Pope Accepts Resignation of Cardinal Wuerl over Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal
October 12, 2018
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl after he became entangled in two major sexual abuse and cover-up scandals and lost the support of many in his flock.
Wuerl, who turns 78 in November, becomes the most prominent head to roll in the scandal roiling the Catholic Church after his predecessor as Washington archbishop, Theodore McCarrick, was forced to resign as cardinal over allegations he sexually abused at least two minors and adult seminarians.
A Vatican statement Friday said Francis had accepted Wuerl's resignation, but named no immediate replacement.
Wuerl, former bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese, last month told parishioners that he is repenting for the poor judgment he used in handling the clergy sex abuse crisis.
Wuerl said he is repenting for the "wounds that were caused by my bad judgments or failures," according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune.
Once a highly esteemed member of the Catholic Church, Wuerl has taken a major hit from the report by the state grand jury, which uncovered the systemic sexual abuse of thousands of children by more than 300 priests over the course of seven decades. The report found that bishops and church officials concealed the crimes and protected predatory priests.
The 900-plus page report mentions Wuerl more than 200 times and rebukes the once sterling reputation enjoyed by Wuerl of that of a church leader who stood with victims.