U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys

Archbishop of Washington resigns over Catholic Church abuse

Cardinal Donald Wuerl's resignation has been accepted by Pope Francis. 

The Vatican announced it on Friday. The Cardinal, 77, has been under scrutiny because of his handling of historic sexual abuse allegations during his time as the bishop of Pittsburgh between 1988 and 2006.

A grand jury report into the Catholic church said there were more than 300 'predator priests' who could have abused 1000 children across six dioceses, including the diocese of Pittsburgh and Fr Ernest Paone. 

It says: "despite Wuerl's summary of the serious and criminal nature of the problem to the Vatican, Diocesan records revealed that Wuerl granted Paone's request to be reassigned again on October 22, 1991."

It continues: "Wuerl noted that Paone has most recently served on a high school faculty in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Wuerl' s continued approval permitted Paone to enjoy all the faculties of the Diocese. On November 20, 1991, Zubik wrote to Paone to confirm that Wuerl had approved his new assignment."

Before it was published, he said the report "will be a reminder of the grave failings that the church must acknowledge and for which it must seek forgiveness."

He was accused of covering up his predecessor and faced increasing pressure to step down.

The Archdiocese of Washington previously defended Wuerl, sending detailed explanations of his actions to clergy and pushing back against accusations that he failed to appropriately deal with paedophile priests. 

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning. 

« Back to the last issue

You may also like...

Pope Francis has strongly criticised US bishops for damaging... More

The Vatican has called the sex abuse described in a grand jury... More

More than a thousand children were molested by hundreds of Roman... More

Pope Francis has declined to accept the resignation of French... More