Archbishop of Washington DC Cardinal Donald Wuerl resigns amid cover-up scandal

12 October, 2018, 16:25 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta in Santiago Chile in June 2018

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

Pope Francis meets U.S. Catholic Church leaders Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Horacio Gomez, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and Monsignor Brian Bransfield, General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, during a private audience at the Vatican, September 13, 2018. A source familiar with the matter told the paper that Wuerl would serve on an interim basis until a replacement was chosen.

The Wall Street Journal's Francis X. Rocca and Ian Lovett report on Francis' remarks, in which he claims that Wuerl could have mounted a defense against the charges.

However, because they were only rumors and not proof, then-Pope Benedict XVI never imposed formal sanctions on the retired Washington prelate, which means Pope Francis never lifted them, Cardinal Ouellet wrote October 7 in an open letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican nuncio to the United States.

In what some are seeing as a slap in the face to those who wanted Wuerl gone, Pope Francis has kept him on as apostolic administrator in Washington, D.C. until a successor is named.

"On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States, I welcome the statement of October 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault".

In this way, you make clear the intent to put God's Project first, before any kind of personal project, including what could be considered as good for the Church. "Your renunciation is a sign of your availability and docility to the Spirit who continues to act in his Church". For those who read the grand jury report, however, it doesn't comport with the facts at hand.

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The report said he had allowed accused priests to be reassigned or reinstated. And on Labor Day, at a gathering for priests and seminarians of the archdiocese, seminarians even refused to pose for a picture with him.

Wuerl apologized for the damage inflicted on the victims but also defended his efforts to combat clergy sex abuse. The website was quickly taken down. CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste asked Wuerl in August.

The investigation found more than 1,000 children had been abused by members of six dioceses in the state over 70 years.

The letter was reportedly approved by the Holy See and came one day after the Vatican issued a release of its own saying Pope Francis had ordered a thorough probe be made into the McCarrick case.

On the abuse crisis, Wuerl also would have been as among the more aggressive American bishops in supporting and implementing a "zero tolerance" policy - ironically, a reputation that reached back to his time as the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

Cardinal Wuerl was recently criticised in a report on sexual abuse cases when he was bishop of Pittsburgh and admitted to lapses in judgement. "In times past, these things were covered up", both in the church and within families.

Archbishop Vigano implied that Francis still rehabilitated McCarrick from the "canonical sanctions" and made him a trusted counsellor.

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