Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Pope Francis Accepts D.C. Cardinal Wuerl’s Resignation

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has resigned Cardinal Donald Wuerl has resigned
Leonard Rios | 15 October, 2018, 06:31

Wuerl wrote in a letter that he asked priests to share at Mass this weekend that "I am sorry for all of you, faithful members of the church, who have had to face the shame of these scandals and witness doubt and perplexity among your family and friends".

Why did Cardinal Wuerl resign?

The cardinal's September 21 request that the pontiff accept his resignation reflected his dedication to "procure the good of the people entrusted to your care", Francis wrote. DiNardo apologized for any failures 16 years ago, admitting that allowing the priest to continue volunteer duties at a church after forced retirement was a "mistake that we regret".

Despite a personal formality that sometimes struck observers as aloofness, McGuire said she found Cardinal Wuerl to be self-effacing, humble, approachable and genuinely interested in people. But cardinals are often allowed to serve until they are 80. "But I think they're in for a wild ride". And that's why I chose to implore the cardinal to, for the good of the church, relinquish his position as archbishop. The report released last month documented abuse by 300 priests over the course of 70 years. In fact, at first Wuerl defended himself against some of the allegations in the August report that he reassigned priests who abused children to shield them from accountability, and many others noted that he had, while in Pittsburgh, pushed the Vatican to take a tougher stance on child sex abuse.

Zirwas was put on a leave of absence in 1995 and subsequently moved to Cuba, where he was murdered in 2001.

Wuerl, 77, who was bishop of Pittsburgh between 1988 and 2006, was blamed for not doing enough to deal with paedophile priests, and instead covering up the scandal in the state of Pennsylvania.

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The Archdiocese of Washington denied Vigano's allegations, saying, "Cardinal Wuerl has categorically denied that any of this information was communicated to him".

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who oversaw the grand jury investigation, vigorously disputed Wuerl's claim in an interview with NPR's Audie Cornish. 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 covered six diocese in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh when it was led by Wuerl.

Wuerl was born in Pittsburgh, attended Catholic University and received a doctorate in theology from the University of Saint Thomas in Rome.

Wuerl also faced accusations from a former papal diplomat that he knew about accusations that his predecessor in Washington, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, had sexually abused seminarians. Other bishops, also facing tough questions, could now find themselves beset by calls to follow Wuerl's example and step down. And the cardinal will stay on as the "Apostolic Administrator" of Washington in the short term until a new archbishop is chosen. A confidant of Pope Francis, he was seen as one of the more liberal USA bishops and a strong advocate for social justice and tolerance.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to more than 655,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 93 Catholic schools, located in the District of Columbia and in the five surrounding Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's and St. Mary's. "That's not because he's particularly culpable in any way", she said. "So whoever is pope, he's going look at that person and say, 'How is the Spirit speaking to us through the Vicar of Christ?'" In Washington, he succeeded Cardinal McCarrick.

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