Pope Francis on Saturday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, one of the US Catholic Church’s most prominent figures, who has been at the center of a widening sexual abuse scandal.
McCarrick, 88, the former archbishop of Washington, DC, is the first cardinal in living memory to lose his red hat and title. Other cardinals who have been disciplined in sexual abuse scandals kept their membership in the College of Cardinals and their honorific “your eminence.”
The allegations against McCarrick, which first surfaced publicly last month, came with Francis facing an image crisis on a second front, in Chile, where a growing abuse scandal has enveloped the Church.
A Vatican statement said the pope, acting only hours after McCarrick offered his resignation on Friday night, ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry. This means he remains a priest but will be allowed to say Mass only in private.