U.S. bishops express hope that Wuerl resignation will bring healing

LA Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron: "I'm sure he did what he felt was right for the good of the Church"

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, concelebrate a Mass of thanksgiving in 2010 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Several U.S. bishops responding to the official resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. expressed hope Friday that the decision would bring healing for survivors of clerical abuse.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Wuerl Oct. 12, while asking the cardinal to continue leading the Archdiocese of Washington on an interim basis until a permanent successor is appointed.

The Pope received a personal request from Wuerl to accept his resignation on Sept. 21, and officially accepted it during the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

Cardinal Wuerl 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 McCarrick, and how he responded to that knowledge.

Though Wuerl has denied wrongdoing, he said in September that he would ask Francis to accept his resignation “so that this archdiocesan Church we all love can move forward.”

Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh issued a statement expressing hope that the Cardinal’s resignation would bring healing to victims of abuse.

“For as long as I have known Cardinal Wuerl, he has advocated for those within the church [sic] and beyond who need the opportunity for a better life,” Bishop Zubik wrote. “I pray that the acceptance of his resignation today by Pope Francis will continue to bring about healing in the hearts and lives of victims of abuse and all those in the Church.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington thanked Wuerl for his nearly 52 years of service as a priest and offered prayers for the Archdiocese of Washington.

“I convey my prayerful support to His Eminence and to all the clergy, consecrated religious and lay faithful in the Archdiocese of Washington,” Burbidge wrote in a statement.

“At this time in the life of our Church, all bishops are called, as Cardinal Wuerl has done, to acknowledge any failure to protect God’s 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,” he added.

Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles was asked about Wuerl’s resignation at an Oct. 12 Vatican press conference.

“I know Cardinal Wuerl; I think he discerned something in good conscience…I’m sure he did what he felt was right for the good of the Church, and I’m sure that the Pope saw it from that perspective too,” Barron said. “So that is all I can really say at the moment.”

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

Full story at Catholic News Agency.


  1. Terry P. Fleur says:

    Wuerl is still a Cardinal Elector until he turns 80 years old, so he could conceivably have an influence in the next papal election should the Holy Father either pass-away or abdicate.

    Also, his resignation does nothing for the damaged credibility of the episcopacy or stopping the acceptance of homosecials who are already in the priesthood. Homosexuality is inconsistent with the priesthood and intrinsically disordered.

    With Wuerl gone, another like him, perhaps McElroy of San Diego, may slither in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do people not realize nothing has changed? Wuerl is still a cardinal, he’s still running Washington under a different title, and no timetable for his replacement. we’re not dumb.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what?
      He has been an exemplary priest and bishop and cardinal.
      He resigned because he thought it would be the best thing for the Catholic Church in the US.
      He does not realize that the witch hunters aren’t going to stop because he resigned.
      He’s a faithful conservative Catholic who drew the ire of the fake Catholic loudmouths on the Internet.
      If this can happen to him, it can happen to any Catholic, clergy or not.

      • Ann Malley says:

        Exemplary by what standard? Towing the party line?

        He resigned because he’s attempting to mollify the opposition. That’s it.

        And please define “faithful conservative Catholic.” It sounds like you’re talking politics and nothing of what the Church actually teaches. That’s problematic. So too is Wuerl still being in position to do what “he” deems best for the Church. The followers of Christ–including clerics of all ranks–are to do what Christ has said is best. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.

        Time to review CCC 675.

  3. “Several U.S. bishops responding to the official resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. expressed hope Friday that the decision would bring healing for survivors of clerical abuse.” I cannot speak for the abuse survivors, but it seems logical to me that until root causes are addressed, these survivors may feel anything but healed. They may feel this is just a token move that doesn’t address deeper problems. Just my opinion, of course.

