongoing effort renew its contrition to those who suffered sexual abuse as a minor by a priest or deacon of the archdiocese, and bring a sense of healing, resolution, and compensation to victim-survivors according to the group's website.
McCarrick has denied the allegations-- saying he doesn't recall the incident.
"While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency, and given to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York," said McCarrick in a statement on the Archdiocese of Washington website. "I fully cooperated in the process."
It continues, "My sadness was deepened when I was informed that the allegations had been determined credible and substantiated.
In obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry.
I realize this painful development will shock my many friends, family members, and people I have been honored to serve in my sixty-years as a priest.
While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people."
McCarrick did not mention appealing the decision in his statement but it has since been reported that an appeal will be made on his behalf.
The Archdiocese of Washington also responded to the news with the following statement:
Sometime ago, an allegation that falls under the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was made against Cardinal McCarrick when he served as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York.
The Holy See, which has exclusive authority in the oversight of a cardinal, delegated Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York to investigate the allegation, engaging the review board of the Archdiocese of New York.
In the end the review board found the allegations credible and substantiated.
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is to refrain from any public ministry or activity until a definite decision is made.
Cardinal McCarrick, while maintaining his innocence, has accepted the decision.
While saddened and shocked, this archdiocese awaits the final outcome of the canonical process and in the meantime asks for prayers for all involved.
At the same time, we renew our commitment to care for the victims who have suffered abuse, to prevent abuse before it occurs, and to identify and report child abuse once it has happened.
McCarrick once served as a Dean at Catholic University and for five years oversaw the Archdiocese of Washington.