Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl Following Sexual Abuse Scandals

14 October, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Christian

Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Washington DC archbishop Donald Wuerl, who has been blamed for not doing enough to deal with pedophile priests.

"Instead of portraying Cardinal Wuerl as a victim who made some mistakes, Pope Francis should be instructing Cardinal Wuerl to fully reveal Cardinal Wuerl's role in the coverup while bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for about 18 years and in the scandal involving former Cardinal (Theodore) McCarrick so that victims can try to heal", Garabedian said in a statement, referring to Wuerl's predecessor, who resigned earlier this year after allegations McCarrick sexually abused minors and adult seminarians over the course of decades.

In the report, Wuerl was accused of covering up sex abuse and misconduct during his tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh.

The grand jury report found that 1,000 people - a lot of them children - had been abused by 301 clergymen over the course of 70 years in six diocese in Pennsylvania.

"The grand jury report showed that Cardinal Wuerl oversaw and participated in the cover-up", the Pennsylvania attorney general, Josh Shapiro, said in an interview.

"The Holy Father's decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future", Wuerl said in a statement.

The 77-year-old cardinal submitted his resignation two years ago upon reaching the canonical age of retirement, but Pope Francis had not accepted it up to this point.

He added: "However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense".

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On a personal note, I convey my gratitude to Cardinal Wuerl for the fraternal support he has extended to me from the moment I was appointed bishop and throughout the years. Oullett charged that Viganò, an ally of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both more conservative than the current pontiff, was engaged in a "political plot" to harm Francis and "the communion of the Church". He gave an interview to a local television station, saying that the cases had occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, before the church had developed clear policies on clergy sexual abuse.

Cardinal Wuerl has been archbishop of Washington for the past 12 years.

Reacting to this claim, Cardinal Ouellet penned an open letter which was issued on this Sunday. But public backlash over the summer placed the Archdiocese of Washington under intense pressure all the same.

What did the pope's letter say?

The Vatican's highest court ordered Wuerl to restore Cipolla to priestly ministry, but Wuerl resisted and, after two years of legal procedures, prevailed in preventing Cipolla's return.

Wuerl's powers are limited to "caretaking" of the church until a new archbishop is named for the Archdiocese of Washington, the Rev. William Byrne, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac, Maryland, told WTOP.

"No bishop or cardinal in the nation has had a more consistent and courageous record than Donald Wuerl in addressing priestly sexual abuse", contended Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League.

Ultimately, the drama surrounding Wuerl's resignation is only partially about Wuerl himself - it's also about who's next.

"A number of dioceses across the world called to ask if they could use part or all of the plan", Timoney said.

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