  4. St. Christopher says:

    Misapplied sentiment. All of these blaggards must go. All homosexual clergy must go. No victim — and these are real people that have been made sexual toilets by these vile men — will be “healed” in any way by the phony “retirement” of C. Wuerl (who, by many accounts, has more power and protection than ever). The Church (institutional church) needs a holy fire to burn away the rot within. We are not fools, Holy Father.

    • Agree, and love reading your comments except I’ll finish a sentence for you. They must go to “Prison”, not some plush location where no one monotors where they are and what they’re doing. I will add that there is more to this than just sodomite sex. I will not be suprised if they find money laundering.

  5. Hippo Gus says:

    The Holy Father gives sound advice in this article published in the Vatican News. Keep it in mind, particularly every time the Holy Father and / or his highly-placed accomplices in tje Vatican speak:


    • “..when the devil cannot destroy head on with vices, wars or injustices, he does so subtly with guiles, gradually leading people into the spirit of the world, making them feel nothing is wrong.” Just so, Holy Father, and thank you Hippo Gus for the link. Francis, help me believe you are not the object of what you speak. Help me believe in you again– that you are a man without cunning and without guile. I need, I want to have my faith in you restored, but you make it so hard for me.

  6. Sol Casey says:

    Wuerl’s tesignation shpuld only be the start. LifeStie News reported on the claims that a close collaborator of Francis, formerly head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Francesco Card. Coccopalmerio, was presiding over the drug and sodomy party in an apartment of the Palazzo Sant’Uffizio (where the CDF and Ecclesia Dei are also housed) where one of the partakers had an overdose.

    It is more than sex abuse of minors matter. It is total depravity at the highest levels of the Church!

  7. Alex Farnese says:

    This is a good start, but it is only a beginning. Will Cdl. Cupich be next?

    How about the “papal buddy” and cardinal mentioned here, who was caught “in flagrante delicto”?


  8. Innominato says:

    Has anyone read all the blogs on all the Catholic Websites regarding priestly sexual abuse? It is unanimous that Homosexual Priests are responsible for the widespread sexual abuses in large numbers in many, many countries. What has been revealed so far is the tip of the iceberg. As an 82 year old attorney practicing Law for over 57 years, I have through the years represented parents on a pro bono basis in assisting them to bring complaints of sexual abuse of their children to the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, etc. Guess what? All those Cardinals, Archbishops, etc. turned their back on our complaints. It is time for the Laity to rise up and clean the Catholic Church. How can we accomplish this cleansing?…

    • This is simply not true, innominate.

      • St. Christopher says:

        Avvocato “Innominato” speaks correctly. “Anonymous,” you, and your masters, are not well served, by your general denial. Where is “Innominato” not accurate? Let’s have some specifics, “Anonymous.” The public record is already full of examples of mendacious clerics (all levels) simply ignoring well-founded allegations of homosexual predation. Just look at what happened to Pope Francis recently in Chile. The Pope was forced to retreat and apologize due to world-wide disgust and condemnation at his arrogant dismissal of a claim of “sexual abuse,” when it was proven to be brought to his personal attention (which Francis denied). The laity needs to rise up to defend the Faith and Catholic people.

        • It’s definitely not unanimous, and that is because the evidence is that there were many many girls molested by priests.

    • First and foremost, bypass ecclestical authorities.

      Second, go straight to civil and criminal authorities, provided that the offense is still within the statute of limitations.

      Third, if the statute of limitations and jurisdiction can be met, see whether Federal courts are a viable alternative.

  9. I thought the protocol was one had to be an Archbishop before being named a Cardinal. While the Diocese of San Diego is larger than many Archdioceses, my uneducated guess is there is very low probability McElroy will be moving to DC.
    Can’t Francis pull Wuerl’s Elector rights anytime he wants?

