Pope Francis Accepts Cardinal Wuerl's Resignation

Pope Francis Accepts Cardinal Wuerl's Resignation

Pope Francis Accepts Cardinal Wuerl's Resignation

Pope Francis is saying that Cdl.

The case of McCarrick triggered a storm in August after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to Washington, accused the pope of ignoring allegations the prominent Catholic leader had abused a teenager decades ago.

After re-examining the archives, I can ascertain that there are no corresponding documents signed by either Pope, neither is there a note of an audience with my predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Re, giving Archbishop Emeritus McCarrick an obligatory mandate of silence and to retire to a private life, carrying canonical penalties.

In response to the report's publication, Wuerl said that while its findings had been "critical of some of my actions, I believe the report confirms that I acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse". The pope also praised Cardinal Wuerl's "nobility" in choosing to step down rather than defend his record under fire.

"My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington", the cardinal said in a letter.

A Pennsylvania grand jury report released in late July was also critical of how Wuerl handled the alleged abuse of more than a thousand children by 301 Catholic priests.

A month after Pope Francis wrote an open letter to all Catholics regarding the "the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years" within the church, he has now laid the blame of that abuse at the feet of the devil itself. Of this, I am proud and thank you.

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Wuerl oversaw the Diocese of Pittsburgh as Bishop from 1988 to 2006. The Vatican court later sided with then-Bishop Wuerl and Father Cipolla, who has since died, was kept out of ministry.

On Labor Day, Wuerl met with the priests in his archdiocese. He served briefly as auxiliary bishop in Seattle before going to Pittsburgh. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1966 and went on to receive a doctorate in 1974. The appointment generated serious conflict among Archbishop Hunthausen's supporters, and Bishop Wuerl was relieved of his responsibility in 1987.

For the last five years, Wuerl has also been the single most important voice within the United States hierarchy defending Pope Francis, at a time when some other American bishops and Catholic leaders have struck discordant notes. He'll be in charge in the DC archdiocese until the Vatican appoints a new archbishop to replace him.

Cardinal Wuerl is a member of several Vatican departments, including the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Congregation for Bishops.

Cardinal McCarrick "was strongly exhorted not to travel and not to appear in public so as not to provoke further rumors", Cardinal Ouellet said, but "it is false to present these measures taken in his regard as "sanctions" decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and annulled by Pope Francis".

"His case would have been the object of new disciplinary measures if the nunciature in Washington or any other source would have furnished us with recent and decisive information about his behavior", the cardinal told the former nuncio.

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