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Pope Francis greets then Cardinal McCarrickJonathan Newton-Pool/Getty Images

ROME, January 17, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican sources told Reuters that the disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick is almost certain to be laicized following widely published allegations against him last summer that include the sexual abuse of a minor and adult seminarians.

The 88-year-old McCarrick, who now resides in a Carmelite monastery in Kansas, has responded to only one of the allegations, claiming he has “absolutely no recollection” of allegations that he sexually abused a 16-year-old boy more than 50 years ago. In 2018, Pope Francis ordered a “thorough study” of Vatican documents about allegations against McCarrick. In addition, the dioceses of Metuchen; New York; Newark; and Washington, D.C., where he served, have launched independent investigations.

According to Reuters, a Vatican source said a “canonical process” is examining the allegations and that no comment can be expected until it is completed. Pope Francis accepted McCarrick's resignation in July, ordering him to live in seclusion, prayer, and penitence, while refraining from public ministry. In June, church officials in the U.S. found that the allegations that McCarrick sexually abused a 16-year-old-boy were “credible and substantiated.” One of the sources cited by Reuters said McCarrick's laicization would be the most prominent in modern times.

On Monday, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – a former papal ambassador to the U.S. – released a letter calling on McCarrick to publicly repent of his “sins, crimes and sacrileges,” saying such a gesture would bring “healing to a gravely wounded and suffering Church.” Last fall, Viganò accused the pope himself of covering up for McCarrick. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, recently seconded Viganò's call for McCarrick's repentance.

Franciscan University of Steubenville professor Scott Hahn said recently that sexual predators among the clergy should be excommunicated rather than laicized. In January, he told listeners at the Napa Institute's Authentic Catholic Reform Conference in Washington, D.C. that the “hard medicine” of excommunication seeks the conversion of the person punished.