Pope accepts embattled DC Cardinal Donald Wuerl's resignation

3 days 6 hours 49 minutes ago Friday, October 12 2018 Oct 12, 2018 Friday, October 12, 2018 11:11:00 AM CDT October 12, 2018 in News
By: Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) -- Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the embattled archbishop of Washington, ending weeks of mounting speculation and rising anger over Wuerl's role in two clergy sexual abuse scandals.

But Francis also has asked Wuerl to remain as the archdiocese's apostolic administrator -- akin to an interim manager -- until a successor is named. And in a letter released Friday, the pope praised Wuerl for his "nobility" in handling the criticism against him, sentiments that angered some survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

The Pope wrote that Wuerl has "sufficient elements to 'justify'" his actions "and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to 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," the pope wrote.

Significantly, while Wuerl is resigning as archbishop of Washington, he will remain a cardinal. He is still part of the powerful College of Cardinals and is one of only 10 American cardinals who could choose the next Pope.

"Although Cardinal Wuerl as of today is no longer the archbishop of Washington, he certainly doesn't seem to be out of favor with the boss," CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen said, referring to the tone of the Pope's letter about Wuerl's resignation.

Wuerl, who turns 78 in November, technically tendered his resignation upon reaching age 75, as all Catholic bishops and cardinals do. But cardinals are often allowed to serve until they are 80.

Wuerl said Friday that he was deeply touched by the pope's "gracious words of understanding" in Friday's letter, and he asked for forgiveness for "past errors."

"The Holy Father's decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future," Wuerl said in a statement released by the archdiocese. "It permits this local Church to move forward.

"Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon. My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington."

Even with the papal praise, Wuerl's resignation caps a remarkable fall from grace for one of the world's most powerful Catholic leaders.

The Pittsburgh native spent more than 50 years climbing the ranks of the Catholic Church, building a reputation as a loyal churchman and scrupulous teacher. Known as a key ally of Pope Francis, Wuerl sits on the Vatican committee that vets and appoints bishops around the world.

But after a damning 900-page report by a grand jury in Pennsylvania and a letter from a former top Vatican official accusing Wuerl of covering up for his disgraced predecessor, the cardinal faced increasing pressure to step down from his perch atop the church's hierarchy.

The Archdiocese of Washington vigorously defended Wuerl, sending detailed explanations of his actions to area clergy and pushing back against accusations that he failed to deal adequately with pedophile priests while he was the bishop of Pittsburgh.

Wuerl also faced accusations from a former papal diplomat that he knew about accusations that his predecessor in Washington, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, had sexually abused seminarians.

In a letter published in August, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican's former US ambassador, said Wuerl was "well aware of the continuous abuses committed by Cardinal McCarrick and the sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict."

The Archdiocese of Washington denied Vigano's allegations, saying, "Cardinal Wuerl has categorically denied that any of this information was communicated to him. Archbishop Viganò at no time provided Cardinal Wuerl any information about an alleged document from Pope Benedict XVI with directives of any sort from Rome regarding Archbishop McCarrick."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council is talking about building two roundabouts on Nifong Boulevard in an attempt to reduce... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 3:35:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
(CNN) - Former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member James Wolfe pleaded guilty Monday to one count of lying to the... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 3:31:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – A walkway outside of the Royal Inn off I-70 showed signs of structural damage Monday afternoon and guests... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 2:58:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
(CNN) - It's been five days since Hurricane Michael decimated Mexico Beach, and dozens of residents are still nowhere to... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP)- New numbers show Missouri's Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill brought in nearly $8.5 million for her re-election bid... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 1:52:19 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Gov. Mike Parson kicked off what he calls "Infrastructure Week" Monday morning at the Missouri Department of Conservation... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 1:26:00 PM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A federal judge says Missouri has violated the rights of people serving life in prison without parole for... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 11:35:48 AM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
MONITEAU COUNTY- A man was arrested and accused of trying to run over his girlfriend and son with a truck... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 11:28:00 AM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The Boone County Sheriff's Department is investigating a pair of armed robberies at convenience stores over the weekend. ... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 Monday, October 15, 2018 9:54:00 AM CDT October 15, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Callaway County deputies found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop early Sunday morning, according to... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 10:05:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
SLATER - Gloria is a 2-year-old pit bull who was found near Slater, Missouri after someone shot her in the... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 8:26:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Missouri's Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley took a cue from President Donald Trump on Sunday and said... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 4:50:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) - For many, the fight against Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation was about more than a seat on the Supreme Court.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 3:04:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) - Florida Panhandle officials are trying to figure out how to resume classes after Hurricane Michael damaged or destroyed... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 2:29:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Dozens of people gathered at Burr Oak Brewing on Sunday for the second annual Columbia Micro-Con. STL... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 2:09:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
MOBERLY- The Randolph County Sheriff's Office is looking for a suspect after an armed robbery at Dino Mart on 1634... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 12:41:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - A field of flowers swept through Columbia on Sunday in honor of the Alzheimer's Association’s 2018 Walk to... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 8:54:00 AM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
HARTSBURG - The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival is celebrating its 27th year with traditions like live music and picking your own... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 11:05:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 48°
6pm 48°
7pm 45°
8pm 42°
9pm 40°