Us capital without archbishop

Us capital without archbishop

Cardinal Donald William Wuerl (l.) © Paul Haring (KNA)

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Wuerl had come under criticism in connection with the recent report on abuse cases in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

This was announced by the Vatican on Friday without further details. A successor has not yet been appointed. In the days before, he had already stated in a letter to the faithful of his diocese that he wanted to talk to the pope about his future.

Accusation of cover-up

Wuerl is accused of cover-ups during his time as Bishop of Pittsburgh (1988-2006). In addition, he is said to have known about the sexual misdeeds of his predecessor in Washington, Theodore McCarrick (88) – which Wuerl denies. Wuerl had been named archbishop of the U.S. capital in 2006 as McCarrick's successor, as well as a cardinal in 2010.

Wuerl was not present at a recent meeting of a delegation of U.S. bishops with the pope. Led by U.S. bishops' conference president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the bishops spoke with the pope about consequences of the Pennsylvania report.

The U.S. portal "Crux" and the TV channel CBS quoted on Friday from a letter of the pope, in which he also thanks the cardinal for his concern for the welfare of the church. Wuerl could have presented reasons to justify his actions in the abuse crisis. It testifies to "high spirit" that Wuerl renounced such a defense, Francis said, according to the media.

Conversation with the Pope

According to reports from US media, Wuerl had already traveled to the Vatican at the end of August to talk to the pope about the cover-up allegations against him. Formally, as required by canon law, he had already offered his resignation when he reached the age limit in November 2015. So far, however, Francis had not accepted it, but kept Wuerl in office – as is often the case with leaders of important dioceses.

The 12. Born November 1940, Wuerl studied theology and philosophy in his hometown of Pittsburgh and at the Pontifical North American College in Rome Speaks Latin very well. In 2012, for example, he opened the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican with a Latin speech.

Wuerl became internationally known in late 1985, when the Vatican made him an auxiliary bishop in Seattle and assigned him tasks of his archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. Because of liberal statements on sexual morality and peace policy, Rome had opened an ecclesiastical investigation against Hunthausen.

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