A Major Church Figure in US Loses His Job

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, resigns over his handling of cases
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 12, 2018 5:56 AM CDT
Updated Oct 12, 2018 6:55 AM CDT
File photo of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl after he became entangled in two major sexual abuse and cover-up scandals and lost the support of many in his flock, per the AP. Wuerl, who turns 78 in November, becomes the most prominent head to roll in the scandal roiling the Catholic Church after his predecessor as Washington archbishop, Theodore McCarrick, was forced to resign as cardinal over allegations he sexually abused at least two minors and adult seminarians.

Wuerl also was faulted for his handling of sexual abuse cases in Pennsylvania during the 18 years he served as bishop of the diocese in Pittsburgh. All in all, Wuerl became "a prominent symbol of what many Catholics have come to regard as an infuriatingly weak and defensive response by their church to clerical sex abuse," writes Michelle Boorstein in the Washington Post. A Vatican statement Friday said Francis had accepted Wuerl's resignation, but named no immediate replacement. The decision came after months in which Wuerl progressively came to the conclusion that he could no longer lead the archdiocese.

(Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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