Former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been defrocked by Pope Francis, after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults.
He is the most senior Catholic figure to dismissed from the priesthood in modern times, and will no longer be allowed to celebrate Mass or other sacraments.
Eighty-eight-year-old McCarrick had previously served as Archbishop of Washington and now lives in Kansas after losing his title of cardinal last year.
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The Vatican's press office said that, on January 11, the Holy See's doctrinal watchdog office, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, had found McCarrick guilty of "solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment - regarding sexual behaviour - with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power".
The officials "imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state".
In addition, McCarrick, when he was ordained a priest in 1958, took a vow of celibacy, in accordance with church rules on priests.
McCarrick appealed against the penalty, but the doctrinal officials earlier this week rejected his recourse, and he was notified on Friday, the Vatican announcement said.