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Former Cardinal McCarrick found non competent to stand trial


Andrzej Iwanczuk/REPORTER

I.Media - published on 08/31/23

A Massachusetts court found that the former cardinal, accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 1974, suffers from incapacitating dementia.

A Massachusetts court dropped criminal proceedings against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on August 30, 2023. The judge found the 93-year-old former archbishop of Washington not competent to stand trial due to dementia.

The accusations

Theodore McCarrick was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in 1974 when he was a priest in the Diocese of New York. Paul VI appointed him auxiliary bishop of that same diocese three years later. He was indicted in 2021.

The former cardinal, who pleaded not guilty, suffers from dementia — probably due to Alzheimer’s disease, according to AP.

In 2019, Pope Francis laicized Theodore McCarrick. Two years earlier, the Holy See had been informed that the then-cardinal had been accused by a man of abusing him as a teenager in the 1970s. Further accusations of abuse later emerged against the man who had been appointed archbishop of Washington in 2000. 

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave the following reasons for its decision: The accused was found “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.”

Vatican investigation

Following the immense scandal generated by the revelation of these matters, Pope Francis commissioned an investigation to shed light on how McCarrick had been able to rise through the ranks in the Catholic Church without impediments, despite the reports of purported abuse. 

The report, published in 2020, revealed that John Paul II had indeed been officially informed of serious suspicions against McCarrick by a letter from Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, in 1999.

In the end, however, the Polish Pontiff did not find the rumors compelling, choosing to appoint McCarrick a year later in Washington, before creating him a cardinal in 2001.

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