    • No, you don’t even have to be a bishop.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      No, any baptized Catholic can be named a Cardinal. There have been a few simple priests over the years. I believe there have been lay Cardinals. And there is no canonical prohibition against women Cardinals, though none have ever been appointed.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, that is not correct. It is not any baptized Catholic. It must be a priest or bishop.
        Canon 351

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Anonymous, you are somewhat correct. Current canon law, as you point out, precludes lay cardinals. However, there is a well documented history of lay membership in the College, so by definition it is a matter of Church discipline and not doctrine. So any Pope who wanted to appoint lay Cardinals could simply amend the code. Thank you for the correction.

  10. Linda Maria says:

    What the poor, suffering victims of criminal clerical sex abuse crimes really need– is REAL ACTION by the Church, to PUBLICLY PUNISH the criminals, defrock and laicize them, excommunicate them– and send them to prison! Starting with McCarrick! He is a CRIMINAL!! He needs to be PUNISHED for his HORRIBLE, FILTHY CRIMES!! The Church fails to understand that! That is why the poor victims suffer– for the rest of their lives! And these crimes will happen again– until the Church starts to CARE!! Little children ad young adults need to be SAFE and PROTECTED in he Church!

  11. There will be healing when every last gay priest and cleric is kicked out the Church…..;

  12. Joan of El Cajon says:

    The healing wont’ happen, and the abuse will continue, as long as the hierarchy refuses to address the root problem: homosexuality.

  13. While I would like to see McElroy go to DC, I wouldn’t wish that on any other diocese/archdiocese. Better that he resign or be laicized.

  14. Alex Farnese says:

    Even after the disgraceful complicity by Wuerl, he has the unmitigated gall to authorize a self-egrandized advertisement on CNN, using funds from contributions made by the Archdiocese faithful:


    • Anonymous says:

      He has the right to defend himself.
      I’ll contribute.
      The attacks on him are an attack of the devil who is trying to weaken, divide and destroy the Catholic Church.
      I wish he had not resigned. He is a good bishop and a good Cardinal.
      You know where the door is if you don’t like the Church.

      • Alex Farnese says:

        Legitimate defense is one thing. Self-promotion paid for out of Archdiocesian funds, contributed by the lay faithful is another.

        Cdl. Wuerl das every right to defend himself. He can do it through his own resources.

      • Alex Farnese, the angels said “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of good will.” It is very hard to find anybody of good will now, even among Catholics. Everybody is so busy judging and fighting and calling for people to resign and disrespecting others and wishing evil on each other.
        I apologize for the door comment. I do not want you to leave the Church.
        You are entitled to your opinion, of course.
        Kicking people when they are down just isn’t a Christian behavior.

  15. Ann Malley says:

    Cutting off the gangrenous limbs will result in healing. Leaving them to fester won’t despite “hopes.” CCC 675 speaks of a religious solution that requires apostasy from the truth for good reason. Chew on that.

    • Anonymous says:

      CCC 675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

  16. Anonymous says:

    St. Christopher, I don’t know who George Soros is.
    I am standing up for the Church and its beliefs.
    Cardinal Dolan and Wuerl are not evil.
    I don’t care for some of the things Cupich says and I do not like McCarrick’s behavior.
    I don’t run the canonization process in the Church. I pray for the elevation of Pope Leo XIII.

    • “Cardinal Dolan and Wuerl are not evil. But they are complicit in the evil that has suffocated the Church BY NOT CALLING IT OUT……

    • St. Christopher says:

      “Anonymous,” of course you do. In any event, the public record is unrelenting in its condemnation of Cardinals Wuerl, Cupich, Dolan, and many others. Their preaching and public example (e.g., Dolan leading the now homosexualized St. Patrick’s Day parade and Cupich’s directive to his priests to avoid praying outside of abortion centers) are notorious for scandal and misleading their flocks on the True Faith.

  17. Anonymous says:

    All Catholics have the duty to defend the Faith. The Catholic Church cannot change it’s teachings because they are Truth. The Holy Spirit guides the Church through its leaders.
    Can. 220 No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Can. 222 §1. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.

    §2. They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor from their own resources.

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