He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York in 1958.
While a priest he earned a Ph.D. in sociology, and was an administrator and fundraiser at The Catholic University of America. He was president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico from 1965 to 1969. He was briefly an administrator in the Archdiocese of New York, and was priest-secretary to New York’s Cardinal Terence Cooke from 1971 to 1977.
In 1977, he became an auxiliary bishop of New York.
In 1981, he became Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey. He was the first bishop of the newly-erected Metuchen diocese.
In 1986, he became Archbishop of Newark.
In 2001, he became Archbishop of Washington, and was made a cardinal.
McCarrick retired as Archbishop of Washington in 2006, at age 75, the customary retirement age for bishops.
In June 2018, initial reports of sexual abuse on the part of McCarrick emerged.
In July 2018, he resigned from the College of Cardinals.
In February 2019, he was laicized, after he was found guilty in a canonical process of serial sexual abuse and misconduct.
What is the McCarrick Report?
In June 2018, the Archdiocese of New York reported that McCarrick, then a cardinal, was credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager.
The initial allegation said McCarrick had been accused of acts of abuse that happened nearly 50 years ago, when McCarrick was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. McCarrick was prohibited from public ministry at the time of the announcement.
McCarrick said at the time he had “absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse,” adding “[I] 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,” McCarrick added.
The New York archdiocese said it was the only such accusation against McCarrick it was aware of. The Archdiocese of Newark, where McCarrick had been an archbishop, said it had never received any report or accusation of sexual abuse of a minor against McCarrick.
The Diocese of Metuchen, where McCarrick had also been a bishop, said it had not received allegations of McCarrick sexually abusing minors, but added that the Metuchen diocese and the Newark archdiocese had received three allegations of “sexual misconduct with adults,” and two of those allegations had resulted in settlements.
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After the initial report, media reports emerged accusing McCarrick of the serial sexual abuse of minors, and of serial abuse, manipulation, and coercion of seminarians and priests.
It also emerged that Church officials had been informed of some concerns about McCarrick as early as 2000, and several times subsequent to that. There was no public response to the reports made about McCarrick over the years.
After an August 2018 statement from former apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Vigano, reports from CNA and other media outlets indicated that at various times McCarrick had faced informal restrictions in the Church, but had not been formally accused of canonical crimes.
McCarrick was permitted to live on seminary grounds and have seminarian assistants even after legal settlements were paid for claims against him, and reports indicate that some U.S. bishops were aware of some parts of the pattern of claims made against McCarrick, and of settlements for them.
Finally, reporting has shown that McCarrick maintained a large discretionary account while he was archbishop of both Newark and Washington, DC, with which he gave cash gifts to bishops and Vatican officials; financial records of those accounts have not been released.
In October 2018, Pope Francis announced a Vatican review of files and records related to McCarrick’s career, which was expected to focus on who might have enabled his conduct, ignored it, or covered it up. American dioceses sent boxes of material for that review.