The Catholic University of America announced on July 30 that the university was withdrawing the 2006 honorary degree awarded to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, in light of the Archdiocese of New York’s recent conclusion that allegations that Archbishop McCarrick sexually abused a minor more than four decades ago were deemed to be “credible and substantiated.”
Also noting that Pope Francis had instructed Archbishop McCarrick to no longer exercise his priestly ministry in public, a statement from Catholic University noted that the Executive Committee of its Board of Trustees, after due deliberation, “voted unanimously to withdraw the honorary degree awarded to McCarrick.” The statement added, “This is the first time The Catholic University of America has rescinded an honorary degree.”
On July 28, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Cardinal McCarrick’s resignation as a member of the College of Cardinals and ordered him to maintain “a life of prayer and penance” until a canonical trial examines accusations that he sexually abused minors.
The Catholic University statement also said, “The entire Catholic University community acknowledges the tragedy of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy, and the deep and lasting pain and suffering of survivors. We offer our prayers and pastoral support for the survivors, that they and their families encounter healing and peace.”
Archbishop McCarrick between 1958 and 1965 earned master’s and doctorate degrees at Catholic University and served there as an assistant chaplain, dean of students and director of development. Later, he served several terms as a member of the CUA Board of Trustees and served as chancellor of the university when he was archbishop of Washington from 2001-06.
The statement from Catholic University encouraged any survivors of abuse to contact the Archdiocese of Washington and its Office of Child and Youth Protection, which offer resources and confidential support to any who have suffered from abuse and who seek help. The phone number for that office is 301-853-5328, and information online can be found at https://adw.org/about-us/policies-and-resources/child-protection.
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