(Oct. 12, 2018) Cardinal Donald Wuerl quit today amid the ongoing Catholic church sex abuse scandal. Pope Francis accepted the Archbishop of Washington’s resignation. Mr. Wuerl is the latest casualty in the ongoing fallout from the shocking Pennsylvania grand jury investigation which concluded in August. After working for two years interviewing dozens of priest abuse victims and reading thousands of pages of internal church documents, the grand jury found that more than 300 priests had sexually molested more than 1,000 children — and likely abused thousands more — in the last six decades.
Cardinal Wuerl Apologizes
“Once again for any past errors in judgment, I apologize and ask for pardon,” said Mr. Wuerl. “My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the church of Washington.”
Related: Pennsylvania Priest Abuse Lawsuit
The Church Cover-up
The extent of the priest sex abuse in itself is demonstrably provable and acknowledged by church officials in the church’s own documents. But what is equally troubling and even more shocking is the extent of the church’s top-down cover-up of priest sex crimes against children.
Like Pope Francis and other top church officials, Mr. Wuerl has been accused of covering up sexual abuse to protect clergy members. He stands accused of reassigning accused priests to new posts without punishing them. He effectively let abusive priests off the hook for their alleged abuse, and worse. He reassigned them to unwitting parishes where they could abuse children again.
Mr. Wuerl, 77, was at the center of the Pennsylvania grand jury findings that priests had sexually abused more than 300 children over a 70 year period. As the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, Mr. Wuerl oversaw the height of the sexual abuse. He was then appointed to the archdiocese of Washington. There, he denied knowing that the man he replaced – now a disgraced Cardinal and former Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, whom the pope also protected — was suspected of child sex abuse.
Mr. Wuerl praised Pope Francis as he departed. “I am profoundly grateful for [Francis’] devoted commitment to the well-being of the archdiocese of Washington and also deeply touched by his gracious words of understanding.”
Men of God?
Are we all taking crazy pills? Both these “Men of God” appear to be riding a lunatic merry-go-round of shared adulation on which neither can claim credibility or honor. Their robes are scorched with the burning tears of abused children who were taught to trust their elders, and to trust their priests most of all. The innocence of thousands of abused children lies broken and bleeding at the coddled feet of these men of God.
Pope Francis Engineers Ongoing Coverup
Instead of encouraging the soul-cleansing mea culpa which the Catholic church teaches all of its penitents is the one true path to heaven, the pope has called for a very different M.O. for accused priests. Pope Francis has told his clergymen to remain silent “like Jesus on Good Friday,” when they stand accused of sex abuse crimes.
That histrionic nod to martyrdom may represent sound legal advice for a man running a corporation cowering under the potential weight of its legal liability in child sex abuse lawsuits. It is hardly the message to send true Christians or free thinkers who already suspect that the church’s hierarchical structure has led to this terrible crisis in the first place. The pope’s message for accused priests to remain silent instead of confessing their sins perverts the most salient teachings of the church itself.
What need of Catholic priests at all if not to hear confessions and help people pay penance and cleanse their souls? But for priests we get a double standard? Is their God different from ours? Does he, or she, as you will, offer a separate set of rules for those perched closer to the top of the church’s artificial hierarchy? It won’t wash. The pope is all wet.
The Catholic church is in trouble. The Pennsylvania grand jury report makes it impossible for many Catholics to ever look at their church in the same way again, to see it as a place of justice, where Christ’s light shines through the daily darkness of the temporal world, and love and truth reign supreme. Unless the truth be told, the light cannot shine through the darkness. Light and Truth must be synonyms for any viable church.
States investigate Catholic Church for Sex Abuse Crimes
In more bad news for the Catholic church, thirteen state’s attorneys general have requested all documents from their Catholic dioceses pertaining to sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic church in their states.