Cardinal’s resignation accepted by pope
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl after he became entangled in two major sexual abuse and cover-up scandals.
Wuerl, who turns 78 in November, becomes the most prominent head to roll in the scandal rocking the Catholic Church after his predecessor as Washington archbishop, Theodore McCarrick, was forced to resign as cardinal over allegations he sexually abused at least two minors and adult seminarians.
A Vatican statement said Francis had accepted Wuerl’s resignation, but named no immediate replacement.
The decision came after months in which Wuerl initially downplayed the scandal, insisted on his own good record, but then progressively came to the conclusion that he could no longer lead the archdiocese.
In a letter released by Wuerl’s office, Francis praised his longtime ally and suggested Wuerl had unfairly become a scapegoat, having made some “mistakes” in handling sex abuse cases, but not having covered them up.
In his letter, the pope asked Wuerl to stay on in a temporary capacity until a new archbishop is found.