Pope accepts Cardinal Wuerl's resignation over sex abuse cover-up

Pope Francis talks as he meets youth and the Synod Fathers at the Pope Paul VI hall in Vatican

Pope Francis appointed him as a member of the 2014 and 2015 Synods on the Family. "It sounds like a letter written by a political leader forced to sack an underling very much against his will", he continued.

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".

"He seems to be sending the signal that he is not the Pope to clean out the stables", Shaw remarked.

According to The Australian Herald, he is so convinced that Satan is to blame for both the sexual abuse scandals and the divisions within the Church that he has enlisted the aid of spiritual big gun - St. Michael the Archangel.

The pope, in accepting Wuerl's resignation as archbishop on Friday, asked him to stay on temporarily and suggested Wuerl had unfairly become a scapegoat, having made some "mistakes" in handling sex abuse cases, but not having covered them up.

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 added: "However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense". I strongly doubt that McCarrick was of interest to him to the point that you believed him to be, since at the moment he was an 82-year-old Archbishop Emeritus who had been without an appointment for seven years. In the immediate aftermath of the report's release, the archdiocese published a website attempting to defend Wuerl's record, a move that brought widespread condemnation.

On the abuse crisis, Wuerl also would have been as among the more aggressive American bishops in supporting and implementing a "zero tolerance" policy - ironically, a reputation that reached back to his time as the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

Before the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released in mid-August, the book on Donald Wuerl would have been that he was among the most influential churchmen in American Catholicism over the last fifty years, and arguably the single most important of the last 20.

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.

Columnist Fr. Raymond de Souza suggested that Wuerl was brought down because his priests became exhausted of a "clerical culture of mendacity".

Pope Francis also implored Catholics around the world to pray every day throughout October for the church to win out over the devil's assaults.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the conference, arrive for a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct 5.

Cardinal Ouellet, head of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, said in his rebuttal that Archbishop Vigano had spoken untruths and was guilty of a "scandalous rebellion", Catholic News Service reports.

"It may be that the priests of Washington, after Pennsylvania, after McCarrick, were just exhausted of a culture that was less than forthright".

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