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Pope Francis Accepts Cardinal Wuerl's Resignation

13 October 2018

The Archdiocese of Washington released a letter from Francis, saying that Wuerl had sufficient evidence to "justify" his actions as a bishop and to "distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes".

"In the Roman Curia and in many Bishops' Conferences there is a widespread attitude that bishops and senior officials should never be publicly disgraced: there should be no 'brutta figura' [loss of face]", Shaw explained. But cardinals are often allowed to serve until they are 80.

The first formal sanctions on Archbishop McCarrick were imposed by Pope Francis in June after an investigation found credible allegations of the sexual abuse of minors.

"He seems to be sending the signal that he is not the Pope to clean out the stables", Shaw remarked. "They are scandalized by incongruity, they are scandalized by corruption, and as part of this corruption. sexual abuse".

"The congregation's decision was inspired by prudence, and the letters from my predecessor and my own letters urged him, first through the apostolic nuncio, (Archbishop) Pietro Sambi, and then through you (Archbishop Viganò), to lead a life of prayer and penance for his own good and for the good of the church", Cardinal Ouellet wrote in an open letter to Archbishop Viganò.

Addressing Archbishop Vigano as "dear brother", Cardinal Ouellet said, "I understand how bitterness and disappointments have marked your path in the service of the Holy See, but you can not conclude your priestly life this way, in an open and scandalous rebellion".

He was appointed Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988. Rodgers formerly worked as a local newspaper reporter in Pittsburgh who covered the religion beat and Bishop Wuerl's 18-year tenure in the Steel City.

In his letter to Wuerl, the pope said he recognized that Wuerl wanted to step down for the greater good of the Church.

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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.

Columnist Fr. Raymond de Souza suggested that Wuerl was brought down because his priests became exhausted of a "clerical culture of mendacity". Eventually he came to the conclusion that he could no longer lead the diocese.

Cardinal Wuerl had offered to resign when he reached 75 in 2015, but the Pope did not take up the resignation.

Francis said he received Wuerl's resignation request on September 21.

On the one hand, the cardinal battled the highest Church courts in Rome to ensure that one abusive priest did not return to ministry, but in other cases, questions were raised about his handling of priests who he was informed had been subject to allegations of inappropriate conduct.

"His priests did not believe him", De Souza continued.

The prosecutor who released a grand jury report in August on rampant sex abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses says it is unacceptable that Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl is retiring with no apparent consequences.

"It may be that the priests of Washington, after Pennsylvania, after McCarrick, were just exhausted of a culture that was less than forthright". Usually a new bishop is announced at the same time as such a resignation.

Pope Francis Accepts Cardinal Wuerl's Resignation