Pope Francis accepts resignation of D.C. archbishop Wuerl, amid criticism of the cardinal’s handling of abuse claims

Oct 12, 2018

By Michelle Boorstein, Chico Harlan, and Julie Zauzmer

Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a trusted papal ally who became a symbol among many Catholics for what they regard as the church’s defensive and weak response to sexual abuse by priests.

But even as Wuerl becomes one of the highest-profile prelates to step down in a year of prominent abuse scandals, Pope Francis offered the cardinal a gentle landing, praising him in a letter and allowing him to stay on as “apostolic administrator” in the Washington archdiocese until a successor is found.

In his letter, Francis suggested that he had accepted Wuerl’s resignation reluctantly, and said he saw in the cardinal’s request the “heart of a shepherd.” Francis did not criticize Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases, and wrote that Wuerl had “sufficient elements” to defend his actions.

“However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense,” Francis wrote. “Of this, I am proud and thank you.”

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2 comments on “Pope Francis accepts resignation of D.C. archbishop Wuerl, amid criticism of the cardinal’s handling of abuse claims

  • @OP – But even as Wuerl becomes one of the highest-profile prelates to step down in a year of prominent abuse scandals,
    Pope Francis offered the cardinal a gentle landing, praising him in a letter
    and allowing him to stay on as “apostolic administrator” in the Washington archdiocese until a successor is found.

    As I was saying on another thread about abuse and gross negligence, gently and belatedly accepting a resignation from priest or cardinal in his 70s or 80s and letting him quietly slip out of public view, into retirement, is no sanction or deterrent at all!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45835337

    Cardinal Wuerl had offered to resign when he reached 75 in 2015, but the Pope did not take up the resignation.

    Cardinal Wuerl was recently criticised in a report on sexual abuse cases when he was bishop of Pittsburgh and admitted to lapses in judgement.

    The report said he had allowed accused priests to be reassigned or reinstated.

  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-us-canada-45850354

    Pope Francis has stripped two Chilean bishops of their duties as priests amid claims that they are linked to the sexual abuse of minors.

    They are Francisco José Cox Huneeus, archbishop emeritus of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, archbishop emeritus of Iquique.

    The Vatican issued a statement on their defrocking after a meeting between the pontiff and the president of Chile.

    More than 100 Catholic clergy are being investigated in Chile over alleged sex crimes and attempts to cover them up.

    In September Pope Francis defrocked former priest Fernando Karadima , 88, for having sexually abused minors.

    So the president of Chile needed to be involved before action was taken!!!

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