November 30, 2016
By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In his first year as the Roman Catholic bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988, Donald Wuerl publicly voiced doubts about a lawsuit filed by a former seminarian who claimed that when he was a boy, a priest had sexually abused him for years.
Despite the skepticism, now-Cardinal Wuerl did send the priest off for a psychiatric evaluation. The bishop became convinced soon enough that the allegations against the Rev. Anthony Cipolla were credible. He prevented the priest from returning to the ministry even through a high-stakes legal battle with the Vatican in the 1990s.
Now Cardinal Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, is paying tribute to Tim Bendig, the abuse survivor who filed that initial lawsuit, apologizing for his initial doubts and saying he helped protect other children and reform the church.
Abuse survivors such as Mr. Bendig call on church leaders to “uphold our own moral teaching,” Cardinal Wuerl said.
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