Disgraced former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood following allegations against him, including sexual abuse of minors, the Vatican said Saturday.

McCarrick, who in July became the first Roman Catholic prelate in nearly 100 years to lose the title of cardinal, has now become the highest profile church figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.

The defrocking was announced ahead of next week’s meeting at the Vatican between the heads of national Catholic churches to discuss the global sexual abuse crisis.

McCarrick had appealed the decision, but it was upheld and Pope Francis said no further appeal would be allowed.

The allegations against McCarrick date back decades when he was still rising to the top of the U.S. church hierarchy.

McCarrick, who became a power-broker as Archbishop of Washington, D.C., from 2001 to 2006, is living in seclusion in a remote friary in Kansas.

He has responded publicly to only one of the allegations, saying he has “absolutely no recollection” of an alleged case of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy more than 50 years ago.

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