The Vatican plans to try Archbishop Theodore McCarrick as early as this coming week , in order to make a final decision on his fate before next month’s Vatican summit on sex abuse, according to people familiar with the matter.
Vatican officials understand that Pope Francis wants them to act swiftly in the matter, to keep the U.S. archbishop’s fate from overshadowing the summit, scheduled for Feb. 21-24, these people say.
Archbishop McCarrick, who in July became the first man in nearly a century to lose the title of cardinal after a church investigation found credible an accusation that he had abused a teenager in the early 1970s, is charged with abusing at least three minors, as well as sexually harassing adult seminarians.
He has said he has no recollection of the incident from the 1970s and believes he is innocent. A lawyer for the archbishop declined to comment on whether he is contesting the charges.
The McCarrick case has dogged Pope Francis as he struggles to respond to the Catholic Church’s abuse crisis. In August a former Vatican envoy to the U.S. publicly accused the pope of having ignored the archbishop’s history of sexual misconduct with adults and making him a powerful adviser. The pope has declined to respond to the accusations.
Read more at the Wall Street Journal