Wuerl out: reaction and analysis

The Deacon's Bench | 10/12/2018 | Staff
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From The Washington Post:

Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a trusted papal ally who became a symbol among many Catholics for what they regard as the church’s defensive and weak response to clerical sex abuse.

Wuerl - Prelates - Year - Abuse - Scandals

But even as Wuerl becomes one of the highest-profile prelates to step down in a year of prominent abuse scandals, Pope Francis offered the cardinal a gentle landing, praising him in a letter and allowing him to stay on as “apostolic administrator” in the Washington archdiocese until a successor was found.

In his letter, Francis suggested he had accepted Wuerl’s resignation reluctantly, and said he saw in the cardinal’s request the “heart of a shepherd.” Francis did not criticize Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases, and wrote that Wuerl had “sufficient elements” to defend his actions.

Nobility - Way - Defense - Francis - Thank

“However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense,” Francis wrote. “Of this, I am proud and thank you.”

The Vatican’s announcement about Wuerl’s fate comes almost a month after Wuerl, 77, first suggested he would urge Francis to accept his resignation. For Wuerl, the request to resign was a dramatic turnaround for the guarded, by-the-book cleric — and it underscored the anger he faced, in the aftermath of a detailed Pennsylvania grand jury report, about his handling of abuse cases during his 18-year tenure as the bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Friday - Catholics - Francis - Message - Wuerl

But Friday, some Catholics said that Francis — with his message about Wuerl’s decision — was being overly protective of an ally and overlooking the seriousness of the cardinal’s case. A Washington diocese spokesperson said that Wuerl will retain his place in the powerful Congregation of Bishops, the section of the Roman Curia that helps to pick bishops.

“It’s very disappointing,” said David Clohessy, the former national director of Survivors Network for...
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