The former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned in July over accusations he sexually abused minors and adult seminarians will reside at the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, it was announced today by the Salina Diocese.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will live a life of prayer and penance and will be excluded from any public appearances and ministry, according to a release from the diocese.
Victoria Elementary School is adjacent to the friary and the Basilica of St. Fidelis. Victoria USD 432 Stuperintendent Kent Michel told The Hays Daily News Friday afternoon he had not been notified of McCarrick's placement there prior to the announcement. He said he did not have any further comment at this time.
The website of the Capuchin Franciscans lists five priests and a brother as residents of the friary.
McCarrick, 88, was removed from ministry on June 20, after the church found accusations credible he sexually abused a teenager 50 years ago. Other reports of abuse surfaced soon after. The Vatican has said he will face a canonical trial but has not given a date.
“The Church needs to be open, honest and transparent,” Salina Diocese Bishop Gerald L. Vincke wrote in a statement titled “Why I Said ‘Yes’ ” included with the release today.
“I realize this decision will be offensive and hurtful to many people,” Vincke said.
The recently installed bishop said he was contacted on Sept. 13 by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., to ask permission for McCarrick to reside at the friary.
Vincke explains in the letter he believes in justice and mercy. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has given full support to an investigation of the charges by lay experts including law enforcement and social services, he wrote, but the timeline for that is unknown.
“I also believe in mercy. In saying ‘yes,’ I had to reconcile my own feelings of disappointment, anger and even resentment toward Archbishop McCarrick. I had to turn to Christ for guidance,” Vincke said.
He also offered an apology to victims of abuse.
“My heart aches for you and your families. I am unable to comprehend the extent of your suffering,” he wrote.
“Because of the courage and perseverance of the victims who came forward, they have become the source of much needed change in our Church and our culture. I pray that this may bring about greater purification and healing for our world,” he said.
Neither the release nor the bishop’s letter says when McCarrick will take residence at the friary. The Salina Diocese will not incur any costs for the arrangement.