After Pope Francis accepted Cardinal Donald Wuerl's resignation as the archbishop of Washington Friday morning, the post remains empty yet the church remains under Wuerl's supervision as apostolic administrator.
In the report, Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, is repeatedly cited as one of the church leaders who helped cover up the scandal.
Catholic teachers protested in late August outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Northeast Washington, demanding Cardinal Donald Wuerl's resignation.
Originally the namesake for the diocese's newest high school in Cranberry Township, North Catholic made the decision to remove Cardinal Wuerl from their name. In it, Ouellet both defended the pope and excoriated Vigano, asserting that the conservative cleric had used the scandal over sexual abuse in the U.S.to score ideological points with Francis' critics on the Catholic right.
The auxiliary bishops of Washington also released a statement Friday, saying the cardinal's "pastoral and spiritual leadership in the archdiocese is well appreciated".
The Vatican denounced the charge that the pope knew of the McCarrick allegations on Sunday, calling them "monstrous" and "even blasphemous". In a letter to them earlier this month, he shared his intent to meet the pope about his future.
Archbishop Vigano on August 26 demanded the pope step down for allegedly covering up the past sexual misconduct of former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington.
At this time in the life of our Church, all bishops are called, as Cardinal Wuerl has done, to acknowledge any failure to protect Gods' children, to express deepest apologies to victims of sexual abuse and to renew our commitment to assist them in their healing process in any way possible.
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After his resignation was announced October 12, Cardinal Wuerl said in a statement: "Once again for any past errors in judgment, I apologize and ask for pardon". He removed some accused priests from ministry, and lobbied for some of the changes the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted in 2002.
Before June, men often named as contenders included San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, Minneapolis and St. Paul Archbishop Bernard Hebda (who was a personal secretary to Wuerl in Pittsburgh) and Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.
Pope Francis's letter was far from accusatory against Cardinal Wuerl. It refers first of all to the "due pontifical permission" the cardinal received to write his testimony as head of the dicastery for bishops, as well as to undertake research in the archives of the Congregation.
In his letter to Wuerl, the pope said he recognized that Wuerl wanted to step down for the greater good of the Church.
For more on all this, we're joined by John Carr. "I beg forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God's family", he said, to applause from the crowd.
Now, Washingtonians await the news of a new bishop to take the helm of a storm-tossed archdiocese.
In a glowing letter of support, Francis made clear that he accepted Wuerl's resignation reluctantly, at Wuerl's insistence, and believed he was not guilty of trying to hide abuse.