Wuerl out as DC Archbishop … soon

Pope accepts embattled DC cardinal's resignation

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as archbishop of Washington, DC, making him one of the most senior Catholic figures to step down amid a worldwide sexual abuse crisis.

In the report, Wuerl was accused of covering up sex abuse and misconduct during his tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Before the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released in mid-August, the book on Donald Wuerl would have been that he was among the most influential churchmen in American Catholicism over the last fifty years, and arguably the single most important of the last 20. The report mentioned Wuerl more than 150 times in its investigation in detailing the cases of several priests who were allowed to continue their ministry despite complaints about sexual abuse, in several cases with Wuerl's direct knowledge.

Despite facing numerous calls for his resignation, including from his own clergy, Wuerl said at the time the report confirmed he had acted with "diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse".

Said Wuerl in a statement: "Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation first offered on November 12, 2015, when I reached my 75th birthday".

"My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you, the people of the Church of Washington", he said. And during the cardinal's 18 years as bishop of Pittsburgh, he said, "there were no cover-ups of claims of abuse".

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.

Catholics worldwide have been asked to pray the Rosary every day during the "Marian month of October", in order "to protect the church from the devil, who is always looking to divide us from God and from one another".

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Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is also confronting allegations he ignored rampant sexual abuse of children by a priest under his purview when he was a bishop in Sioux City, Iowa.

However, Wuerl did indeed justify his actions as Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Also disappointed with Cardinal Wuerl's resignation was Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. He then moved to the Diocese of Washington D.C. and was eventually named a Cardinal in the Catholic Church.

I also take this occasion to express my honest appreciation to Cardinal Wuerl for his longstanding and dedicated service to Our Lord Jesus and his Church.

In 1993, when John Paul II was pope, Wuerl traveled to Rome, where he successfully persuaded the Vatican to overturn the reinstatement of an abusive priest.

Benedict XVI appointed him archbishop of Washington in 2006, upon the retirement of the now-disgraced McCarrick, who had led the archdiocese since 2001.

Finally, it's important to say this: If Pope Francis's letter today makes anything clear, it's that he hasn't lost any respect or esteem for Wuerl - if anything, he appears to hold him in even higher regard for the "nobility" of his exit. He said Wuerl's resignation is "long overdue". However, the letter said Wuerl was not accused of trying to hide them.

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