The University of Notre Dame announced that it will not rescind the honorary degree conferred upon Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, whose resignation from the College of Cardinals was accepted July 28 by Pope Francis.
“While the University finds the alleged actions reprehensible and has no reason to question the review board’s findings, it recognizes that McCarrick maintains his innocence and that a final decision in the case will come only after a canonical trial in Rome,” said Rev. John Jenkins, CSC, president of the university, in an Aug. 2 statement.
The university said that the only honorary degree it had ever rescinded was that of comedian Bill Cosby. Cosby was given an honorary degree in 1990. It was rescinded in April 2018, on the same day Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, charges filed amid allegations that the comedian was accused of numerous acts of sexual assault, rape, and other misconduct over several decades.
“As in the case of Bill Cosby, we will wait until that trial is concluded to take action regarding McCarrick’s honorary degree. We strongly urge those involved in this trial to reach a conclusion as expeditiously as possible,” the statement read.
McCarrick faces allegations that he has serially sexually abused two minors, and sexually assaulted numerous priests and seminarians. He is expected to face a canonical trial in at least one case of sexual abuse.
“While the allegations in this case are most grave, as they were in the case of Bill Cosby, we believe it respects not only the rights of those involved but also the adjudicatory process itself to allow that process to reach a conclusion before taking action.”
Catholic University of America and Fordham University of New York have both rescinded honorary degrees conferred upon McCarrick.