FILE - In this April 23, 2002 file photo Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington, waves as he arrives at the Vatican in a limousine. On Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 the Vatican announced Pope Francis defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)

The Latest: Accountability group wonders what Francis knew

February 16, 2019 - 9:11 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on the defrocking of former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

An advocate for church accountability over sex abuse is demanding Pope Francis say what he knew about Theodore McCarrick, the disgraced former U.S. cardinal.

The Vatican said Saturday that Francis had approved McCarrick's defrocking for having solicited sex in the confessional and other church crimes.

Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability.org says while his defrocking is significant, "most abusive bishops have escaped" defrocking. She says Francis should use the power of his office to laicize those bishops immediately.

Francis should also say "what he knew and when" about McCarrick.

Doyle is in Rome for the pope's gathering of bishops about the crisis.

She says of the 101 accused bishops her group has tracked, McCarrick is only the seventh to be laicized. McCarrick was the first churchman who reached the rank of cardinal to be defrocked in the scandals.

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1:05 p.m.

One of the victims of defrocked ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick victims is expressing relief that Pope Francis believed his accusations of years-long sex abuse.

In a statement released by his lawyer Saturday, James Grein said he participated in the church trial of McCarrick "with profound sadness."

Grein, the son of a friend of McCarrick, says that while he can't regain his childhood, "today I am happy that the pope believed me." He accused McCarrick of sexually abusing him for some two decades from age 11, including during confession.

He adds he hopes that McCarrick will no longer be able to use the power of "Jesus' church to manipulate families and sexually abuse children."

Grein says "it's time for us to cleanse the church." He testified in December in New York before a Vatican-appointed investigator.

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9:10 a.m.

The Vatican says Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession.

The punishment announced on Saturday for the once-powerful prelate and Archbishop of Washington comes a few days before Pope Francis is to lead an extraordinary gathering of bishops from around the world over the sex abuse crisis which has eroded the faith of many Catholics and threatened his papacy.

Defrocking means McCarrick, 88, who now lives in a friary in Kansas after he lost his title of cardinal last year, won't be allowed to celebrate Mass or other sacraments.

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