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Cardinal Blase Cupich presents ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick with the 'Spirit of [Pope] Francis' award
James Risdon James Risdon

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‘Spirit of (Pope) Francis’ award given to Cardinal McCarrick by Cardinal Cupich scrubbed from site

James Risdon James Risdon

July 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s name has been wiped from the website of an organization that gave him the Spirit of Francis award two years ago.

But Catholic Extension, the Roman Catholic organization that sang McCarrick’s praises when it handed him that prestigious award at the exclusive Manhattan Club in New York in 2016, can’t wipe away video of the event from social media.

In a video on YouTube, the unfolding of that bizarre event is laid bare for anyone to see.

In it, Chicago’s Cardinal Blasé Cupich, a top-ranking member of the American Catholic church who has since lobbied for pro-abortion American Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL., is shown giving McCarrick, who has been the subject of homosexual sexual harassment and sexual assault for decades, the Spirit of Francis award.

At the awards ceremony, Chicago cardinal Cupich lauds McCarrick for his “own unique way of making a mark on the church.”

The award is given to people who are considered laudable for their commitment to reach out to the ‘margins of society’ a main theme of the Francis papacy. The award takes its name from Pope Francis as well as St. Francis of Assisi and the founder of Catholic Extension, Father Francis Clement Kelley.

The irony of an award given in an exclusive club to honor - at least in part - a Catholic saint who insisted on dying with absolutely no possessions, naked on the ground, is palpable.

Earlier this year, McCarrick was stripped of all his pastoral duties – even though he remains both a priest and a cardinal - in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse of both a minor and seminarians.

In a statement at the end of June this year, McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington, issued a statement in which, while still maintaining his innocence, he recognized the allegations of sexual abuse made against him by someone who was a teenager 50 years ago. Those allegations have been deemed be both credible and substantiated.

“In obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry,” McCarrick wrote in that statement. “I realize this painful development will shock my many friends, family members, and people I have been honored to serve in my 60 years as a priest.”

Not everyone was all that shocked.

After all, allegations about McCarrick sexual harassment and sexual abuse of seminarians go back decades and there have been payouts, only revealed now, which did not come with any admission of wrongdoing, to those making those claims.

Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk who has testified in many Catholic sexual abuse trials, wrote an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 about the sexual harassment and sexual abuse allegations then already know about McCarrick.

“While I was adjunct professor at a Pontifical Seminary, St. Mary’s Baltimore (1972-1984) a number of seminarians came to me with concerns about the behavior of Theodore E. McCarrick, then-bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey,” wrote Sipe.  

Those allegations date back more than 30 years before McCarrick was honoured with the Spirit of Francis Award.

“It has been widely known for several decades that bishop/archbishop now-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick took seminarians and young priests to a shore home in New Jersey, sites in New York, and other places and slept with some of them,” alleged Sipe. “He established a coterie of young seminarians and priests that he encouraged to call him ‘Uncle Ted.’ I have his correspondence where he referred to these men as being ‘cousins’ with each other.”

None of the allegations swirling about McCarrick two years ago were enough to prevent Catholic Extension from honouring him with the Spirit of Francis award and singing his praises.

Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, reportedly described the now-disgraced cardinal “a true hero of the U.S. Catholic Church, who continues to proclaim and live the Gospel and who shows all of us the way for a life of discipleship and mercy in the 21st century.”

Catholic New York, the country’s largest Catholic newspaper, wrote McCarrick was “known for his support of seminaries and Catholic education; for leadership development, particularly within the Latino Catholic community; and for his advocacy on behalf of new immigrants.”

The Spirit of Francis award has been given annually by Catholic Extension to provide funding to strengthen and support poor mission dioceses in the United States so they can become self sustaining.

Catholic Extension’s assets of $200.3 million rely on the generosity of Catholic donors from around the country.

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