The “zero tolerance” policy was applied equally by the Vatican
History was made this month when Pope Francis accepted Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's resignation from College of Cardinals. The Vatican announced the resignation and its acceptance to the wider world on July 28. The event has many historical firsts: no U.S. cardinal before has renounced his position, and it is the first time any priest has exited the hallowed college after facing sexual abuse allegations. It was clear Pope Francis meant it when he said “zero tolerance” against anybody associated with the church facing abuse charges.
The list of charges against Cardinal McCarrick are multiple sexual abuse allegations, including one involving an 11-year-old boy. The Vatican ordered the American to conduct from now on a life filled with penance and prayer. The cardinal will stay in a home chosen by the pontiff. McCarrick will remain until the church holds a trial. The pope had accepted his resignation soon after McCarrick sent it. He ordered that the disgraced cardinal no longer holds any sway in any public ministry along with multiple other structures. The Vatican has effectively remanded McCarrick until an ecclesiastical court goes through his case.
The former cardinal was charged by now a grown man who alleged that McCarrick fondled him 40 years back, at the time he was a teenager in New York City. The man alleged that the priest continued to abuse him over the next 20 years. McCarrick has denied all such allegations.
McCarrick had a spectacular career inside the Catholic Church. He rose steadily in the U.S. branch, being promoted from New York City's auxiliary bishop to Metuchen, New Jersey's bishop. He then became Newark, New Jersey's archbishop. His last promotion was to become Washington D.C.'s archbishop.
Theodore McCarrick is the first cardinal to fully resign his position in 91 years. Now he’ll face a canonical trial. “I would not be surprised if he gets dismissed from the clerical state.” https://t.co/C5uFjNxqq8
— Chico Harlan (@chicoharlan) July 28, 2018
To be fair, McCarrick was not the sole Catholic priest against whom charges were leveled. There have been numerous instances when standard priests were convicted over pedophilia charges. Incidences of cardinals being dragged out of the muck are rare. Cardinal George Pell, one of the closest advisers to Pope Francis, was indicted in criminal fraud. The Australian lost his position in the Vatican church. The difference between McCarrick and the others is that the Vatican isolated McCarrick prior to the canonical trial. The Vatican still has its eagle eyes on U.S. bishops for some time now.