Pope Francis accepts Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation

In the Oct. 12 letter, the Holy Father defended the cardinal from the widespread criticism he has faced in recent months

Cardinal Donald Wuerl (CNA file photo)

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl on Friday, while asking the cardinal to continue leading the Archdiocese of Washington on an interim basis until a permanent successor is appointed.

In a letter to Cardinal Wuerl obtained by CNA Oct. 12, Pope Francis told the cardinal: “Your renunciation is a sign of your availability and docility to the Spirit who continues to act in his Church.”

“In accepting your resignation, I ask you to remain as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the appointment of your successor.”

Cardinal Wuerl, 77, originally submitted his resignation on Nov. 12, 2015, when he turned 75 years old, as required by canon law.

The Pope said Friday that he had also received a Sept. 21 request from Cardinal Wuerl that his resignation be accepted.

In the Oct. 12 letter accepting the cardinal’s resignation, the Holy Father defended the cardinal from the widespread criticism he has faced in recent months.

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

In an Oct. 12 statement, Cardinal Wuerl wrote that “the Holy Father’s decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future. It permits this local Church to move forward.”

“Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon,” he said. “My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington.”

The cardinal has been the subject of criticism since late June, when revelations about alleged sexual misconduct on the part of his predecessor, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, raised questions about what Wuerl knew about the disgraced archbishop, and how he responded to that knowledge.

Full story at National Catholic Register.

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Comments

  1. Will Cdl. Wuerl also be given a sentence of lofetime prayer and penance?

  2. Steve Seitz says:

    It seems like the Pope has effectively done nothing. He’s accepted Wuerl’s resignation but keeps him in place with a slightly different title. Quaint.

  3. The homoheresy that permeates the Washington D.C. Archdiocese should also be cleansed, and with Wuerl as Administrator it will not happen. I believe Viganò.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Washington DC Archdiocese is faithful. Cardinal Wuerl is faithful.
      “Young Bishop Wuerl was pilloried as the conservative enforcer, the pope’s hammer, an agent of oppression. Things got so bad that he was assigned police protection when he went for his morning jog! But for years afterward, Bishop Wuerl had the reputation, around the country, for uncompromising conservatism.”

  4. If someone has a ‘smoking gun’, let them present it now. Otherwise, let the good Cardinal retire in peace.
    I am a bit surprised the Vatican does not have a ‘short list’ of successors. What has the personnel department been doing? After all, he was 75 over two years ago.

    • Steve Seitz says:

      mike m,
      This is why I think that accepting the resignation of Wuerl is an empty gesture. If Francis were serious, he’d either name his replacement or he would remove him and have the Vicar General to take temporary care of the diocese.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rather, it suggests that the Vatican had complete faith in Wuerl until it suddenly became clear that he was part of the problem. It’s exactly the opposite of what you suggest Steve. If there had been a successor in the works due to age, then you might have something to say, but in there wasn’t. Don’t you think the Holy Father deserves the benefit of the doubt?

  5. Rosemary Sporleder says:

    The article doesn’t mention that Cardinal Wuerl was mentioned so frequently in the Pennsylvania Abuse Report or imply him in his most serious misdeeds of transferrring sexual predator priests to other parishes in the diocese.

  6. Cardinal Wuerl is the scapegoat in this situation.

  7. Sometimes one could get the impression that the Vatican just doesn’t get it. Perhaps we in the US see things differently than the rest of the Church, but … Accepting the Cardinal’s resignation sends a positive message, but leaving him as administrator send a negative message. Leaving him on the Congregation for Bishops sends an even worse message. He should be relieved of all duties and sent into retirement, never to be seen in an official capacity again. That would be the least the Vatican could have done. Then there are all the other Bishops in Pennsylvania. What do we do with them? Mike M. is correct, where is the replacement? Two years seems sufficient to put a list of three candidates together for this important job.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am so sad that our culture has become so unforgiving and so punitive. What happened to the Golden Rule?

    • Steve Seitz says:

      Bob One,
      If the rumors are true, the Pope had a successor: His name was McElroy. 🙂

    • Likely he will be moved to vatican city soon,a la cdl law.keeping him on vatican committees gives him job security for the leap.

    • St. Christopher says:

      To my astonishment, I find myself in agreement with “Bob One.” The fear, of course, is that DC will get another poor excuse for a bishop. Cardinal Wuerl should go off immediately, although I would make his retirement one without a red hat.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Archbishop James Martin, SJ of Washington, here we come.

  9. helen wheels says:

    the same “fine hand,” deliberately
    creating ambiguity.

  10. Marty Tours says:

    Thete have been articles which mention the possibility of Bp. McElroy of San Diego as a possible successor to Cdl. Wuerl.

    Just think, McElroy can bring the same level of credibility that he achieved in Dan Diego to Washington D.C. He can even have his own listening tour.

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