Georgetown University in Washington is the latest institution to announce it is rescinding an honorary degree it gave to former US Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick in 2004.
The announcement comes days after the Vatican said it had found the former prelate guilty of abuses against minors and adults, stripping him of his clerical status.
In a letter addressing the Georgetown community, John J. DeGioia, the institution’s president, said it is the first time an honorary degree given by the Jesuit-run university has been revoked.
‘After troubling allegations about his conduct became public in the summer of 2018, I shared a message with our community, reflecting on the responsibilities of our university in this moment and our role, as a Catholic and Jesuit institution, in promoting ‘a culture of safeguarding vulnerable people’,’ DeGioia writes in the letter, explaining the decision taken in conjunction with the school’s board of directors.
Last summer, abuse accusations against the retired cardinal surfaced in US newspapers from accusers who said he had exposed himself and sexually molested at least two boys in his early years as a priest – accusations that spanned almost five decades and were too old to legally prosecute.
McCarrick, 88, denied the accusations but stepped down from the College of Cardinals in June. Other accusations that he had abused young seminarians at a beach house in New Jersey later surfaced. The Archdiocese of New York, where some of the early incidents allegedly took place, said it had found that the accusations against the prelate were “credible.”
Picture: Then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives in procession for a Mass of thanksgiving for Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 22nd November 2010. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).