Banished in the dead of night to a mistrustful Kansas town after sexual abuse allegations, the defrocked archbishop of D.C. speaks publicly for the first time since his fall from grace.
On a cloudy Sunday morning in August, Father John Schmeidler delivered a brisk homily at St. Fidelis Catholic Church on the virtue of trusting that God always has a plan. There were at least 200 people listening in the pews, almost 20 percent of this rural prairie town’s population: large families, young couples, elderly people, men in jeans and cowboy boots. There’s not a single other church in town. Even if we just do our simple daily duties, Father John told them that Sunday, “our God brings great things.”
Last fall, God brought to Victoria an unexpected visitor: Theodore McCarrick, once the most powerful Catholic priest in America. From 2001–06, at the height of his career, McCarrick served as the archbishop of Washington, D.C. He stepped down at the standard bishop retirement age of 75 but remained a prolific fundraiser and jet-setting Vatican macher. And McCarrick wasn’t just influential—he was famous. He was the priest whom Meet the Press called to discuss the abuse crisis, and he participated in the funerals of William Rehnquist, Beau Biden, Ted Kennedy, and Tim Russert.
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