Pope Accepts Cardinal Wuerl’s Resignation Amid Sex Abuse Cover-Up Scandal

Aaron Brown
October 13, 2018

Wuerl has been under fire since the release in August of a US Grand Jury report on sexual abuse found evidence that at least 1,000 people, mostly children, had been sexually abused by some 300 clergymen over the course of 70 years.

Oxford University's Dr. Joseph Shaw told LifeSiteNews that Pope Francis's October 12 letter accepting Cardinal Wuerl's resignation "makes it very clear" that he doesn't want to punish his subordinate. 'However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense.

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".

Wuerl initially downplayed the scandal, insisting on his good record.

In a September 11 letter to archdiocesan priests written after a private meeting with them, Cardinal Wuerl said that he would soon meet with the Pope to discuss his future, but did not immediately state that he would ask the Holy Father to allow him to resign. I understand that bitterness and delusions have been a part of your journey in service to the Holy See, but you can not conclude your priestly life in this way, in open and scandalous rebellion, which is inflicting a very painful wound on the Bride of Christ, whom you claim to serve better, thus aggravating the division and confusion in the People of God!

The reason such measures were not taken then and were only taken in June by Pope Francis, Cardinal Ouellet said, was because there was not "sufficient proof of his presumed guilt".

Wuerl, who is 77, may have resigned, but he won't be disappearing from church leadership just yet.

For the last five years, Wuerl has also been the single most important voice within the U.S. hierarchy defending Pope Francis, at a time when some other American bishops and Catholic leaders have struck discordant notes.

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The 77-year-old embattled traveled to Rome in September to ask Pope Francis to accept the resignation letter that he submitted nearly three years ago upon reaching the customary retirement age of 75.

Wuerl is accused of allowing priests he knew were abusing children to go unpunished.

Timoney, who worked for several years in the Archdiocese of Washington as the secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns, told OSV that Cardinal Wuerl was a natural "teaching bishop" who wrote several books, including the catechisms, "The Teaching of Christ" and "The Catholic Way".

Picture: Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, pictured in 2009 photo. They resented his pivotal role a decade ago in resisting a push by some of his fellow bishops to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support the right to abortion.

Victims advocacy groups were outraged.

"But if archaic, predatory-friendly laws were reformed and if more prosecutors showed real courage, these complicit clerics might face criminal charges, and that might make a real difference", he said in a statement.

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

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