In the midst of the controversial days of Catholic Church in United States and other countries, the highest ranking church official of US Catholic is now resigning amid the issues circulating online and offline.
Pope Francis has accept the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a well-known and America’s most powerful figure.
The pontiff has accept the resignation of Cardinal Wuerl, the embattled archbishop of Washington.
However, upon greenlighting the resignation of the cardinal, Pope Francis gives high praise for Wuerl in the wake of two clergy sexual abuse scandals angered some abuse survivors.
Due to the praises he gave, the latter receives negative feedback from netizens.
It can be remembered that Wuerl is the most prominent American Catholic to step down since the abuse scandal reignited this summer.
But Francis has asked Wuerl to remain as the archdiocese’s apostolic administrator — akin to an interim manager — until a successor is named.
And in a letter released Friday, the pope praised Wuerl for his “nobility” in handling the criticism against him.
As of posting, Cardinal Wuerl acknowledges calls for leadership change, doesn’t mention his future.
The Pope wrote that Wuerl has “sufficient elements to ‘justify'” his 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 pope wrote.
Significantly, while Wuerl is resigning as archbishop of Washington, he will remain a cardinal. He is still part of the powerful College of Cardinals and is one of only 10 American cardinals who could choose the next Pope.
The Pope’s praise of Wuerl also comes just days after the Vatican announced that it was investigating his predecessor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Wuerl has been accused by a former papal diplomat of knowing about allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians. Wuerl has denied the accusations.
“Although Cardinal Wuerl as of today is no longer the archbishop of Washington, he certainly doesn’t seem to be out of favor with the boss,” CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen said, referring to the tone of the Pope’s letter about Wuerl’s resignation.
Wuerl, who turns 78 in November, technically tendered his resignation upon reaching age 75, as all Catholic bishops and cardinals do. But cardinals are often allowed to serve until they are 80.
Wuerl said that he was deeply touched by the pope’s “gracious words of understanding” in Friday’s letter, and he asked for forgiveness for “past errors.”
“The Holy Father’s decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future,” Wuerl said in a statement released by the archdiocese. “It permits this local Church to move forward.
“Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon. My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington.”
But abuse survivors, many of whom had called for Wuerl’s resignation, blasted the Pope on Friday for praising Wuerl’s “heart of a shepherd.”