After being laicized by the Vatican in 2019 for allegations of decades of sexual abuse, 91-year-old Theodore E. McCarrick, the now infamous former Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., has been criminally charged with abusing a teenage boy nearly fifty years ago in Massachusetts. He faces three counts of indecent assault and battery on a minor. He is the highest-ranking United States official in the Catholic Church to sink so low. God have mercy on him.
The McCarrick scandal is a cruel and potentially crippling confirmation of the outrageous infiltration of so many wolves in shepherd’s clothing, and it is a call to offer sincere prayer for the scouring of the priesthood through the prayers and example of one of the most powerful patron saints of priests: Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney. St. Vianney knew well the evils that prowl like lions seeking to devour the souls of men—laity and clergy alike—and he combatted them valiantly and victoriously despite their terror.
Considering present times and present terrors, the Curé of Ars stands out as a saint whose patronage is needed today—all over the whole world just as it was in his little village of Ars—to show the way to heaven, as all priests should. Indeed, Vianney’s priestly zeal in reaction to the anticlericalism following the Reign of Terror of 1790 is the very zeal we must beg from our priests in response to the anticlericalism of abusive clerics like McCarrick.