At a national assembly focused on the sex-abuse crisis, numerous U.S. Roman Catholic bishops called for a formal repudiation of Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal facing allegations of sexual misconduct over a long stretch of his career.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, nearing the close of its three-day meeting, has been striving to show a commitment to combating clergy sex-abuse even though the Vatican ordered it to delay votes on two key anti-abuse proposals.
While the abuse scandal has affected many dioceses nationwide, the bishops appeared to be most angered and embarrassed by McCarrick, who allegedly abused and harassed youths and seminarians over many years as he rose to be archbishop of Washington and a member of the College of Cardinals until his removal by Pope Francis in July.
Several investigations, including one at the Vatican, are underway to determine who might have known about and covered up McCarrick’s alleged misconduct. The U.S. bishops expressed eagerness to learn details of the Vatican probe but defeated a motion pressing for access to information uncovered in that process.
We have taken no official action to distance ourselves form the shameful behavior of one of our own,” said Bishop Liam Cary, of Baker, Oregon. “What do people make of our silence?”
Bishop Michael Olson, of Fort Worth, Texas, noted with regret that McCarrick has not been defrocked and would have been eligible to participate in this week’s assembly.
“He is not welcome,” Olson said. “We should say that for his sake, and out of respect for those he has harmed.”