Pressing pope to accept his resignation, Cardinal Wuerl does the right thing

webRNS-Wuerl-Resignation1-091318

Source: Religion News Service

By Thomas Reese

(RNS) — Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has done the right thing. He has asked Pope Francis to accept his resignation, which he submitted three years ago when he reached 75, the age at which all Catholic bishops submit their resignations.

The cardinal has been under heavy pressure to resign ever since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released in August, in which Wuerl was criticized for his handling of abusive priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh (1988-2006). He is the first U.S. cardinal to resign his archdiocese as a result of the abuse crisis since Cardinal Bernard Law did so in 2002 for his failure to deal with abusive priests in Boston.

Wuerl’s episcopal career began in controversy and now ends in controversy. His first episcopal appointment was in 1986 as an auxiliary bishop in Seattle where the Vatican wanted him to be a check on the liberal Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. Wuerl was soon transferred to his home diocese of Pittsburgh when his position in Seattle became untenable.

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