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Pope Francis has defrocked a former US Cardinal after he was found guilty of sexually abusing minors.
Theodore McCarrick, 88, who once led the Archdiocese of Washington and was a powerful figure in the Catholic Church in the U.S, was accused of sexually abusing three minors and harassing adult seminarians and priests.
Crimes - Sex - Confession - Crimes - Minors
The crimes he was found guilty of included soliciting for sex while hearing confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults.
An investigation last year detailed settlements paid to men who had complained of abuse when McCarrick was a bishop in New Jersey in the 1980s.
Church - Leaders - Accusations - New - York
It also revealed that some church leaders had long known of the accusations, The New York Times reported.
Defrocking means McCarrick, 88, who now lives in a friary in Kansas after he lost his title of cardinal last year, can no longer celebrate Mass or other sacraments, wear clerical vestments or be addressed by any religious title.
Judgement - Pope - Nature - Statement
The judgement was recognized by the Pope to be of a 'definitive nature,' a Vatican statement said.
The judgment is 'res iudicata' -- meaning it is no longer subject to appeal. McCarrick was informed of the decision on Friday.
Pontiff - McCarrick - Resignation - College - Cardinals
The Pontiff accepted McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals in July and he was suspended from all priestly duties.
He was first removed from ministry in June, after a church panel proved a claim that he had abused an altar boy almost 50 years ago.
McCarrick - Allegations - Recollection - Abuse
McCarrick had previously denied the allegations, saying he had 'absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse.'
He had appealed his penalty, but doctrinal officials earlier this week rejected it and he was notified of the decision on Friday, a Vatican announcement said on Saturday.
Allegations - McCarrick - Seminarians - Altar - Boy
The allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians and an altar boy decades ago raised serious questions among Church leaders and observers as to why...
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