A high-profile liberal U.S. cardinal has been removed from public ministry for credible and substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former priest of the Archdiocese of New York and cardinal emeritus of Washington D.C., “is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,” says a news release from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

“The review board found the allegations credible and substantiated,” Dolan’s statement said. 

“The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,” the cardinal said.

McCarrick is alleged to have sexually abused a minor five decades ago when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York, a statement from Metuchen, NJ, Bishop James Checchio said.

The Diocese of Metuchen, where McCarrick served as bishop from 1982 to 1986, said it had no record of McCarrick having abused minors, however, there had been multiple incidents with adults.

“In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults,” Checchio’s statement said. “This Diocese and the Archdiocese of Newark received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

Newark, NJ’s Cardinal Archbishop Joseph Tobin confirmed via a statement that the Archdiocese of Newark, where McCarrick had served for 15 years, had never received an accusation that Cardinal McCarrick abused a minor, acknowledging that there had been allegations of incidents with adults in the other dioceses.

McCarrick himself released a statement accepting the Vatican’s decision removing him from public ministry.

“While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people,” he said. 

In 2004 when McCarrick was Archbishop of Washington, DC and head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, the cardinal failed to reveal a letter to the Bishops from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, had sent the letter “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles” to instruct the bishops on the circumstances under which pro-abortion Catholic politicians and people who vote for them are to be denied communion.

Ratzinger’s letter was meant for use by the US Bishops as a guide during their deliberations on the matter during their spring 2004 general assembly. Instead, McCarrick played down the clarity from Rome on withholding Communion from pro-abortion politicians in his own statement to the bishops.

Ratzinger’s memo was released weeks later after it had been leaked to the media, confirming the disparity between McCarrick’s take and what the CDF had communicated.

Later in 2006, after the Bishops ultimately decided it was up to each individual bishop whether to enforce Canon 915 in their respective diocese, he would scold fellow bishops of “partisan politics” for pressing for its enforcement.

McCarrick released a statement in 2007 disagreeing with then Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis on the need to deny the sacrament to Catholic public figures that are pro-abortion.

In 2006 he told CNN he supported same-sex civil unionssaying later he had misspoken.

McCarrick had also played down the abortion issue in 2009 at the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s burial when speaking about the manifestly pro-abortion and pro-gay “marriage” senator’s political legacy. McCarrick read excerpts from a letter Kennedy wrote to Pope Benedict at the burial, in which Kennedy told the pope he’d always tried to be a faithful Catholic.

Full story at LifeSiteNews.