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Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid abuse cover-up scandal

12 October 2018

The Vatican press office October 6 published a statement saying Pope Francis has decided that as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continues its investigations into the sex abuse allegations against Cardinal McCarrick, "a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the archives of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick" will take place.

Ouellet said there was no evidence of a cover up.

DiNardo on Sunday "welcomed" the "additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault".

Pope Francis greets Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, before a private audience September 13 at the Vatican.

In his letter, Pope Francis said Cardinal Wuerl's choice to step down reflected the "heart of the shepherd" who seeks church unity over "sterile division sown by the father of lies", the devil, who "wants nothing more than that the sheep be dispersed".

The president of the US bishops' conference welcomed Pope Francis' pledge to fight attempts to cover up cases of sexual abuse and to stop offering special treatment to bishops who have committed or covered up abuse.

Last month, Wuerl traveled to Rome to discuss his possible resignation with Pope Francis.

The Vatican announced a new investigation into McCarrick's case on Saturday and how he rose through the church's hierarchy, more than a month after Vigano's original accusations.

The Vatican was informed starting in at least 2000 about the seminarian complaints.

Since then, another man has come forward saying McCarrick molested him when he was a young teenager and other men have said they were harassed by McCarrick as adult seminarians and young priests.

This isn't the first time the Pope has mentioned the scandal within the Church. Archbishop Vigano later explained that Pope Benedict issued the sanctions "privately" perhaps "due to the fact that he (Archbishop McCarrick) was already retired, maybe due to the fact that he (Pope Benedict) was thinking he was ready to obey". The historic record, however, is rife with evidence that McCarrick travelled widely in the years in which he was allegedly under sanction, with even Vigano toasting him warmly at an awards ceremony in NY in 2012.

Both Pope Francis' letter and the statement by Cardinal Wuerl can be seen on the website of the Archdiocese of Washington.

McCarrick escaped being sanctioned because "at that time, unlike today, there was not sufficient proof of his alleged guilt". "Of this, I am proud and thank you", Francis wrote in the letter.

In the letter, Vigano accused Francis of making McCarrick a "trusted counselor".

Patrick Hornbeck, chair of the theology department at Fordham University in NY, said in September that many people were "looking to Pope Francis to show a degree of leadership on this matter that he hasn't yet shown".

Ouellet pointed out that the June 2013 meeting occurred as Francis was meeting with all his ambassadors for the first time and was gathering an "enormous quantity of verbal and written information" about the church. As prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Ouellet meets weekly with Francis to discuss nominations, and presumably would have come to understand if McCarrick had Francis' ear.

Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid abuse cover-up scandal