Defrocked cardinal will remain in church housing temporarily: report

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who became the first cardinal or bishop from the U.S. to ever be defrocked in the history of the Catholic Church this week, will reportedly remain in church housing until he finds a permanent residence.

A Catholic Church spokeswoman who served under McCarrick when he was archbishop of Washington, D.C., told The Washington Post that McCarrick will remain in a secluded Kansas friary while he secures a private residence outside of the church, citing his advanced age as a reason.

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“There’s got to be basic sustenance. You can’t turn an almost-89-year-old out on the street,” Susan Gibbs told the newspaper.

“Technically, he could walk out the door right now. In the church, you make a promise of obedience. If you’re not a priest, you don’t have that anymore. But in his heart, he’s still there. He’s still a priest in his heart. That’s all I think he knows," she continued.

The Vatican released a statement finding the 88-year-old McCarrick guilty of “sins” with minors and adults, “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

McCarrick was removed last June from public ministry over claims that he sexually abused a teenager 50 years ago. He will likely not face charges for the accusations against him, which fall outside U.S. statutes of limitations.

One woman living in the small Kansas town where McCarrick is currently located told the Post that his presence nearby a local elementary school forced the friary's head priest to assure residences that McCarrick would not have contact with the community.

“It’s right a block from the elementary school. That had a lot of people worried,” the woman, Peggy Fitzpatrick, said of the friary where McCarrick is temporarily domiciled. “Father John had his sermon and he assured everybody. And I have total faith in Father John."

"He said there was no way [McCarrick] would have any contact with the public, and he hasn’t," she added.