VICTORIA, Kan. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved to the diocese of Salina in Kansas.
Earlier this year, accusations came forward that McCarrick had committed homosexual predation on seminarians and underage boys. On June 20, it was announced that McCarrick's public faculties had been suspended after a credible allegation that he molested an underage boy decades ago. In the wake of the scandal, Pope Francis removed McCarrick from the College of Cardinals in July and assigned him to a life of prayer and penance.
In August, journalist George Neumayr broke the news that McCarrick was living in a 5,000-square-foot residence in Washington, D.C. worth $2.6 million. Neumayr tracked down the residence and confronted archdiocesan officials on the property, who gave him contradictory answers.
After that, the Washington archdiocese's Cdl. Donald Wuerl apparently made it a priority to move McCarrick out of town. In a Sept. 28 statement, the archdiocese announced, "Archbishop McCarrick now resides at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas in the Diocese of Salina."
Bishop Gerald Vincke of Salina described a Sept. 13 phone call with Cdl. Wuerl, saying that Wuerl conveyed a certain urgency about moving McCarrick: "After brief pleasantries, he got right to the point. He asked for my permission for Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to reside at the St. Fidelis Capuchin Friary in Victoria, Kansas, to live a life of prayer and penance."
Cardinal Wuerl had already gotten permission from the Capuchins' provincial superior, Fr. Christopher Popravak, before contacting the Salina diocese for permission. Bishop Vincke's statement attests, "Cardinal Wuerl already received permission for this arrangement from Fr. Christopher Popravek."
Bishop Vincke anticipated blowback to his decision. He said, "I realize this decision will be offensive and hurtful to many people. Archbishop McCarrick is, in many ways, at the forefront of the recent firestorm in the Church."
But Bp. Vincke made sure to clarify, "Please know that I agreed to this arrangement with the understanding that Archbishop McCarrick is excluded from any public appearances and ministry."
Saint Fidelis Friary is run by Capuchins, an order of Franciscan friars. The Kansas City Star reports that the friary is right next to Victoria Elementary School, and about five blocks from a high school. School officials say they were not informed that McCarrick was coming to town.
"I was never made aware of it until I found out through social media today," said principal of Victoria Elementary's principal Kent Michel.
Bishop Vincke confirmed that the school was not informed, telling the Kansas City Star, "I am not aware that the school was notified, but I need to double check with the friary."
Earlier this year, the shocking revelations about McCarrick's alleged homosexual predation set off a firestorm in the Catholic world. Then in August, former papal nuncio to the United States Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò released a bombshell testimony which stated that Pope Francis lifted sanctions that Pope Benedict XVI had imposed on McCarrick.