In a letter entitled “To Begin the Healing,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl said he is prepared to step down as archbishop of Washington.
Wuerl, the former bishop of Pittsburgh, has been scrutinized since the release of a grand jury report on child sex abuse by priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses. He was named nearly 200 times for his alleged involvement in the cover-up.
“Those called to serve the Church in a leadership capacity must recognize that we are to lead not only by word, but also by personal action,” Wuerl said in the letter posted Thursday on the Archdiocese of Washington’s website. “We must be prepared to do whatever is needed, including stepping aside. This action on my part is an essential aspect of the healing so that this archdiocesan Church we all love can move forward.”
CLICK HERE to read the full letter.
Wuerl has proposed a “season of healing” that will begin Friday with a special Mass that will “give voice to the pain and suffering of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and failures in episcopal oversight, while also recognizing the pain and wound of the whole Church.”
This “first step in the necessary healing process for our Church” will be followed by Wuerl’s meeting with Pope Francis about his proposed resignation, the letter stated.
Wuerl served as bishop for the Diocese of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. After the August release of the grand jury report focused on six Pennsylvania dioceses -- including Pittsburgh -- calls for his resignation began.
In light of the grand jury report and a petition, Wuerl’s name was removed from North Catholic High School. His name had been added to the school in 2013 when it moved from Pittsburgh Troy Hill neighborhood to Cranberry Township.
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