Monday, 10 December, 2018

Excerpts of Pope Francis' Letter to Cardinal Wuerl

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Steven Clarke | 13 October, 2018, 13:42

Wuerl's simultaneous resignation and rehabilitation by the pope is likely to enrage conservative Catholics who have been using the sexual abuse scandal to try to bring down prelates close to Francis.

While he maintained a relatively low political profile in Washington, Wuerl's resignation caps a stunning fall from grace for one of the world's most powerful Catholic leaders.

The Pope has asked Wuerl to remain an Apostolic Administrator until his successor is appointed. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense.

In a statement thanking the Pope, Wuerl said he apologized for "any past errors in judgment".

Please find here a letter from Pope Francis to Cardinal Wuerl.

Following the Pennsylvania Grand Jury investigation, and after the abuse allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick emerged, the cardinal has twice been to Rome to meet with the Pope. He said bishops were under attack from the "great accuser", another name for Satan. He said he acted with "diligence with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse".

Why did Cardinal Wuerl resign?

Cardinal Wuerl's books, homilies, and articles are rich resources which assist the faithful to understand better the teachings of the Church and embrace the faith we proudly profess. Bishop Michael Olson of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, has said in a letter to his diocese from July that he has "zero tolerance for sexual abuse" and that any victims should come forward "without fear of retribution, no matter the status of the perpetrator".

Patty Fortney-Julius, one of five sisters from central Pennsylvania who have accused their now-dead parish priest of sexually abusing them as children, also voiced frustrations.

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Cardinal Wuerl's episcopal career appears to be ending in as much controversy as it began when he became an auxiliary bishop in Seattle in 1986.

It is my hope and prayer that Our Lord Jesus will bless Cardinal Wuerl and all those in the Archdiocese of Washington with grace, peace and strength today and always.

"I think about the damage that has occurred to the Church, so this is bigger than any specific case or reference in that grand jury report", said Patricia McGuire, the president of Trinity Washington University, a Catholic university in Washington D.C.On her blog and in a recent interview with OSV, McGuire said Cardinal Wuerl should resign because his credibility as an archbishop has been compromised. The appointment generated serious conflict among Archbishop Hunthausen's supporters, and Bishop Wuerl was relieved of his responsibility in 1987.

Cardinal Wuerl is a member of several Vatican departments, including the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Congregation for Bishops.

Wuerl's defenders have cited a case that surfaced in 1988, when a 19-year-old former seminarian, Tim Bendig, filed a lawsuit accusing a priest, Anthony Cipolla, of molesting him.

Wuerl's powers are limited to "caretaking" of the church until a new archbishop is named for the Archdiocese of Washington, the Rev. William Byrne, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac, Maryland, told WTOP. He held this position until he was appointed in May 2006 to head the Archdiocese of Washington.

Despite a personal formality that sometimes struck observers as aloofness, McGuire said she found Cardinal Wuerl to be self-effacing, humble, approachable and genuinely interested in people.

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