Pope Accept Resignation Of Cardinal Wuerl Over Abuse Cover-up

Geneva Stokes
October 15, 2018

He added, "Once again, for any past errors in judgment, I apologize and ask for pardon".

Wuerl was initially considered to be at the forefront of dealing with the clerical sexual abuse scandal when, as bishop of Pittsburgh, he refused a Vatican order to return a credibly accused priest to ministry.

The Vatican announced the resignation with only a short notice in its bulletin.

In a letter released by Wuerl's office, the Pope reluctantly accepted the cardinal's resignation, noting that he was a longtime ally to the pope and suggesting that Wuerl became a scapegoat amid sexual abuse allegations. But Francis kept him on, as popes tend to do with able-bodied bishops who share their pastoral priorities.

"However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defence".

Responding to Viganò's charge that the cover-up was due to a cabal of gay people and gay sympathizers in the Vatican, Ouellet wrote that despite the fact that there are some who engage in behavior "contrary to the values of the gospel", that does not justify declaring a whole group of people, including the current pope, "unworthy and complicit".

FILE PHOTO: Cardinal Donald William Wuerl from US waves as he arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican March 7, 2013.

Last month, Wuerl announced his upcoming retirement, saying he meant to travel to Rome to discuss with Pope Francis his departure from the Washington Archdiocese.

Wuerl offered his resignation to Pope Francis weeks ago after he became subject to scrutiny for his handling of child sexual abuse while leading the Pittsburgh Diocese.

The 77-year-old embattled traveled to Rome in September to ask Pope Francis to accept the resignation letter that he submitted nearly three years ago upon reaching the customary retirement age of 75.

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

Shapiro spoke at a news conference after urging the state Senate to pass legislation allowing sex-abuse victims to sue in old cases they now can't pursue because of the statute of limitations. And I can't speak to Cardinal Wuerl's particular level of culpability. "But I think they're in for a wild ride". The report mentioned Wuerl's name more than 200 times.

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.

Zirwas was put on a leave of absence in 1995 and subsequently moved to Cuba, where he was murdered in 2001. The letter said Wuerl made some "mistakes" in dealing with sex abuse cases.

On Friday, the Archdiocese of Washington's chancellor and general counsel, Kim Viti Fiorentino, described Wuerl's "courageous and sacrificial commitment" to the church in Washington and pushed back at the Pennsylvania grand jury report's findings.

The fact that Wuerl stepped down so long after the grand jury report has prompted lifelong Catholics like Winnie Obike to start a petition that garnered more than 80,000 petitions calling for his removal. "We can't rely on the church to fix itself". In this capacity, Wuerl attended the 1978 conclave that elected Pope St. John Paul II as an aide to the ailing Cardinal Wright. The report led to protests demanding his resignation. A Catholic publisher "indefinitely" postponed the release of his new book, which carried the somewhat untimely title What Do You Want to Know?

Francis finally accepted his resignation on Friday in a letter in which he praised Wuerl's "nobility" and said the cardinal would stay on until his successor is appointed.

Wuerl insisted he was unaware of McCarrick's settlements, but his detractors questioned whether that was believable. Called "The Wuerl Record", it was removed after criticism.

It is my hope and prayer that Our Lord Jesus will bless Cardinal Wuerl and all those in the Archdiocese of Washington with grace, peace and strength today and always.

But critics say Francis has been more talk than action.

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