Disgraced Ex-cardinal Living Near Elementary School

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Roman Catholic Church officials confirmed on Friday, September 28, 2018, that disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick — who was removed from ministry amid allegations of sexual abuse — has moved near an elementary school in western Kansas. McCarrick, who was removed from ministry by Pope Francis as a result of allegations made against him, is now living in a friary which is placed in a remote part of western Kansas just one block away from an elementary school. St. Fidelis Friary is stationed in Victoria, a rural town that lies more than 250 miles (402 kilometers) west of Kansas City. Victoria is a home town to about 1,200 people, and it has its own elementary school, Victoria Elementary School, whose officials were caught by surprise with the news of McCarrick's residence.

According to Fox News, Victoria Elementary Principal Kent Michel said on Friday: "I was never made aware of it until I found out through social media." Bishop Gerald Vincke of the Diocese of Salina, Kansas, who agreed to McCarrick's new living arrangement, told the Star he was not aware of anyone with the church notifying the school of McCarrick's residence in the friary. "Regarding the school, Archbishop McCarrick is not allowed to make any public appearances or visit the school or do any ministry," Vincke told the newspaper in an email. "He is confined to the friary to do penance and prayer. The friary is in the small town in Victoria. The friary is enclosed."

Theodore McCarrick was the Archbishop of Washington from 2000 to 2006, and previously one of the highest and most visible Catholic Church officials in the United States. Allegations against McCarrick that he sexually abused a teenager while being a priest in New York more than 40 years ago were found to be credible by the church, and he was removed from public ministry by Pope Francis. At the time of his removal, the New Jersey archdioceses of Newark and Metuchen revealed that they received three complaints from adults alleging misconduct and harassment by McCarrick, and they settled two of them.

With history like this it was expected that McCarrick's residence would provoke some reactions. The St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called the move irresponsible. "It boggles the mind that church officials are this reckless," said David Closhessy, the former director of the advocacy group, as Fox News reports. "No cleric who's been accused of abuse, certainly not one facing multiple allegations, should be anywhere around kids, especially not an elementary school."

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