“The only honorary degree that the University of Notre Dame has rescinded was that of Bill Cosby, and this action was taken only after judicial proceedings in criminal court concluded with a guilty verdict. Recently, serious allegations of sexual abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a 2008 honorary degree recipient, were found “credible and substantiated” by a review board of the New York Archdiocese. Pope Francis subsequently asked for McCarrick’s resignation from the cardinalate, suspended him from public ministry and ordered him to live a life of prayer and penance until a canonical trial, at which McCarrick has a right to be heard, is concluded.
“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. 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.
“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.”