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(AP) — Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, is facing a storm of criticism and calls for his resignation after becoming entangled in two major sexual abuse scandals roiling the church he has served with distinction since 1966.
A scathing grand jury report in Pennsylvania this week accused Wuerl of helping to protect some child-molesting priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.
Wuerl - Skepticism - Insistence - Nothing - Years
Wuerl is also facing widespread skepticism over his recent insistence that he knew nothing about years of alleged sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, his predecessor as spiritual leader in the nation’s capital.
The archdiocese, home to more than 630,000 Catholics, is considered an important power center for the church in the U.S., and Wuerl has been ranked by commentators as one of the most influential of the 10 active American cardinals.
Scandals - Turn - Leader - Decades - Respect
The two scandals represent a stunning turn for the 77-year-old leader who, over the decades, earned the respect of fellow bishops across the U.S. and prided himself in taking tough steps to combat clergy sex abuse during his 18 years in Pittsburgh.
Some conservative Catholics are calling for his resignation or ouster, and a petition is circulating to remove his name from a parochial high school in suburban Pittsburgh.
Wuerl - Plans - Week - Damage - Victims
Wuerl has said he has no plans to resign. He apologized this week for the damage inflicted on the victims but also defended his actions in Pittsburgh.
“The Diocese worked to meet or exceed the requirements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the reporting requirements of Pennsylvania law,” Wuerl said. “We showed pastoral concern by reaching out to victims and their families, while reporting allegations to the authorities so they could investigate crimes.”
Vatican - Jury - Report - Difficulties - Wuerl
The Vatican has yet to comment on the grand jury report or on the difficulties facing Wuerl.
Wuerl has not been charged...
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