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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archdiocese of Washington is erasing the coat of arms of Theodore McCarrick.
After the disgraced ex-cardinal was laicized last year, his coat of arms was covered and later removed from a display at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.
That display listed the archdiocese's former prelates. For a while after McCarrick's shield was removed, a gap remained in the display. Now, even that gap is gone.
The erasure of McCarrick's heraldry from St. Matthew's cathedral came specifically on orders from Abp. Wilton Gregory, the current head of the Washington archdiocese.
This came as a surprise to some Catholics, given Abp. Gregory's ties to McCarrick. Gregory said in 2018 after McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals, "I am hurt because my respect and fraternal esteem for Theodore McCarrick were clearly misplaced."
James Grein, a victim of McCarrick's sexual abuse, told Church Militant on Friday, "The removal of McCarrick's name and coat of arms is a great start for closure of a long life of great distress. For years this man thought himself untouchable and he could remove me if I ever got in his way."
"The missing years on the wall," Grein opined, "will forever be the reminder of how the world suffered from the wide wrath bestowed upon the Church from his powerful position."
He added, "McCarrick's name can be erased, someday God will ease my memory of all the pain he brought."
Paula Grant, secretary of communications for the archdiocese of Washington, told Catholic News Agency, "The decision to remove his coat of arms from the cathedral was made as part of our ongoing effort to help bring healing and peace to survivors of abuse."
She explained, "Archbishop Gregory made this decision upon his arrival to the archdiocese of Washington."
Catholic News Agency spoke to local Catholics. Some lauded the decision, while others felt the gesture hides McCarrick's misdeeds rather than condemning them.
Archbishop Gregory was installed as head of the Washington archdiocese in May last year after Cdl. Donald Wuerl resigned in disgrace.
Previously, Gregory was archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia. During his time there, Gregory had a long history of pro-gay initiatives.
In 2014, Abp. Gregory welcomed dissident pro-gay group Fortunate & Faithful Families into his archdiocese. About a year later, he hosted a retreat for the organization in his chancery.
Due to his extensive pro-gay history, Fortunate & Faithful Families put up a rainbow-colored ad in the Atlanta archdiocese's official newspaper earlier this year wishing Abp. Gregory well as he moved on to his new position in Washington.
The archbishop has been scrutinized for his close ties to McCarrick.
Gregory was also a protegé of the late Cdl. Joseph Bernardin, one of the most influential liberal voices in American Catholicism. In the past, Church Militant has shed light on allegations that Bernardin was a sexual predator.
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