Disgraced former archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s coat of arms has been erased from the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.
The former cardinal was laicized in 2019 after being found guilty of numerous crimes, including the sexual abuse of minors and adults. McCarrick’s coat of arms had previously been displayed on the wall of the cathedral along with the other archbishops who have led the archdiocese.
Following his laicization, McCarrick’s shield, which also displayed his name and the years in which he served as Archbishop of Washington, was first covered and then removed from the wall, creating a gap in the display of coats of arms.
The display has now been altered so that there is no gap between the arms of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who led the archdiocese after McCarrick, and Cardinal James Hickey, who preceded him.
The new arrangement does not account for McCarrick’s years in Washington, with the six years between the tenures of Hickey and Wuerl unacknowledged.
Before his arrival in Washington, McCarrick served as the Archbishop of Newark from 1986 until 2000. A secretary for the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark was unable to confirm if the cathedral basilica had a display of former archbishops’ coats of arms, and, if so, if McCarrick’s coat of arms remained in place.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington told CNA that Archbishop Wilton Gregory had personally taken the decision to remove McCarrick’s coat of arms from St. Matthew’s Cathedral, rather than keep it covered or otherwise note his laicization.
“The decision to remove his coat of arms from the cathedral was made as part of our ongoing effort to help bring healing and peace to survivors of abuse,” said Paula Grant, secretary of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington.
“Archbishop Gregory made this decision upon his arrival to the Archdiocese of Washington,” said Grant.
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