Days before the Vatican begins its first ever global summit on priest abuse, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been defrocked.
The head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Cardinal Joseph DiNardo said this is "a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated. No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the Church."
The Saturday Vatican announcement of McCarrick's laicization came after a 10-month investigation following allegations revealed the former Washington D.C. Cardinal faced credible allegations of abuse.
More allegations surfaced over the summer. Those allegations, along with a separate scathing grand jury report from Pennsylvania on priest abuse, led Pope Francis to call for next week's meeting in Rome to address the protection of minors worldwide.
Illinois' attorney general conducted a separate investigation with a preliminary report indicating 500 more sex allegations "have not adequately investigated."
While removing McCarrick -- with the Pope blocking the possibility of appeal -- is viewed as a significant step, questions remain unanswered: How was McCarrick promoted over the years despite the allegations, ho knew what when, and will other church leaders be held accountable?