In a statement from the Vatican this morning, it has been announced that the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals has been accepted in the wake of a rising tide of sexual abuse allegations. The full statement, as translated by Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, reads:
Yesterday evening the Holy Father received the letter in which Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington (U.S.A.), presented his resignation as a member of the College of Cardinals.
Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the cardinalate and has ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, together with the obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him, for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.
Pentin notes that the last cardinal to be “stripped of all cardinalatial rights and duties” was Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, now deceased, who was archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. O’Brien also faced sexual abuse allegations. He was allowed to retain his title of cardinal. Before the O’Brien case, writes Pentin, the most recent resignation from the College was that of Cardinal Louis Billot in 1927, who resigned “in protest at the Church’s condemnation of the far-Right anti-Semitic Action Française movement.”
No date appears to have been set for a canonical trial for the 88 year old cardinal at the center of the Church’s latest — but almost certainly not last — imbroglio over clerical sexual abuse.