The letter said Wuerl made some "mistakes" in dealing with sex abuse cases. "They're removing him from this situation where people feel betrayed, but he's still got all the power pretty much that he ever had".
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington, but asked him to continue as Apostolic Administrator until a successor is appointed. The pope also praised Cardinal Wuerl's "nobility" in choosing to step down rather than defend his record under fire. Of this, I am proud and thank you.
Cardinal Wuerl has said until the Archdiocese of NY began investigating the claims that Archbishop McCarrick abused a minor, he was never informed of such accusations or even the rumors of Archbishop McCarrick's sexual harassment of seminarians. But Francis kept him on, as popes tend to do with able-bodied bishops who share their pastoral priorities. In this capacity, Wuerl attended the 1978 conclave that elected Pope St. John Paul II as an aide to the ailing Cardinal Wright. However, the letter said Wuerl was not accused of trying to hide them.
Francis saw Wuerl as that shepherd, a force for unity.
Last month, Wuerl traveled to Rome to discuss his possible resignation with Pope Francis.
"If the pope truly wants a pure faith and Catholics that can walk in on Sunday morning with their head held high ... then they will open up every secret archive in the world, and that's the bottom line", she said at Josh Shapiro's news conference.
The cardinal's supporters have argued that he was an early leader on the issue of clergy sex abuse, and that he did as much as he could to remove unsafe individuals from ministry before the USA bishops' 2002 Dallas Charter instituted new norms and canonical tools. In accepting his resignation now, Francis asked that Wuerl remain as the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.
I also take this occasion to express my honest appreciation to Cardinal Wuerl for his longstanding and dedicated service to Our Lord Jesus and his Church. "We are going to each be asked to speak our mind on what we think needs to be done", he said.
And as a member of the Congregation for Bishops, Wuerl will still shape the American church for decades to come by helping to pick its bishops. "And that was to introduce the zero tolerance and... any priest against whom there was a credible, proven accusation, that appropriate action was taken", Wuerl had said.
Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, is repeatedly cited as one of the church leaders who helped to cover up the scandal, and he has faced numerous calls for his resignation, including from his own clergy.
The report is thought to be the most comprehensive to date into abuse in the U.S. church, and it covered six diocese in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh.
However, the grand jury documented other cases where accused priests in Pittsburgh were allowed to return to parish work.
"It was clear that some decision, sooner rather than later, on my part is an essential aspect so that this archdiocesan Church we all love can move forward", Cardinal Wuerl wrote in a September 11 letter to the priests of his archdiocese.
But it soon became clear that he would become the biggest target of outrage over the Pennsylvania report. They included a letter from the archdiocesan chancellor, Kim Vitti Fiorentino, who lamented that Wuerl's "pioneering leadership in the enhancement, implementation and enforcement of historically innovative child protection policies was overshadowed by the (Pennsylvania grand jury) report's flaws and its interpretation by the media".