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Theodore McCarrick has moved from Kansas friary

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

Then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives in procession for a Mass of thanksgiving for Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Nov. 22, 2010. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018.

A spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad told CNA Jan. 7 that McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, just days ago.

He has moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry, senior Church officials told CNA.

The former cardinal made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, sources say, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

McCarrick moved to the friary shortly after he was accused in 2018 of sexually abusing minors, seminarians, and young priests.

McCarrick’s new location remains undisclosed. Sources told CNA that the former cardinal arranged his new accommodation for himself, adding that the residence to which he has moved is “rather secluded and away from public attention.”

“McCarrick remains a guest at his new accommodation, but he is funding his own stay and is there by his own choice – no one can make him stay if he does not wish to,” a Church official told CNA.

Sources familiar with McCarrick’s situation told CNA that both the Kansas friary and McCarrick had been concerned that a forthcoming report on the former cardinal’s career, due to be released by the Vatican in the near future, would bring disruptive media attention to the friary.

McCarrick apparently hopes the new “secluded” location will limit media attempts to contact him in the event of renewed interest in his case, a Church official told CNA.

“It is not a secret where he is, but it is private, and for the good of the community I don’t think there will be a public announcement of it at this point,” the official said.

“He left on his own accord,” Fr. Joseph Mary Elder, a spokesman for the Capuchin province, told CNA Jan. 7.

“It was his decision.”

Elder said he was not aware of where McCarrick had moved.

In June 2019 Elder told CNA that McCarrick, 89, “is in poor health and remains under a supervision plan.”

“At this point, the length of his stay is indeterminate, but he is looking for lodgings closer to his family. There is no timetable for when or if that might happen,” Elder said in June of McCarrick’s residence at the friary.

“Mr. McCarrick follows the everyday life and routine of a friar with the exception of public ministry; he lives in the same type of room as the friars, joins in the community prayers and the celebration of the Mass, and participates in community meals and interactions,” the priest added at that time.

In August, McCarrick told Slate magazine that “I’m not as bad as they paint me.”

“I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of,” McCarrick told Slate, in the only interview he has given since allegations regarding his sexual abuse of minors emerged in June 2018.

McCarrick was Archbishop of Washington from 2000 until 2006. He resigned from the College of Cardinals in July 2018, and took up residence in the friary that September.

In February 2019, he was found by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

McCarrick was laicized in February 2019, but remained in residence at the friary.

McCarrick told Slate in August 2019 that didn’t ever leave the friary while he resided there, even to enter the adjoining Basilica of St. Fidelis; a condition of his residence was that he remain on the grounds of the friary. He indicated that he spendt much of his time in the chapel and the library.

McCarrick discussed in particular the accusations that he had solicited James Grein during confession: “The thing about the confession, it’s a horrible thing. I was a priest for 60 years, and I would never have done anything like that … That was horrible, to take the holy sacrament and to make it a sinful thing.”

The former cleric told Slate that he thinks men who said he abused them while they were seminarians during weekend trips to his New Jersey beach house “were encouraged” to develop similar stories, attributing this encouragement to unnamed “enemies.”

“There were many who were in that situation who never had any problems like that,” he said.

This story has been updated since publication.


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29 Comments

  1. So he is staying at a Catholic institution? Why is a man who raped children being given the honor of staying at a Church institution?

    • It is a form of “voluntary” house arrest, which is the best that can be done until/if charges are brought to court that result in a criminal conviction. However, the latter remedy is up to the state. If he were not to consent to live in a friary or other church-run institution for priests then there would be no rules and no oversight in place to hold him accountable because he will be entirely on his own. Unlike a religious priest, McCarrick has resources of his own (like a private bank account) and need not strive to stay in the good graces of the order or institution if he is not living in one of their houses.

    • I would like to know who pays for his lodging and medical care. I hate to think my donations are supporting this laicized, predatory, lying monster.

  2. I spent an hour this afternoon adoring the Blessed Sacrament. I prayed that, if Theodore McCarrick is guilty of the charges, he will be given the grace needed to repent of his sins and that those who have been harmed by him will be given comfort.

    • God bless you Lesle for you deep faith. As a priest, I have big problem to pray for that monsters, liers and evel doolers.

      • But Fr. Peter, McCarrick is our enemy, an enemy of the Church, and we must pray for our enemies, as hard as it is, we must because Jesus asked us to. Just looking at his face makes me want to vomit, I choke when I mention his name, but we have to obey our Lord.

    • Leslie, your spirit and approach to the matter is both grace filled and refreshing. Thank you for your inspiring example.

  3. When anything is reported about McCarrick especially by CNS, I tend to dismiss it as shot through with spin and partial truths.

    I’m wondering why, if McCarrick is guilty of molesting children, he is not forced to register as a sex offender so that those families with children living near him know so as to ramp up their protection of their children.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler ,
      I imagine if he’s never been convicted in a court of law he has no obligation to register as a sex offender.
      It does seem odd that McCarrick has so many people claiming to have been molested by him on dates & locations that can be corroborated & so far he’s never been charged with a crime.
      Cardinal Pell had 2 accusers in a very unlikely scenario-one later recanted-no other witnesses, no corroborating evidence & he’s locked away in solitary.

    • Well, you could believe the Vatican who laicized him and stripped him of all titles and honours. Or you could believe Cardinal Dolan who formalized the complaint against McCarrick. etc.

      Moreover, he hasn’t been charged, found guilty and registered as a sec offender because of statute of limitations laws (which I think should be abolished).

