The Washington Post reports:
Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who in a matter of months went from a trusted papal ally who had largely managed to avoid controversy over a long career to a prominent symbol of what many Catholics have come to regard as an infuriatingly weak and defensive response by their church to clerical sex abuse.
Pope Francis said that he had asked Wuerl to stay on as an “apostolic administrator” until a successor was found. In a letter of praise, Francis wrote to Wuerl saying that he saw in the cardinal’s request to step down “the heart of a shepherd.” Francis did not criticize Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases.
While hundreds of priest-abusers have been removed in recent decades, the bishops and cardinals responsible for overseeing them almost never are, and Catholics in 2018 have been showing signs of being fed up with the status quo.
CBS News reports:
Wuerl, who led the Pittsburgh diocese for 18 years, was implicated in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report and had faced increased calls to step down over allegations he covered up for so-called “predator priests.”
He also has been accused of failing to act on accusations against his predecessor in Washington, former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, who resigned in July over abuse charges.
“You have sufficient elements to ‘justify’ your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you,” Francis wrote in the letter.