Donald Wuerl

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Donald Wuerl
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| birth_place = Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.| death_date = | death_place = | buried = Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh (1988–2006)>Titular Bishop of Rossmarkaeum (1986–1988)Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle>Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle (1986–1988)}}Catholic Church>Roman Catholic| residence = | parents = | alma_mater = | signature = | motto = Thy kingdom come| coat_of_arms = }}

name Donald William Wuerl| dipstyle=
    {{Ordination | ordained deacon by = | date of diaconal ordination = | place of diaconal ordination = | ordained priest by = | date of priestly ordination = | place of priestly ordination = Pope John Paul II>John Paul II| co-consecrators = | date of consecration = January 6, 1986| place of consecration = | elevated by = | date of elevation = | bishop 1 = William J. Winter| consecration date 1 = February 13, 1989| bishop 2 = Thomas Joseph Tobin| consecration date 2 = December 27, 1992| bishop 3 = David Zubik| consecration date 3 = April 6, 1997| bishop 4 = Paul J. Bradley| consecration date 4 = February 2, 2005| bishop 5 = Herbert Bevard| consecration date 5 = September 3, 2008| sources = | bishop 6 = Barry Christopher Knestout| consecration date 6 = December 29, 2008| bishop 7 = Mario E. Dorsonville| consecration date 7 = April 20, 2015| bishop 8 = Roy Edward Campbell| consecration date 8 = April 21, 2017}}Donald William Wuerl (born November 12, 1940) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church, and was Archbishop of Washington, D.C. from 2006 to 2018. He was elevated by Pope John Paul II to serve as Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle (1986–1987), and Bishop of Pittsburgh (1988–2006). He was named Archbishop of Washington by Pope Benedict XVI and made a cardinal by him in 2010. Wuerl was the subject of a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that praised and criticized how he handled sexual abuse cases during his time in Pittsburgh. Wuerl has denied mishandling the cases. On October 12, 2018, Pope Francis accepted his resignation as Archbishop of Washington. Wuerl remained in charge of the archdiocese as its apostolic administrator until Pope Francis appointed his successor, Wilton Daniel Gregory, in 2019. He remains a member of the College of Cardinals, eligible to vote in a papal election.NEWS, Daniel, Burke, Abuse survivors angry over Pope's praise for fallen cardinal, CNN, 12 October 2018,weblink

    Early life and education

    Donald Wuerl was born on November 12, 1940, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the second of four children of Francis and Mary Anna (née Schiffauer) Wuerl.NEWS, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Wuerl, Donald William (1940– ),weblink Miranda, Salvador, He has two brothers, Wayne and Dennis, and a sister, Carol.NEWS, May 14, 1994, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Francis J. Wuerl, Whose 4 Children Included a Bishop, Rodgers-Melnick, Ann, His father worked nights weighing freight cars for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and served in the navy during World War II. His mother died in 1944 and his father married Kathryn Cavanaugh in 1946.Wuerl received his early education at the parochial school of St. Mary of the Mount Church in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1958.NEWS, May 17, 2006, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington, D.C., Archbishop-Designate Donald Wuerl, He attended St. Gregory Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio for his freshman and sophomore years of college from September 1958 thru May 1960. He then attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he was a Basselin Scholar at Theological College,NEWS, The Catholic University of America, News & Events,weblink July 31, 2011,weblink" title="">weblink August 30, 2011, dead, earning a bachelor's degree (1962) and master's degree (1963) in philosophy.NEWS, June 12, 2006, The Washington Times, Wuerl a 'Teaching Bishop' â€“ McCarrick's Successor Prepares to Lead Diocese of Washington, Duin, Julia, Wuerl expressed an interest in becoming a priest early in life. He even held mock masses for his brothers and sisters at home.NEWS, Smith, Peter, The path of Cardinal Donald Wuerl: From Pittsburgh priest to Washington archbishop,weblink 10 December 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12 October 2018, He continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He earned a master's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1967. After ordination, Wuerl was sent to Rome for further theological study. He is an alumnus of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum where he obtained a Doctor of Sacred Theology in 1974.While a student in Rome, Wuerl had the chance to observe the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council.

    Early career

    He was ordained a priest on December 17, 1966.Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh – History of Bishops Webpage – Retrieved on October 18, 2008 {{webarchive|url= |date=December 31, 2009 }} His first assignment was as assistant pastor at St. Rosalia parish in Pittsburgh's Greenfield neighborhood and as secretary to Pittsburgh's Bishop John Wright. After Wright was elevated to cardinal in 1969, Wuerl was his full-time secretary in Vatican City from 1969 until Wright's death in 1979. Because Wright was recovering from surgery and confined to a wheelchair, Wuerl, as Wright's secretary, was one of three non-cardinals permitted inside the conclave that selected Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II in 1978.NEWS,weblink 1978: With John Paul II, a New Era Began for the Church, Almade, Frank D., September 29, 2008, Pittsburgh Catholic, August 25, 2016,weblink" title="">weblink September 24, 2016, dead, NEWS, Filteau, Jerry, Wuerl in 1978 Conclave That Elected John Paul II,weblink August 25, 2016, National Catholic Reporter, November 20, 2010, NEWS, August 25, 2016, Cardinal Donald Wuerl: The Pope's Man in Washington, David, Gibson,weblink The Washington Post, December 23, 2015, Religion News Service, (Wright had missed the first of the two 1978 conclaves.)In 1976, he, with Thomas Comerford Lawler and Ronald David Lawler, co-wrote a catechism for adults, The Teaching of Christ, which has since appeared in several editions and has been widely translated.NEWS, The Washington Post, 25 May 2017, 28 November 2005,weblink Thomas Lawler Dies; Author and Editor of Catholic Catechism, Patricia, Sullivan, Wuerl was rector at Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh from 1981 to 1985. In 1982, he was made executive secretary to Bishop John Marshall of Burlington, Vermont, who was leading a Vatican-mandated study of US seminaries.BOOK, A Clear and Quiet Conscience: The Archbishop Who Challenged a Pope, a President, and a Church,weblink John A., McCoy, Orbis Books, 9781608335459, 2015, NEWS, September 23, 1981, Kenneth A., Briggs, Vatican Will Investigate U.S. Seminaries with Aid of Bishops, The New York Times,weblink August 25, 2016,

    Episcopal career

    Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle

    On December 3, 1985, Wuerl was appointed titular bishop of Rosemarkie and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Wuerl was consecrated bishop on January 6, 1986, at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy, by Pope John Paul II. Wuerl and Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen worked in adjoining offices without conflict for several months until, in May 1986, they found themselves with opposing positions on proposed state legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment.NEWS, The New York Times, August 24, 2016, December 9, 1986,weblink 2 Bishops of Seattle Striving to Work with Split Powers, Wallace, Turner, At that point Hunthausen learned for the first time that Wuerl had been charged with responsibility—"complete and final decision-making power"—for several key areas normally within the Archbishop's control: worship and liturgy; the archdiocesan tribunal that considers requests for marriage annulment; seminarians, priestly formation and laicized priests; moral issues; and issues of health care and ministry to homosexuals.NEWS, Vatican Moves to Curtail Power of a Liberal Prelate in Seattle,weblink August 25, 2016, The New York Times, Associated Press, September 5, 1986, DISSERTATION, Conflict in the Catholic Hierarchy: A Study of Coping Strategies in the Hunthausen Affair, with Preferential Attention to Discursive Strategies, doctoral dissertation, Schilling, Timothy Peter, Utrecht, Netherlands, Utrecht University, 2003, 1874/601, free, The division of authority only became public when Hunthausen announced it in September 1986.While some chancery officials expressed support for Wuerl, some questioned his role and saw little impact a year after his appointment. In November, Hunthausen won support for his objections to the Vatican's restrictions on his authority from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.NEWS, August 24, 2016, February 16, 1987, Pope Meets with Wuerl in Hunthausen Controversy, UPI,weblink In February 1987, the Vatican announced that a commission of US bishops would investigate the situation in Seattle, and Wuerl met privately with Pope John Paul II and declined to comment, saying "I'm just going to wait and see what the commission does". In May 1987, following a review by the commission headed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Pope John Paul II restored Hunthausen's full authority as bishop, and appointed Thomas Joseph Murphy as coadjutor to assist and succeed Hunthausen.NEWS, Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2016, May 27, 1987, Russell, Chandler, Pope Restores Full Powers to Hunthausen,weblink Wuerl later said the arrangement had been "unworkable". Following the restoration of Hunthausen's authority, Wuerl moved to a Pittsburgh suburb to await his next posting.NEWS, Associated Press, The New York Times, August 24, 2016, Bishop Calls for Sharing of Authority an Unworkable Venture in Seattle,weblink Wuerl and Hunthausen eventually became friends. Wuerl said that Hunthausen taught him a great deal about the work of being a Bishop.WEB, Allen, John L., Abuse scandal isn't the only chapter in Donald Wuerl's story,weblink Crux, Crux Catholic Media Inc., 10 December 2018,

    Bishop of Pittsburgh

    Wuerl was appointed the eleventh bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh on February 12, 1988 and installed on March 25, 1988.The biggest financial problem facing the diocese came from its school system. Many of the parishes were built when Catholic immigrants were swelling the population of Pittsburgh to work in the steel mills. During this era, parishes were established along ethnic lines so that parishioners could attend services in their native tongues and maintain their national traditions. This resulted in having as many as six-to-eight parishes within blocks of each other. After World War II, there was a major effort to build a school for every parish. These schools were usually staffed by nuns who were given nominal compensation. This system began to break down in the 1970s. First, the Baby Boom subsided resulting in a massive reduction in student population. Second, Catholics became less likely to send their children to Catholic schools. Third, during this period there was a massive culture shift among nuns, partially in response to Vatican II, that resulted in many sisters choosing missions unrelated to education. They had to be replaced with lay staff paid market salaries.BOOK, Rodgers, Ann, Aquilina, Mark, Something More Pastoral: The Mission of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, 2015, Lambing Press, Bishop Wuerl asked his committee of lay advisors to address the debt and deficit spending associated with Catholic education in Pittsburgh. 1n 1988, that committee determined that 48 of the then 333 parishes owed a total of $5.6 million. A rescue plan was announced in February 1989. Bishop Wuerl announced that $1.1 million owed to the diocese for insurance and the Parish Share Program would be forgiven. Indebted parishes would be given low-interest loans to refinance their other obligations. Despite the financial condition of the diocese, Bishop Wuerl decided to expand health services. Bishop Wuerl worked with hospitals and community groups to create a group home for people suffering from AIDS, this when AIDS was little understood and almost always fatal. In 2003, Bishop Wuerl conducted a successful $2.5 million fundraising campaign to create the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center. The clinic primarily serves the uninsured working poor.In 1989, Wuerl merged Sacred Heart and St. Paul Cathedral High Schools to establish Oakland Catholic High School (all three female-only schools) in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, using the buildings of St. Paul Cathedral High School.WEB,weblink History, Oakland Catholic High School, Wuerl launched and hosted a television program, The Teaching of Christ, in 1990 and wrote an adult catechism with the same name. He taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as a distinguished service professor. Wuerl has served as a chaplain since 1999 for the Order of Malta, Federal Association, USA, a division of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, commonly referred to as the Knights of Maltaweblink {{Webarchive|url= |date=July 27, 2011 }} Order Of Malta Federal Association, USA official website – The Chaplains of the Order of Malta, Federal Association webpage – Retrieved on November 10, 2008 Wuerl has also written regular columns in Columbia, the major publication of the Knights of Columbus in the United States.Knights of Columbus.weblink Bishop Wuerl, the diocese had to reorganize itself in response to demographic changes, the decline of the steel industry, and the church's weak financial position. That process was officially completed in March 1994. Wuerl closed 73 church buildings, which included 37 churches, and reduced 331 parishes by 117 through merging while bishop of Pittsburgh; he was managing the remaining 214 parishes when he left in June 2006.NEWS,weblink Mike, Wereschagin, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bishop Zubik Will Face Many Obstacles, July 22, 2007, October 23, 2008, Wuerl's plan, The Parish Reorganization and Revitalization Project,WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2006-06-14, dead,weblink" title="">weblink June 14, 2006, mdy, Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh official website news release – Bishop Wuerl Appointed Archbishop Of Washington – May 16, 2006 – Retrieved on October 23, 2008 is now used as a model for other dioceses seeking parish suppression.{{citation needed|date=August 2016}}File:President George W. Bush and Archbishop of Washington.jpg|thumb|260px|President Bush and wife Laura with outgoing Archbishop McCarrick (left) and incoming Wuerl (right), welcome papal nuncio Pietro SambiPietro SambiThe mansion that housed Wuerl for over two decades, as well as his four predecessors in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, was sold since the new bishop David Zubik decided to live at St. Paul's Seminary.NEWS,weblink Diocese to Sell Roomy Shadyside Mansion, Smith, Craig, November 8, 2008, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Tribune-Review Publishing Company, November 10, 2008, {{Dead link|date=July 2019 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}NEWS,weblink Bishops' Mansion Was Home for Precious Antiques, Paintings, Pitz, Marylynne, March 14, 2009, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PG Publishing Co., March 18, 2009, Under Bishop Wuerl, the diocese began to emphasize placing women into positions of responsibility and authority. Rosemarie Cibik, a former superintendent of public instruction, became the first lay superintendent of Catholic schools in Pittsburgh. Rita Joyce, a canon and civil lawyer, became the first lay member of the diocesan marriage tribunal. Sister Margaret Hannan was appointed to the position of associate general secretary of the diocese. Later she rose to the position of chancellor, the highest canonical post that can be occupied by one who is not ordained.

    Archbishop of Washington

    Pope Benedict XVI appointed Wuerl Archbishop of Washington on May 16, 2006.NEWS, The Washington Post, August 25, 2016,weblink McCarrick Successor Seen As a 'Vote for Continuity', May 17, 2006, Alan, Cooperman, Caryle, Murphy, He was installed on June 22 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate ConceptionNEWS, The Washington Post, August 25, 2016, June 23, 2006, Wuerl Is Installed As D.C. Archbishop,weblink Michelle, Boorstein, and received the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2006.In April 2008 Wuerl, as Archbishop of Washington, hosted the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the District of Columbia, which included a visit to the White House, the celebration of Vespers at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Mass at the new Nationals Park, and an address at the Catholic University of America.File:WuerlFrancisVisitCut.png|260px|right|thumb|Wuerl and President Obama welcome Pope FrancisPope FrancisWuerl was chairman of the board of directors of the National Catholic Educational Association from December 12, 2005,National Catholic Educational Association – Press Release Webpage – From January 4, 2006 – Retrieved on May 18, 2009National Catholic Educational Association – Board of Directors Webpage Retrieved on October 17, 2008 and was also chancellor of The Catholic University of America. In September 2010, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith named Wuerl its delegate in the United States for facilitating the implementation of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009 to provide for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church in a corporate manner.PRESS RELEASE, August 25, 2016, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Doctrine of the Faith Congregation Names Archbishop Wuerl to Guide Bringing Anglican Groups into Catholic Church in U.S.,weblink September 23, 2010, He also heads the US bishops' ad hoc committee to support that implementation.NEWS, O'Brien, Nancy Frazier, Report on U.S. Ordinariate for Ex-Anglicans,weblink August 25, 2016, National Catholic Reporter, Catholic News Service, June 16, 2011, Wuerl submitted his resignation in 2015, as required by any Bishop who turns 75, which was accepted in 2018.WEB,weblink Pope Accepts Resignation Of D.C. Archbishop Donald Wuerl Amid Sex Abuse Crisis, NPR, 12 October 2018, 12 October 2018,

    Commitment to priestly formation

    From 1994 until 2003, as Bishop of Pittsburgh, Wuerl served as a member of the board of governors of the Pontifical North American College in Rome (Chairman, 1998–1999), representing the Pennsylvania-New Jersey Region (Region III) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In 2008, as Archbishop of Washington he was again elected to the college's board of governors, this time representing the Washington DC-Delaware-Maryland-Virginia-West Virginia region of the conference (Region IV).


    On November 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated Wuerl to the College of Cardinals in a public consistory held at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.NEWS, August 25, 2016, November 20, 2010, Rachel, Donadio, The New York Times, Pope Elevates Cardinals in Festive Ceremony,weblink He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli.NEWS, Winters, Michael Sean, Wuerl Gets San Pietro in Vincoli,weblink August 25, 2016, National Catholic Reporter, November 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Wuerl to the following: member of the Congregation for the Clergy and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (December 2010);{{Citation needed|date=January 2011}} Relator-General (recording secretary) of the 2012 World Synod of Bishops meeting on the New Evangelization (October 24, 2011);NEWS,weblink August 24, 2016, October 24, 2011, DC's Cardinal Named Relator-General for Evangelization Synod, member of the Pontifical Council for Culture for a five-year renewable term (December 10, 2011);PRESS RELEASE,weblink it, Vatican Press Service, December 10, 2010, Rinunce e Nomine, member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (April 21, 2012);PRESS RELEASE,weblink it, Vatican Press Service, April 21, 2012, Pontifical Acts, and by Pope Francis, member of the influential Congregation for Bishops (December 16, 2013).NEWS, The Washington Post, August 25, 2016, Archbishop Wuerl Appointed to Vatican Panel That Names Bishops,weblink Michelle, Boorstein, December 16, 2013, In 2011, Wuerl faced widespread criticism for his role in the U.S. bishops' criticism of St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, one of the "most prominent and respected theologians" in the U.S.weblink Wuerl Resigns, Ending Influential Tenure in Wake of Abuse Report, October 12, 2018, National Catholic ReporterWuerl was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.NEWS, The Washington Post, August 25, 2016, Rome-Bound, D.C.'s Cardinal Wuerl Says Next Pope Must Evangelize a Hectic World,weblink February 22, 2016, Michelle, Boorstein,

    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

    Wuerl worked as a consensus builder in order to mediate ideological conflicts over issues such as liturgical translation and communion for pro-choice political leaders in the 1990s and 2000s. His consensus-building power was derived from the high level of trust he cultivated with his colleagues.Wuerl was essential to the passage of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by the conference. The charter required that any clergyman who sexually abuses a child never again serve in ministry.

    Public positions

    Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and journalist, said in 2006 that "[Wuerl is] quite orthodox theologically, but he doesn't like to play cop; he's not an authoritarian person." In 2018, Reese described him as an ideological moderate with regard to Catholic theological disputes, stating, "He's not an old leftie, he's not a right-wing culture warrior. ... He was totally enthusiastic about John Paul II, and then Pope Benedict, and now he's totally enthusiastic about Pope Francis. There are not many people in the church who are totally enthusiastic about all three of them." John Allen, Jr. said that Wuerl "was able to forge behind-the-scenes consensus because he was trusted by virtually all parties as someone who wouldn't embarrass them in public, and because he was seen as at least somewhat sympathetic to their points of view."

    Religion and politics

    In cases where politicians and officeholders take policy positions that are at odds with church doctrine, Wuerl said the decision to offer communion should be made case-by-case: "Our primary job is to teach and try to convince people. The tradition in our country has not been in the direction of refusing Communion, and I think it's served us well."NEWS,weblink Pope Names Pittsburgh Bishop to Washington, D.C., Post, The New York Times, May 17, 2006, Laurie, Goodstein, August 24, 2016, In 2009, the Council of the District of Columbia passed a same-sex marriage bill. In November 2009, Wuerl signed an ecumenical statement, known as the (Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience|Manhattan Declaration), calling on evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion, same-sex marriage, and other practices that go against their religious consciences.Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience {{webarchive |url= |date=September 1, 2013 }} The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman and that the extension of the civil definition of marriage to same-sex couples undermines the common good of society as a whole.WEB, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage: Frequently Asked Questions,weblink Washington, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,weblink" title="">weblink June 30, 2011, September 11, 2018, In the debate on the D.C. same-sex marriage bill, the Archdiocese of Washington advocated for religious liberty provisions that would protect the church's ability to provide social services (e.g. adoption) in accordance with Catholic teaching on marriage.Archdiocese of Washington website – Same Sex Marriage {{webarchive |url= |date=October 25, 2010 }}After The Washington Post characterized the archdiocese as giving an "ultimatum" to the cityNEWS, The Washington Post,weblink Catholic Church Gives D.C. Ultimatum, November 12, 2009, Tim, Craig, Michelle, Boorstein, and The New York Times called it a "threat",NEWS, Urbina, Ian, New Turn in Debate over Law on Marriage,weblink August 25, 2016, The New York Times, November 12, 2009, Wuerl wrote a letter to the Post stating there was "no threat or ultimatum to end services, just a simple recognition that the new requirements by the city for religious organizations to recognize same-sex marriages in their policies could restrict our ability to provide the same level of services as we do now."NEWS, The Washington Post, November 22, 2009, Donald W., Wuerl,weblink Archbishop Donald Wuerl on D.C.'s Same-Sex Marriage Bill, In December 2009, on the day of the bill's passage, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a same-sex marriage advocacy organization, wrote that Wuerl had "refused to alter his official position" to reduce social services in the archdiocese.Solmonese, J. : Unbelievable (mass email), Washington, December 15, 2009. On the same day the archdiocese, though expressing its view that the bill did not adequately protect religious liberty, nonetheless affirmed its commitment to serving the needs of the poor and its hope for "working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church."Archdiocese of Washington Website – News Release {{webarchive |url= |date=January 11, 2010 }}In February 2010 shortly before the law took effect, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington ended its foster care and public adoption programs rather than comply with the law's requirement that it license same-sex couples for the program.NEWS,weblink Catholic Standard, Catholic Charities Ends Foster Care Program to Avoid Compromising Religious Beliefs, February 9, 2010, Archdiocese of Washington, Laura, Wright, NEWS, Same-Sex 'Marriage' Law Forces D.C. Catholic Charities to Close Adoption Program,weblink August 25, 2016, Catholic News Agency, February 17, 2010, The agency also modified its employee health care benefits to avoid having to extend coverage to same-sex couples.NEWS, Urbina, Ian, Gay Marriage Is Legal in U.S. Capital,weblink August 25, 2016, The New York Times, March 3, 2010,

    Response to Dominus Iesus

    In 2000, the Vatican issued a document entitled Dominus Iesus which stated that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. Wuerl said it was aimed at some theologians in Asia who are addressing{{clarify|date=November 2018}} Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, and it defends the Catholic view of the necessity of proclaiming the Christian faith to them. The document acknowledges that there are elements in non-Christian scriptures "by which countless people throughout the centuries have been and still are able today to nourish and maintain their life-relationship with God."NEWS,weblink Wuerl: Others Can Be Saved, September 7, 2000, October 15, 2015, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rodgers-Melnick, Ann,

    Response to Summorum pontificum

    After Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (2007) authorizing Latin Church priests to celebrate Mass using either the Roman Missal as revised in 1969 or the 1962 edition, Wuerl said that Pope Benedict was "trying to reach out pastorally to those who feel an attraction to this form of the liturgy, and he is asking the pastors to be aware of and support their interest". He added that about 500 people a week were attending celebrations of the Tridentine Mass at three places in his archdiocese.NEWS,weblinkweblink dead, July 10, 2007, Nancy Frazier, O'Brien, U.S. Bishops Say Pope Affirming Importance of Mass in Both Its Forms, Catholic News Service, July 10, 2007, He had a circular sent to his priests about a special committee that he would establish "to assist pastors in evaluating and responding to requests for the regular and public celebration" of the 1962 form of Mass.{{citation needed|date=September 2018}} As of 2017, the Tridentine Mass was reported on the Archdiocesan website as celebrated weekly in three parishes, the same ones as in 2007.WEB, Masses in Various Languages,weblink Archdiocese of Washington website,weblink" title="">weblink July 1, 2017, dead,

    Support for Pope Francis

    Wuerl has been an important and public supporter of Pope Francis within the American hierarchy. While many American Catholic leaders have criticized Francis, Wuerl has consistently defended him.

