Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl. The archbishop of Washington was recently named in a report accusing church leaders of covering up sexual abuse.
Wuerl’s predecessor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was forced to resign in late July. He had been accused of sexually abusing several people, including children.
A Vatican statement Friday said Pope Francis had accepted Wuerl’s resignation but named no replacement. The letter said Wuerl made some “mistakes” in dealing with sex abuse cases. However, the letter said Wuerl was not accused of trying to hide them.
The Pope asked Wuerl to stay on until a new archbishop is named.
Wuerl’s office released a statement saying, “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.”
In August, the state of Pennsylvania released a grand jury report connected to abuse in the Catholic Church. The report accused Wuerl of helping to protect some priests who had sexually abused children in Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. Wuerl was bishop of Pittsburgh at the time. The report said he permitted priests accused of wrongdoing to be moved or reinstated. Critics questioned Wuerl over his claim of not knowing about alleged sexual wrongdoing by McCarrick.
Catholic League president Bill Donahue, however, defended the cardinal. He told the Associated Press, “No bishop or cardinal in the nation has had a more consistent and courageous record than Donald Wuerl” in dealing with sex abuse by priests.
David Clohessy is with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. He said Wuerl’s resignation is “long overdue.” But he said it would likely do little to stop other clergy from covering up for abusers.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Associated Press news reports. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
church - n. the Christian religion seen as an organization
predecessor - n. a person who had a job or position before someone else
reinstate - v. to put (someone) back in a job or position that had been taken away
consistent - adj. always acting or behaving the same way
courageous - adj. very brave
error - n. something that is not correct
abiding - adj. continuing for a long time : not changing
alleged - adj. accused of having done something wrong or illegal but not yet proven guilty
overdue - adj. used to say that something should have happened or been done before now