Cardinal Donald William Wuerl © Paul Haring (KNA)
Washington's Cardinal Wuerl turns 80 this Thursday. Upon reaching the age limit, he leaves the circle of papal electors. Wuerl led the U.S. capital diocese from 2006 to 2018; in 2010, Benedict XVI made him. to the Cardinal.
In connection with abuse cases in the US state of Pennsylvania Wuerl came under criticism. He was accused of cover-ups during his time as bishop of Pittsburgh (1988-2006). He is also said to have known about the sexual misdeeds of his predecessor in Washington, Theodore McCarrick (90) – which Wuerl denies.
Studies in theology and philosophy
The 12. Born on November 1940, Wuerl studied theology and philosophy in his hometown of Pittsburgh and at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and speaks Latin very well. In 2012, for example, he opened the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican with a speech in Latin. Two years after ordination to the priesthood, he became private secretary in 1968 to John Wright, later a cardinal of the Curia, for whom he served for ten years in the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy.
Wuerl became internationally known in 1985 when the Vatican made him an auxiliary bishop in Seattle and gave him duties of his archbishop, Raymond Hunthausen. Because of liberal statements on sexual morality and peace policy, Rome had initiated an ecclesiastical investigation against Hunthausen.
119 cardinals eligible for papal election
With Wuerl's birthday, 119 of the 218 cardinals of the universal church are currently still eligible to vote in a possible conclave. In late October, Pope Francis announced the appointment of 13 new cardinals, including Wuerl's successor in Washington, Wilton D. Gregory (72). However, they will receive the cardinal's mark only on 28. November. Of the then 231 cardinals, 128 are then still eligible to become pope.