Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid cover-up scandals over sexual abuse

Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid cover-up scandals over sexual abuse

The pope goes on to extol Wuerl's move as that of a "shepherd" who, "by widening his vision to recognize a greater good that can benefit the whole body, prioritizes actions that support, stimulate and make the unity and mission of the Church grow above every kind of sterile division sown by the father of lies".

The Vatican press office October 6 published a statement saying Pope Francis has decided that as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continues its investigations into the sex abuse allegations against Cardinal McCarrick, "a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the archives of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick" will take place.

In his prayer intention for the month of October, Pope Francis says: "I renew the invitation to everyone to pray the Rosary every day in October, ending with the antiphon "We fly to thy patronage" and the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, to repel the attacks of the Devil who wants to divide the Church".

"Your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defence".

The ex-cardinal was reportedly sexually active with seminarians and was punished by Pope Benedict XVI. Wuerl was in Washington on Friday morning. As for not attempting to defend himself, Wuerl didn't mind when the archdiocesan office did it for him. An expert told CBS News at the time that the letter was highly unusual, but that a resignation would be even more so. He said bishops were under attack from the "great accuser", another name for Satan.

Wuerl has not been charged with any wrongdoing but was named numerous times in the grand jury report, which details instances in which he allowed priests accused of misconduct to be reassigned or reinstated. He was often the glue holding a divided bishops' conference in America together, and he was also the most important interpreter and ally of Pope Francis in a sometimes-skeptical Catholic culture in the US.

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Referring explicitly to the Pennsylvania grand jury report on abuse released in mid-August, the pope said the cases were numerous "until the early 1970s", but "in more recent times, they decreased because the church realized that she had to grapple with this in another way".

Those things remain as true today as they were two months ago when the fracas around his record in Pittsburgh began, and despite everything that's happened since - including the Pennsylvania Attorney General publicly calling him a liar, calls for his resignation from some of his own priests, and so on - those other aspects of his story haven't lost their relevance. He asked Wuerl to stay on as administrator until another archbishop could be appointed.

"That wasn't - that wasn't our process", Wuerl responded the night before the report's release.

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"Young people are scandalized by the hypocrisy of older people", Francis said [via CNN].

"I think that is the moment where we need to put on the agenda not only the question of prevention but also of accountability", Archbishop Scicluna told reporters.

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