The Catholic University of America has announced that it is withdrawing the 2006 honorary degree awarded to then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, in light of recent sexual abuse allegations.
This is the first time the university has rescinded an honorary degree.
On 5th July, the board of trustees at Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York similarly rescinded an honorary degree the university has given to the retired archbishop of Washington.
A message posted on the school’s website from university’s president, Fr Joseph McShane, said the action was to ‘acknowledge the extraordinary and long-lasting harm done to children who were sexually abused by clergy members. While we can never fully repair the sins of the past, we must respect the experience of abuse survivors, and accord them all the love and compassion of which we are capable’.
The Catholic University statement likewise said it ‘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’.
Picture: Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, delivers the homily in 2009 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec).