WASHINGTON - Cardinal Donald Wuerl will ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation in light of the ongoing Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, the Archdiocese of Washington has confirmed.
This comes after a Pennsylvania grand jury report released last month stated that hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused more than 1,000 children while also alleging that Wuerl and other senior church leaders conducted a “systematic cover-up.” Wuerl was the head of Pittsburgh’s diocese from 1988 to 2006.
Wuerl, who is now Washington's archbishop, sent a letter to priests on Tuesday saying that he plans to travel to Rome to meet with Pope Francis in the near future to discuss the resignation letter he submitted nearly three years ago. At the time, Wuerl had turned 75 years old, which is the customary retirement age in the church despite calls from many for him to step down.
After the grand jury report was released last month, Wuerl told FOX 5 in an exclusive interview that he would not resign from his post and defended his record of dealing with predator priests while he was Pittsburgh’s bishop.
Pope Francis will meet with U.S. cardinals and bishops Thursday to discuss the sex abuse scandal, according to the Vatican.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis has summoned the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences to a summit next February to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.
Information from the Associated Press used in this report.