    • He is not forced to register as a sex offender because he has not been charged or found guilty by civil law. Only if he is charged and found guilty would it be possible to force him register as a sex offender

      I wonder how many realize that we should pray for him in such a way that he may
      repent of his sins and be welcome into heaven

  4. “ McCarrick apparently hopes the new “secluded” location will limit media attempts to contact him in the event of renewed interest in his case, a Church official told CNA.”

    Which to my mind sounds like a good thing. Is there a point in hounding him or even interviewing him? Not sure I see a point. Better to talk w all the players who claim they had no idea, when the internet was abuzz back in 2005.

  5. It angers me to no end that proven guilty clergy get special treatment when they do things like this. If any lay person did this they would rightly lose their job and be required to fend for themselves. That is what should happen to McCarrick and clergy like him. He should be booted on to the street and not allowed to stay in cushy rectories and retreat houses. No more special treatment!

    As for “monitoring” that is for the police to do. These clergy should be reported right away so justice can take its course in due time before statute of limitation laws kick in thus allowing them to be declared the registered sex offenders and thus duly monitored. Maybe when they realize that their entire livelihood is in jeopardy they will think twice before preying on the very people they are supposed to defend and protect.

    Its the coddling and protection of rapists that makes me wonder if this institution is rotten to the core.

    • It is rotten to the core. Presently, the Catholic Church might be the most corrupt organization on Earth.
      How sad is that to say?
      But simply open your eyes. Listen to the constant doublespeak or silence from Catholic bishops.
      And as always…follow the money. My heart (and mind) are broken.

  6. “I do not believe I did the things that they accuse me of.” This is a classic non-denial, double-speak; the lukewarm that Jesus warns us of. A denial simply would say “I did not do it”.

  7. The Catholic Church needs to go back to the one commandment Jesus left us with; Do unto others as you would do unto you.

  8. The authorities need to find someone who would be willing to testify against McCarrick so that he can live where he belongs………in jail. Especially after his comments that he is not as bad as people think he is and that he did not do some of the things he is accused of. This man belongs in jail, not George Pell! The only way the Church is going to be able to return to respectability is to starting to take a HARD line on these people! If a priest is found with homosexuality tendencies, he does not belong in the priesthood. Same with Bishops and Cardinals. Offenders like McCarrick should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law! Now and without delay. Authorities must make a case against him and prosecute! The Church has taken a laxed attitude WAY TO LONG and must start to admit that homosexuality is the problem and start getting these poor souls out of the priesthood. But that’s not all! The Church should set up an international organization to help these poor people to find their true humanity. It’s homosexuality, stupid, that’s causing the problem. Let’s finally admit it and do something about it!

    • The authorities need to find someone who would be willing to testify against McCarrick so that he can live where he belongs………in jail.

      That person already exists, his name is James Grein.

  9. If the faithful were to do some of the things some of these priest were doing concerning our children we would be in prison, but most of the Clergy were never prosecuted! Some of the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church have a lot to answer for?

  10. More of the same old aiding and abetting this evil criminal activity within the Church. McCarrick should not continue to live off the faithful’s alms-giving –this is simply a continuation of the obscene indifference given the sexually abused victims. One more explanation why the church is losing so many faithful–who in fact continue to be faithful to Christ’s Church but not to the evil men who operate the parishes… I see more and more empty pews throughout.

  11. I can’t understand why certain, otherwise excellent publications such as Catholic World Report, and such sources as EWTN, continue to release flattering photos of Theodore McCarrick dressed in all his ecclesiastical Gard (including miter) whenever they have more news about him. It is deceiving for one thing, since he is no longer a bishop and is forbidden to act in the role of a priest, and, furthermore, it is just not necessary.

    • First, we don’t have many, if any, photos of McCarrick after he was defrocked. Secondly, we think our readers are capable of reading captions and knowing that McCarrick is no longer wearing such garb. Third, if anything, it emphasizes how far he has fallen. Fourth, it’s not deceptive at all and it certainly isn’t causing scandal. At least it shouldn’t. The cause of scandal is McCarrick, not news outlets posting photos of him to accompany articles about him.

      • Mr. Olson, As to your first objection, why is a photo of McCarrick even needed in the first place, since, I would also imagine that your “readers are capable” of knowing who he is without the necessity of a photo; Your “capable readers” may not be the the only ones reading your columns and may NOT know that McCarrick is no longer wearing clerical garb; as your third comment, if anything, only a photo of him in layman’s clothing (which I know you don’t have)would “emphasize how far he has fallen”….if it is a photo you are depending on to make that point; And, no, the photos and videos “shouldn’t” cause scandal, Sir, but that is something you don’t know. I happen to think it could cause scandal. Sorry if that scandalizes you. I find your response to my own earlier comments somewhat brash and rude…..coming from a magazine I had high regard for. I see you as someone sitting very high up looking down on your readers. Steve

        • “And, no, the photos and videos “shouldn’t” cause scandal, Sir, but that is something you don’t know. I happen to think it could cause scandal.”

          And, by the same logic, having news stories about McCarrick and his past could also cause scandal. So, should CWR and other outlets not report anything about him?

          It’s standard practice, of course, to have images of a particular person or place when that person or place is the focus of a news article. If that causes “scandal,” I’d politely suggest that those “scandalized” are not responding in a prudent, logical, or mature manner.

    • It’s not that hard to comprehend. Photos are used to be indicative of how far a prince of the Church has fallen and the lengths that an intrinsically disordered sexual deviant will go to live a lie. Perhaps someday we’ll have a photo of Ted McCarrick dumpster diving looking for aluminum cans or scraps of food and contrast that with his charade vested as a Cardinal. However, since it’s becoming more apparent that McCarrick had his hand in the cookie jar during his entire career masquerading as a Catholic Priest, it’s unlikely that that will ever happen.

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