Sept. 5, 2019
By Marc A. Thiessen
Disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick was defrocked in February and ordered by Pope Francis to live a “life of prayer and penance.” It seems the message did not get through. McCarrick, it turns out, is unrepentant.
Slate reporter Ruth Graham recently visited the Capuchin friary in Victoria, Kansas, where McCarrick is living in solitude. The former prince of the church gave her a short, but shocking, interview. Asked about the accusations that he had sexually assaulted minors and seminarians under his authority, McCarrick denied the charges. “I’m not as bad as they paint me,” he said. “I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of.”
Believe? An innocent man would never say “I do not believe I did it.” Asked if he was leaving open the possibility that he did in fact do the horrible things of which he has been accused, McCarrick said, “No.” Everyone is lying. He is an innocent man.
McCarrick specifically denied the accusation that finally turned Pope Francis against him – that he had molested a young boy during the sacrament of confession. Never mind that McCarrick was expelled from the priesthood after a canonical trial found him guilty of “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.” Never mind that he appealed that decision and lost. “The thing about the confession, it’s a horrible thing,” he said. “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.”
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