Pope accepts Washington cardinal’s resignation amid scandal

Francis finally accepted his resignation, praising him as he did so.

The case against Wuerl plus some words of defense.

But a grand jury report issued in August on rampant sex abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses accused Wuerl of helping to protect some child-molesting priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

Simultaneously, Wuerl faced widespread skepticism over his insistence that he knew nothing about years of alleged sexual misconduct by McCarrick.

A salient skeleton in his closet:

In one case cited in the report, Wuerl – acting on a doctor’s recommendation – enabled priest William O’Malley to return to active ministry as a canonical consultant in 1998 despite allegations of abuse lodged against him in the past and his own admission that he was sexually interested in adolescents.

Years later, according to the report, six more people alleged that they were sexually assaulted by O’Malley, in some cases after he had been reinstated.

The defense speaks:

His defenders have cited a case that surfaced in 1988, when a 19-year-old former seminarian, Tim Bendig, filed a lawsuit accusing a priest, Anthony Cipolla, of molesting him.

Wuerl initially questioned Bendig’s account but later accepted it and moved to oust Cipolla from the priesthood.

The Vatican’s highest court ordered Wuerl to restore Cipolla to the ministry, but Wuerl resisted and, after two years of legal procedures, prevailed in preventing Cipolla’s return.

A Jesuit would absolve him — or give a light penance.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest who writes for Religion News Service, described Wuerl as an ideological moderate.

“He was totally enthusiastic about John Paul II, and then Pope Benedict, and now he’s totally enthusiastic about Pope Francis,” Reese said. “There are not many people in the church who are totally enthusiastic about all three of them.”

Ideological moderate, eh? Or a weather vane.

via WGN-TV

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