Wuerl retiring from Vatican roles as McCarrick report nears


November 10, 2020

By Peter Smith

This week was already shaping up as a milestone in the career of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former bishop of his native Pittsburgh, who is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 80 from powerful roles he has held at the Vatican.

Adding to that, he is also expected to figure in a Vatican report Tuesday about his predecessor as archbishop of Washington, the disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The report is expected to focus on who knew what and when about allegations of sexual misconduct against the now-defrocked Mr. McCarrick, even as he rose to the highest ranks of the U.S. church hierarchy.

Cardinal Wuerl, who served as the Roman Catholic bishop of his native Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, turns 80 on Thursday. Under Catholic Church law, that means he will no longer be eligible to vote in conclaves of cardinals who select a new pope when there is a vacancy.

In addition to shedding that role, Cardinal Wuerl will also reach mandatory retirement age on the influential Congregation for Bishops, which advises the pope on appointments of new bishops, and hence has a large role in shaping the church hierarchy around the world. He has served in that role since 2013. The mandatory retirement also applies to his service on the pontifical councils for culture and Christian unity.

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