Over at The Conversation, Mathew Schmalz of the College of Holy Cross explains why the disgraced Catholic bishop Theodore McCarrick will continue to be a priest despite his recent defrocking. Here is a taste:
“Defrocking,” as the name suggests, means the removal of the vestments, or clothing, symbolic of being a priest. This process is more formally referred to as “dismissal from the clerical state,” or “laicization.”
In 2014, the Vatican reported that 848 priests had been “defrocked” in the preceding decade for the rape and molestation of children. McCarrick is the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church to be punished in this way in modern times.
Many people might think that in being defrocked McCarrick would no longer remain a priest. That is not so. Catholics don’t understand the priesthood as simply a job that someone can be fired from.
Read the rest here.