Currents News Staff
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl from the Archdiocese of Washington. Through a letter, the Pope has asked him to remain in D.C. as an Apostolic Administrator, until a new successor has been appointed.
The Archbishop of Washington submitted the resignation request nearly three years ago at 75, as canon law requires. After not being accepted, Cardinal Wuerl had sent an additional request on Sept. 21, asking Pope Francis to accept his resignation.
The cardinal had been facing recent pressure to resign since he was criticized for his handling of cases of abusive priests after the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released on Aug. 14.
Pope Francis sent a letter to Wuerl, dated Oct. 12, saying, “I recognize in your request the heart of a shepherd who… prioritizes actions that support, stimulate and make the unity and mission of the Church grow…”
Pope Francis continues his letter, “You have sufficient elements to ‘justify’ your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you.”
This new interim administrative role will allow Wuerl to continue to run daily activities throughout the archdiocese, but he will be unable to make serious changes that would affect the next archbishop.
Following the August scandals, Donald Wuerl wrote a letter to U.S. Bishops on Aug. 30, asking for “forgiveness for my errors in judgment (and) for my inadequacies.”
The Pittsburgh native was appointed cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 20, 2010. He is a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican.