Former cardinal named in sex abuse scandal moves from Kansas friary

Theodore Edgar McCarrick - retired American archbishop and former cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. (Photo Date: 1/24/2008, MGN Online/World Economic Forum/CC BY-SA 2.0)

VICTORIA, Kan. (KWCH/CNA) -- Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Theodore Edgar McCarrick, retired American prelate of the Catholic Church., Photo Date: January 24, 2008 / Cropped Photo: World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA 2.0 / (MGN)
CNA reports a spokesperson for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad said McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas last week.

CNA reports McCarrick, a former cardinal, was the subject of two legal settlements in 2005 and 2007. These settlements concerned men who said McCarrick sexually abused them while they were seminarians for the New Jersey dioceses he headed before moving to the Washington archdiocese in 2001, the agency reports.

According to CNA, senior church officials, McCarrick moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry. Sources tell the agency that he made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

“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.

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

Diocese of Salina Bishop Jerry Vincke said he allowed McCarrick to reside at the friary in Victoria after he received a call from Cardinal Donald Wuerl in Washington, D.C. During the call, the cardinal asked for Vincke's permission for McCarrick to relocate to the friary in Victoria to "live a life of prayer and penance."

CNA reports McCarrick's move from the friary has caused speculation that a report from the Vatican’s internal investigation will soon be released. They say it's release may not be imminent.

The Vatican's report is an internal investigation into McCarrick's career. He was Archbishop of Washington from 2000 until 2006.

"What Cardinal McCarrick... I should say, what former Cardinal McCarrick did was despicable," Kansas Catholic Conference Executive Director Chuck Weber says. "I think every Catholic, a parent, priests, and the pew are hurt."

Before the Vatican found McCarrick guilty of sexual abuse, he was considered one of the most respected Catholic officials in the country.

McCarrick has not faced criminal charges.

"And we hang our head in shame about not just what McCarrick did, but about the clergy abuse crisis," Weber says.

With 89-year-old McCarrick's move from the friary in Victoria, some wonder if victims of the alleged abuse will ever get justice. The Kansas Catholic Conference says it's time to hold McCarrick accountable.

"Former Cardinal McCarrick is a former cardinal, he's a former priest. There's no greater punishment for a priest than, 'you are no longer a priest,'" Weber says. "So, I know the church also has its doors wide open. If there are charges that can be brought against McCarrick today, bring it on. If he's guilty, let's lock him up and throw away the key. The victims deserve no less."

The Catholic Diocese of Salina Thursday provided a statement saying, "We are aware (McCarrick) left and don't have any other comments."