Pope accepts Cardinal Wuerl's resignation over sex abuse cover-up

What is God trying to say? Synod's youngest cardinal speaks out

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl is apologizing to Catholics in his archdiocese after Pope Francis accepted his resignation as archbishop amid unfolding sex abuse and coverup scandals.

Wuerl offered his resignation to Pope Francis weeks ago after he became subject to scrutiny for his handling of child sexual abuse while leading the Pittsburgh Diocese.

In his open letter, Cardinal Ouellet told Archbishop Vigano, "You say you informed Pope Francis on June 23, 2013, of the McCarrick case in an audience he granted to you like many other papal representatives he met for the first time that day".

Cardinal Wuerl replaced Cardinal McCarrick as Washington's archbishop after he retired in 2006.

Francis ordered McCarrick to retire to a life of prayer and penitence after American Church officials said as part of a separate investigation that allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy nearly 50 years ago were credible and substantiated. I strongly doubt that McCarrick was of interest to him to the point that you believed him to be, since at the moment he was an 82-year-old Archbishop Emeritus who had been without an appointment for seven years.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl from his post as the archbishop of Washington, D.C. In a letter released Friday by the Vatican, from the pope to Wuerl, the pontiff confirms he has accepted the archbishop's resignation and lauds Wuerl for putting the church's interests over his own personal defense against claims he protected abusive priests. It was the first time a cardinal has resigned in nearly a century.

"Your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defence".

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Since then, another man has come forward saying McCarrick molested him when he was a young teenager and other men have said they were harassed by McCarrick as adult seminarians and young priests. "Your renunciation is a sign of your availability and docility to the Spirit who continues to act in his Church".

Referring explicitly to the Pennsylvania grand jury report on abuse released in mid-August, the pope said the cases were numerous "until the early 1970s", but "in more recent times, they decreased because the church realized that she had to grapple with this in another way".

"(The church must be) saved from the attacks of the malign one, the great accuser and at the same time be made ever more aware of its guilt, its mistakes, and abuses committed in the present and the past", Pope Francis said, according to Reuters.

In contrast to the accusations made against him in the report from the Pennsylvania grand jury, Wuerl had been applauded in the past for publicly cracking down on members of the clergy who were accused of sexual abuse in the '80s and '90s.

"In the meantime, names of potential leaders for the archdiocese will be submitted to the pope through the apostolic nuncio for Pope Francis to determine the next suitable archbishop".

"Despite the things that have been spoken about, he did a heck of a lot to address the issue of sexual abuse", Bishop David Zubik said. If the Vatican moves quickly to replace Wuerl, it will help calm the furor.

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