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The unholy departure

The unholy departure

The manner in which senior Catholic priests have been getting involved in sex scandals has ceased to amuse. Plenty of the proverbial skeletons have been tumbling out of such priests' closets. The latest to make news for the wrong reasons is Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Pope Francis has accepted his resignation. The Cardinal once led the Archdiocese of Washington and was a force in American politics, after a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse of a teenage altar boy forced the Vatican to remove him from public ministry. The Vatican has said that the Pope accepted McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals and ordered him to "a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial." He also ordered McCarrick's suspension from public ministry and instructed him to "remain in a house yet to be indicated to him" until the trial. McCarrick, 88, was informed several months ago that the Archdiocese of New York, where he was ordained in 1958, was investigating an allegation of abuse from a teenager "from almost fifty years ago." The Archdiocese of New York said a review board had found the allegations to be "credible and substantiated."The accusation was also turned over to law enforcement in New York, according to the archdiocese. As a Cardinal, McCarrick was one of the highest-ranking American leaders in the Catholic Church to be removed from ministry because of sex abuse charges. McCarrick, who led the Archdiocese of Washington from 2001 to 2006,was known as a friendly and effective advocate for the Catholic Church's political priorities, particularly focusing on the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. As the leading Catholic in Washington, he worked with presidents and other powerful figures, earning a reputation as someone who could work with both parties. All cardinals belong to the College of Cardinals, an elite body of clerics personally appointed by the Pope. Those younger than 80 are charged with electing the pope; McCarrick already was too old in 2013 to vote in the conclave that selected Francis. It is both sad and unfortunate for a sacred sect such as the Catholics that some of its most senior priests should get involved in such scandals. To many, such Cardinals appear as, God's "emissaries." To the faithful, this is the worst kind of betrayal of trust. What really is a matter of concern that revelations of such despicable incidents have been on the rise. The Pope and the Vatican must address these concerns with utmost urgency and strictness. A strong precedent must be set to ensure such scandals do not recur. For decades the Vatican has been known some exceptional work it has done for people and causes the world over. Let nothing sully that reputation.

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