Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the embattled archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Vatican said Friday, ending months of speculation about the fate of one of the most powerful officials in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church, now under fire for his handling of clerical sex abuse. But the pope used the occasion to laud the cardinal for his exemplary leadership.
“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. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you.”, the Pontiff wrote in his letter of acceptance for the resignation of the Washington Cardinal.
An inquiry by the Pennsylvania Public Prosecutor’s Office, released in August, revealed particularly brutal sexual offenses that were committed for decades by at least 300 “predatory priests”. At least one hundred children fell victims of these actions, which were kept secret by the Catholic Church, the authors of the report said.