    Clerical sexual abuse

    Wuerl was widely considered to be a bishop who was proactive in confronting sexual abuse. Wuerl won plaudits and criticism for his efforts to remove sexually abusive clergy years before other church leaders made similar efforts. After the release of a grand jury investigation report in August 2018, he received a great deal of criticism for how he had handled some abuse cases.

    1988 to 2018

    In September 1988, when Wuerl was the Bishop of Pittsburgh, he accepted a dinner invitation from a family suing the diocese for sexual abuse by a priest. Although the diocese's lawyers had discouraged Wuerl from attending the dinner, Wuerl became convinced that sexual abuse was a problem in his diocese. Wuerl settled the lawsuit with the family, and the priest involved was laicized and eventually ended up in prison. Wuerl told his staff that in cases of alleged sexual abuse, the first concern should be for the victim, the second concern should be for the victim's family, and only third should clergy consider the reputation of the Church.In the years that followed, Wuerl investigated every priest in his diocese accused of sexual misconduct and removed several. On one occasion, Wuerl laicized a priest whom the Vatican initially had protected, Anthony Cipolla. Cipolla was ordained in 1972. In 1978, he was charged with sexual abuse of a 9-year-old boy; these charges were dropped by the mother, who said she was pressured to do so by Bishop Vincent Leonard.NEWS, Rodgers-Melnick, Ann, Rare sanction imposed on priest,weblink Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 16, 2002, In 1988 new charges were brought by another man, who said that Cipolla abused him from around 1981 to 1986; this case was settled in 1993, over Cipolla's objections. Cipolla consistently said that he never abused anyone.In 1988, Bishop Wuerl banned Cipolla from ministry and from identifying himself as a priest; Cipolla appealed to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's highest court, which ordered Bishop Wuerl to return him to ministry.NEWS, Gibson, Gail, Rivera, John, Maryland center claims success treating priests,weblink Baltimore Sun, April 11, 2002, en, Bishop Wuerl asked the court to reconsider the case on the grounds that its decision showed a lack of awareness of crucial facts such as a civil lawsuit and Cipolla's 1978 arrest for sexually abusing another boy. The court reversed its ruling in 1995 and upheld Cipolla's ban. Cipolla nonetheless continued to minister to the public forcing the diocese to make several public statements that Cipolla was not in good standing. In 2002, Cipolla was laicized by the pope.NEWS, Smith, Peter, Obituary: Anthony Cipolla / Center of high-profile sex-abuse case in 1990s, dies in Ohio,weblink Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 13 September 2016, en, According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article written in 2003, Wuerl had "a national reputation for zero tolerance of priests who molest minors" at the time.NEWS,weblink Wuerl's Tough Record on Sex Abuse Spurs Speculation of Move to Boston, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 15, 2003, Ann, Rodgers-Melnick, August 24, 2016, In 2010, Wuerl argued that the church had made progress in confronting abusers. He told Fox News Sunday that "we have succeeded in guaranteeing that if a priest is accused, and there is a credible allegation, he is simply removed from the ministry. That is reported to the authorities, and we begin to try to heal whatever was damaged in that abuse."WEB,weblink, WLTX,

