Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has begun his life of prayer and penance at St. Fidelis Capuchin Friary in Victoria, Kansas, according to statements from the Diocese of Salina and the Archdiocese of Washington.

McCarrick was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by Pope Francis July 28, pending the completion of a canonical process against him, after he was credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. After the accusation became public, he then resigned from the College of Cardinals in July, becoming the first American cardinal ever to step down.

It also came to light that the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen had previously reached out-of-court settlements with several adult men who alleged they were sexually abused by McCarrick during their time as seminarians.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, Bishop Gerald L. Vincke of Salina, and Father Christopher Popravek, the provincial of the Capuchin Friary in Denver, made the arrangements to house McCarrick for his potentially indefinite stay.

While living in prayer and penance, McCarrick will be forbidden from any sort of public appearances or ministry. Bishop Vincke said that the diocese will not be incurring any costs for housing McCarrick, and that he requests privacy “out of consideration for the peace of the community” at the friary.

In a letter to the Diocese of Salina entitled “Why I said ‘Yes’,” Vincke explained that he received a phone call from Cardinal Wuerl Sept. 13 asking if McCarrick could be moved to St. Fidelis Capuchin Friary. At this point, Wuerl had already received the agreement of the Capuchin provincial superior.

“I realize this decision will be offensive and hurtful to many people,” said Vincke.

The decision to host McCarrick was neither taken lightly nor was it easy, Vincke said.

“I also believe in mercy. In saying ‘yes,’ I had to reconcile my own feelings of disappointment, anger and even resentment toward Archbishop McCarrick,” he explained.

“I had to turn to Christ for guidance. Jesus is rich in mercy. He did not come to give us permission to sin, he came to forgive our sins.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

Kansas school didn’t know Cardinal ousted over sex abuse would be living next door

Officials at a grade school in a rural Kansas town were stunned Friday to learn that a former Catholic cardinal — who stepped down in July over allegations that he sexually abused seminarians and minors — was now living next door.

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington is residing at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kan., within a block of Victoria Elementary School.

“I was never made aware of it until I found out through social media,” said Kent Michel, superintendent of USD 432 and also principal of Victoria Elementary.

When asked if the school had notified parents, Michel said, “I’ll be getting with my board. I really don’t have a comment on it right now.”

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