Cardinal McCarrick says he will stay busy in retirement
Jun 14, 2006
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the outgoing spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Washington, said Monday that retirement won't bring an end to his active public life.
(Associated Press, Jun. 12, 2006) WASHINGTON - One of the most visible leaders in the U.S. Catholic Church is promising to continue speaking out on behalf of the poor, as well as issues such as immigration and family values.
McCarrick also said he will spend time traveling. He is scheduled to visit Rome at least three times between now and November, as well as Kazakhstan, Argentina, Canada, Montenegro and Moscow.
"I think I said yes to too many things," McCarrick said to reporters at a breakfast following Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington.
McCarrick will continue to serve on Vatican tribunals that deal with international justice and peace issues, refugee affairs, Christian unity and Latin America.
On Monday, he continued to speak out on behalf of the nation's immigrants, describing a bill approved by the House that calls for deportation of illegal workers as "unfortunate."
"You can't disrupt all those lives," McCarrick said.
Pope Benedict XVI accepted McCarrick's letter of resignation May 16 and appointed Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl as his successor.
McCarrick will celebrate his final Mass as head of the archdiocese Sunday at St. Matthew's. Wuerl will be installed at a ceremony at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on June 22 and celebrate his first Mass as archbishop at St. Matthew's three days later.
Over the past 25 years, McCarrick, 76, has run Catholic dioceses in New Jersey and the Washington, D.C., area. He served in Metuchen, N.J. from 1981-1985, before taking over the Archdiocese of Newark in 1986. He was installed as archbishop of Washington on Jan. 3, 2001.
As head of the Washington archdiocese, McCarrick has often met with members of Congress and other national leaders.
He has also visited the parishes where 560,000 Roman Catholics worship in the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties.
"I've really fallen in love with this crowd, and they've been my family," said McCarrick said, adding that he'll miss the crabs and oysters he often ate on visits to parishes near the Chesapeake Bay.
Wuerl, 65, is a native of Pittsburgh and has led the region's Catholic community of 800,000 for 18 years. During a farewell Mass at Pittsburgh's St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday, he referred to the Church as a thread that runs through the community's fabric.
"All of us who are faithful, believing members of the Church are also part of the wider political, economic, social and cultural community," Wuerl said.
Like McCarrick, Wuerl has been described as a moderate conservative within the Church.