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Cardinal Theodore McCarrick attends a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in 2005.Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images

ROME, July 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McMarrick from the College of Cardinals, and has ordered that he remain confined to a yet to be disclosed location until he faces canonical trial. 

A short statement issued this morning by the Vatican reads: 

Yesterday evening the Holy Father received the letter in which Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington (U.S.A.), presented his resignation as a member of the College of Cardinals. 

Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the cardinalate and has ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, together with the obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him, for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial. 

In June, McCarrick, 88, was found to be credibly accused of abusing a teenager nearly 50 years ago, and of additional allegations of sexual abuse and harassment over several decades. Victims include three adults who were young priests or seminarians when McCarrick reportedly abused them. 

Last week, a Virginia man, now in his 60s, filed a police report alleging that McCormick began sexually abusing him from the time he was 11 years old. The man said the serial abuse began when McCormick was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and continued for almost two decades, the New York Times reported. 

McCarrick is the highest ranking U.S. Catholic clergy member to ever be removed from ministry due to sexual abuse allegations.

The last cardinal to be stripped of his rights and duties as a cardinal was Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, the late emeritus archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, following allegations of sexual misconduct that came to light between 2013 and 2015.  However, unlike McCarrick, O’Brien he was permitted to retain the title of cardinal and faced no canonical trial. Cardinal O’Brien died in March of this year. 

Questions still remain as as to why the Vatican is only now taking action against 88-year-old McCarrick, when bishops say they knew he was abusing seminarians but stayed silent. McCarrick’s current whereabouts remain unknown.