McCarrick - Change of Procedure Suggests Clear Evidence



Canon Lawyer Dr. Ed Condon offers some complicated but vital detail regarding the Vatican trial of disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick:
While recent media reports suggest that a trial of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick is underway, Vatican sources have told CNA that his case is not being handled by a full judicial process. Sources at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have confirmed that allegations against McCarrick are being considered through an abbreviated approach called an “administrative penal process.”
Ed explains that this is a much-abbreviated mechanism that leaves out many of the procedural stages of a full judicial process or trial, including the back-and-forth argumentation between prosecution and defense.

An administrative process is only used when the evidence collected during the preliminary investigation is so clear as to make a full trial unnecessary. The fact that this is the direction being taken in the McCarrick case strongly suggests that the Vatican has clear evidence the archbishop has committed a delict, an ecclesiastical crime, especially because his position as an archbishop and former cardinal guarantee considerable scrutiny of the result.

This is only possible because new evidence came out as a result of the publicity surrounding McCarrick's first public accusation, announced by the Archdiocese of New York in June, concerned abuse against an altar boy who was, at the time of the alleged abuse, 16 years old.

The key allegation comes from James Grein, who gave evidence before specially deputized archdiocesan officials in New York on Dec. 27. Grein testified that McCarrick, a family friend, sexually abused him over a period of years, beginning when he was 11 years old. He also alleged that McCarrick carried out some of the abuse during the sacrament of confession - itself a separate canonical crime that can lead to the penalty of laicization.

The CDF has also reportedly received evidence from an additional alleged victim of McCarrick - 13 at the time of the alleged abuse began - and from as many as 8 seminarian-victims in the New Jersey dioceses of Newark and Metuchen, in which McCarrick served as bishop.

Because of the collection of that evidence, McCarrick now faces multiple canonical charges of sexual misconduct and abuse concerning both minors and adults, including solicitation in the confessional. Use of the abbreviated administrative process, which is only employed in cases of compelling evidence, indicates that McCarrick is likely to be convicted on at least some of the charges.

As Ed notes:
Removing McCarrick from the newscycle - and possibly the clerical state - has been a major priority for both the pope and the American hierarchy.


If his case is resolved before the February summit, it could be seen a much-needed demonstration by Pope Francis that he is serious about punishing offending bishops.
Read the full report here.

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