Pope accepts Donald Wuerl's resignation as Washington DC archbishop

Marsha Scott
October 13, 2018

Francis ordered McCarrick to retire to a life of prayer and penitence after American Church officials said as part of a separate investigation that allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy nearly 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.

Wuerl has also been accused of knowing that his predecessor in Washington, ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, had forced male adult seminarians to have sex with him years ago.

"My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you, the people of the Church of Washington", he said. Wuerl initially questioned Bendig's account but later accepted it and moved to oust Cipolla from the priesthood.

Cardinal Wuerl replaced Cardinal McCarrick as Washington's archbishop after he retired in 2006.

Instead of making an example of Wuerl, who was named numerous times in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report accusing church leaders of covering up abuse, Pope Francis held him as a model for the future unity of the Catholic Church, citing his "nobility" and announcing that he would stay on as the archdiocese's caretaker until the appointment of his successor.

Before the meeting, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston responded to additional steps the Pope is taking to address the sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church. "Of this, I am proud and thank you", Francis wrote in the letter.

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Cardinal McCarrick "was strongly exhorted not to travel and not to appear in public so as not to provoke further rumors", Cardinal Ouellet said, but "it is false to present these measures taken in his regard as "sanctions" decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and annulled by Pope Francis". Wuerl was in Washington on Friday morning. 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.

In the 1990s Cardinal Wuerl hosted the television program, The Teaching of Christ.

"In addition, the written brief prepared for you by the Congregation for Bishops at the beginning of your service in 2011, said nothing about McCarrick other than what I told you in person about his situation as an emeritus Bishop who was supposed to obey certain conditions and restrictions due to the rumors surrounding his past behavior". The new bishop was charged with special responsibility for five problem areas in the archdiocese: liturgy, the tribunal, priest formation, moral and bioethical issues in Catholic hospitals, and ministry and teaching concerning homosexuality.

In the mid 1980s, the issue was an irregular situation where then-Bishop Wuerl was given administrative responsibilities at the expense of the late Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, who had run afoul of the Vatican for some of his pastoral tendencies. Wuerl presided over 32 accused priests during his time at the Pittsburgh diocese.

Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Wuerl to help direct the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. He has served on a number of Vatican congregations, councils and commissions, as well as numerous national and worldwide organizations such as the Papal Foundation and various committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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