A former archbishop of Washington who was suspended from ministry after being credibly accused of molesting a teenager has now been relocated… next door to an elementary school.
Pope Francis suspended Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick after an internal investigation found credible allegations that he abused a minor about 45 years ago, when he was a priest. McCarrick, who became the Vatican’s most senior American to be removed for sexually abusing kids, was hit with four more allegations after his suspension.
Just yesterday the Archdiocese of Washington announced that McCarrick had been relocated:
In late July 2018, our Holy Father Pope Francis requested that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick withdraw from all public ministry and events. To that end, Archbishop McCarrick now resides at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas in the Diocese of Salina, with the permission of the Provincial Superior of the Franciscan Capuchin Community responsible for the Friary, Fr. Christopher Popravak, O.F.M.Cap., and the Bishop of Salina, Most Reverend Gerald Vincke.
Out of consideration for the peace of the community at St. Fidelis Friary, respect for the privacy of this arrangement is requested.
Rev. Vincke also penned his own letter called “Why I said Yes” in which he explained why he agreed to let McCarrick reside at the facility “to live a life of prayer and penance.”
I realize this decision will be offensive and hurtful to many people. Archbishop McCarrick is, in many ways, at the forefront of the recent firestorm in the Church. Many of us are confused and angry by what Archbishop McCarrick is alleged to have done several decades ago…
I had to reconcile my own feelings of disappointment, anger and even resentment toward Archbishop McCarrick. I had to turn to Christ for guidance. Jesus is rich in mercy. He did not come to give us permission to sin, he came to forgive our sins. We know that Christ has compassion and mercy for all who repent of their sins. The cross is a place of love and mercy. It is not a place of retribution. If our actions do not have mercy, then how can it be of the Church?
Neither the Archdiocese of Washington nor Vincke mentioned what people online noticed rather immediately. If you search for the abuser-priest’s new residence, it’s located right next door to an elementary school.
That didn’t set well with people for understandable reasons.
No. Wait. Seriously? This is not a mistake? I mean wrong map or something? Surely, no one could be that clueless as to put Uncle Ted next to a grade school. There must be something missing. Maybe, I dunno, the building next door is no longer a school? People with knowledge, help! https://t.co/LRPGzr89YY
— Edward Peters (@canonlaw) September 28, 2018
— Eric Wilson (@ericwilson) September 28, 2018
They could have stashed this priest anywhere. They placed him right next door to where children roam.
We know safety has never been a real priority for the Church, but they can’t seem to handle optics, either.
Incidentally, no one ever told school administrators about this. They found out online, just like the rest of us.
“This is an irresponsible move,” said David Clohessy, former director of the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “It boggles the mind that church officials are this reckless. No cleric who’s been accused of abuse, certainly not one facing multiple allegations, should be anywhere around kids, especially not an elementary school.”
Clohessy said friary staff members aren’t trained to deal with alleged sexual abusers.
“For the safety of kids, he should be at a secure, independently run treatment center,” he said. “Catholic officials have a miserable track record of trying to oversee proven, admitted and credibly accused abusive colleagues.”
As of this writing, there are no plans to relocate the 88-year-old McCarrick.