Pope Francis accepted the resignation of embattled D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl Friday months after allegations of sexual abuse cover-up against him surfaced in a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. The allegations date back to when he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. Wuerl was named 170 times in the report and many of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Washington have been clamoring for his resignation.
The pope downplayed the allegations against Wuerl in his letter. He praised the cardinal’s “nobility” and asked him to remain as an Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese until his successor is named.
“You have sufficient elements to ‘justify’ your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes,” the pope claimed. “However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you.”
The pope’s claim is odd given that Wuerl did vigorously defend himself in this manner, initially denying wrongdoing in his handling of the cases in an August letter to priests arguing that “a just assessment of my actions, past and present, and my continuing commitment to the protection of children will dispel any notions otherwise made by this report.” . . .
The Archdiocese of Washington also attempted to defend Cardinal Wuerl in this way by publishing a website called the Wuerl Record which praised him for his overall record on dealing with abusive priests. The archdiocese also attempted to explain away specific examples of Wuerl reassigning abusive priests. However, the website was taken down after wide criticism and the archdiocese admitted that it had been a “mistake.” (Read more from “Pope Accepts the Resignation of U.S. Cardinal but Downplays Sex Abuse Cover up Allegations Against Him” HERE)