SBU, Siena Rescind Degrees Awarded to Cardinal McCarrick

HNP Communications In the Headlines

After its recent meeting of the board of trustees, St. Bonaventure University in Western New York announced that it was rescinding the honorary degree awarded to former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick seven years ago. This follows an announcement last month by Siena College outside Albany, N.Y., that it had revoked the degree it bestowed on the cardinal.

In an announcement July 28 from the Vatican, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, ordering him to a life of prayer and penance after credible allegations surfaced that the cardinal sexually abused minors and adults over the course of decades.

McCarrick, former archbishop emeritus of Washington where he served from 2001 until 2006, was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters at St. Bonaventure’s commencement ceremonies in May 2011. Siena awarded its honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology in May 2007.

“In voting to rescind the degree, St. Bonaventure’s trustees recognized that revocation of this honor does little to heal the deep and painful wounds McCarrick’s actions have caused, but we have an unwavering commitment to stand in solidarity with all survivors of sexual abuse,” Dennis R. DePerro, university president, said after the board’s fall campus meeting with university administrators on Sept. 7.

St. Bonaventure University’s bylaws require that only the full Board of Trustees can rescind an honorary degree.

The Executive Committee of the Siena College Board of Trustees voted Aug. 8 to rescind an honorary degree awarded to former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who had served as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. and bishop of Metuchen, N.J., effective immediately. It was the first time Siena had rescinded any degree. The vote was unanimous, and the campus community was informed via e-mail.

“We rescind the honorary degree as an act of compassion for and solidarity with those who have suffered, said Siena’s president, F. Edward Coughlin, OFM. “In voting to rescind, Siena’s board and the entire college community stand in support and belief with the survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. The tragic emotional and spiritual harm done to these children and adults may have occurred years or even decades ago, but it is profound and long-lasting, and in many cases may never be fully healed.”

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