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

12 October, 2018, 17:26 | Author: Myra Gill
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Cardinal Donald Wuerl is no longer the reigning archbishop of Washington, D.C. Pope Francis made it official today in a letter where he accepts Wuerl's resignation. Wuerl denies having been aware.

But they also make clear that his ordination as a bishop (of Metuchen, N.J.), appointment as archbishop - first of Newark, N.J., and then Washington - and his induction into the College of Cardinals all took place during the pontificate of St. John Paul II.

"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 Friday.

In a statement thanking the Pope, Wuerl said he apologized for "any past errors in judgment".

Six weeks after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano threw the papacy into turmoil over his claims about ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the head of the Vatican's bishops office said there was no evidence in his files backing Vigano's claims that Francis annulled any canonical sanctions against McCarrick. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense.

Addressing Archbishop Vigano as "dear brother", Cardinal Ouellet said, "I understand how bitterness and disappointments have marked your path in the service of the Holy See, but you can not conclude your priestly life this way, in an open and scandalous rebellion". However, as Pope Francis has said: "We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead" (Philadelphia, Sept. 27, 2015).

In August, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a grand jury report detailing sexual abuse. "I strongly doubt that McCarrick interested him as much as you would like us to believe, given the fact that he was an 82-year-old archbishop emeritus who had been without a post for seven years". And on Labor Day, at a gathering for priests and seminarians of the archdiocese, seminarians even refused to pose for a picture with him.


He accused Francis of knowing about sexual misconduct by a former USA cardinal with male adult seminarians but not doing anything about it. "Did you ever move priests quietly?"

The cardinal, 77, was under fire for his mixed record of dealing with abusive priests while he was a bishop in Pennsylvania for 18 years.

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. "My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington".

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest who writes for Religion News Service, described Wuerl as an ideological moderate.

And the resignation further exposes a rift within the Church between Francis and a conservative wing that has opposed his efforts to be more welcoming to divorced Catholics and homosexuals. But he said it would likely do little to deter others in the hierarchy from covering up for abusers.

Survivor advocate David Clohessy of the group SNAP said Wuerl's "long-overdue" resignation might give solace to victims. He joined the priesthood in 1966, was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1986, and served briefly as auxiliary bishop in Seattle before going to Pittsburgh.

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