    2018 grand jury report

    On August 14, 2018, a grand jury report released by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro alleged that the Catholic Church covered up sexual abuse cases.Report Grand Jury on sexual abuse in six dioceses in Pennsylvania, 2018]. The report criticized how Wuerl had handled some cases during his tenure in Pittsburgh.NEWS,weblink Cardinal Wuerl's actions in Pittsburgh scrutinized by Catholic sexual abuse investigation, Julie, Zauzmer, The Washington Post, WEB,weblink Catholic Church covered up child abuse by 300 US priests: report,, NEWS,weblink DC Cardinal Wuerl aided in the cover-up of pedophile activity, a new Grand Jury Report says, Ramirez, Stephanie, August 14, 2018, CBS WUSA (TV), August 15, 2018, en-US, Wuerl disputed the allegations, stating: "While I understand this report may be critical of some of my actions, I believe the report confirms that I acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse."NEWS,weblink Stunning findings on report of Catholic Church abuse: Pa. priests molested more than 1,000 children, Miles, Frank, August 14, 2018, Fox News, 2018-08-15, en-US, The report said Wuerl made contributions to fighting sex abuse. This includes his successful effort, against resistance within the Vatican, between 1988 and 1995 to remove Anthony Cipolla for sexual abuse. However, Wuerl also allowed, based on the advice of multiple doctors, William O'Malley to return to active ministry in 1998, despite past allegations of abuse. O'Malley had admitted that he was sexually interested in adolescents.NEWS, August 16, 2018, Philadelphia Tribune, Washington cardinal entangled in two sex-abuse scandals,weblink David Crary, August 18, 2018, The report also stated that Wuerl had allowed Ernest Paone to be transferred to another diocese, despite a history of accusations of child abuse dating back to the early 1960s.George Zirwas had a long history of involvement in child sexual abuse, sometimes including sadism. He had also manufactured child pornography. Zirwas' actions were known in the Diocese of Pittsburgh as early as 1987, but he continued in ministry when Wuerl became bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988. In 1989, Wuerl authorized a $900,000 settlement, with confidentiality clauses, with two of Zirwas' victims, but Zirwas remained in ministry until at least 1991 despite further complaints. After another complaint was made, Wuerl removed Zirwas in 1996. Eventually Zirwas moved to Cuba, where he was murdered in 2001.NEWS, August 17, 2018, Sullivan, Andrew, Andrew Sullivan, New York (magazine), New York, Cleansing the Catholic Church of Its Sins,weblink August 21, 2018, NEWS, August 19, 2018, Tapper, Jake, Jake Tapper, Foran, Clare, CNN, Pennsylvania AG: Cardinal under scrutiny over report on priest abuse 'is not telling the truth',weblink August 21, 2018,

    Reactions to report

    After the report was released, Wuerl launched a website, "The Wuerl Record," containing a defense of his actions during that era.WEB, August 14, 2018, The Wuerl Record, Donald Wuerl,weblink August 14, 2018,weblink August 15, 2018, dead, After an outcry on social media, the website was deleted and replaced with a redirect.NEWS, August 15, 2018, The Wall Street Journal, D.C. Archbishop Faces Scrutiny After Pennsylvania Report on Priest Abuse,weblink Ian, Lovett, August 15, 2018, Wuerl insisted that in responding to sexual abuse claims, he had "acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse."NEWS, August 18, 2018, Crux (online newspaper), Crux, Wuerl pulls out of Dublin summit amid charges of mishandling abuse claims,weblink White, Christopher, August 18, 2018, After the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report the Cardinal further faced "intense scrutiny" regarding his handling of sex abuse cases in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington said Wuerl "has no intention of resigning."On August 20, 2018, Ave Maria Press announced that the release of a book written by Wuerl titled What Do You Want to Know? A Pastor's Response to the Most Challenging Questions About the Catholic Faith had been "indefinitely postponed." It had been scheduled for release in October 2018weblink On August 22, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik approved decisions by the boards of Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School and Catholic High Schools of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to grant Wuerl's request to remove his name from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High Schoolweblink The school will revert to its previous name, North Catholic High School. The decision was made after thousands petitioned for the changeweblink Lou, Michelle, Cardinal Donald Wuerl's Name Removed From School After Abuse Coverup,weblink Huffington Post, August 22, 2018, en, In response to the allegations against Wuerl, political commentator Hugh Hewitt demanded that Wuerl be dismissed as archbishop of Washington and resign from the College of Cardinals.NEWS, August 22, 2018, The Washington Post, Donald Wuerl is a con man under a Cardinal's cap,weblink Hugh Hewitt, August 22, 2018, More pleas for resignation followed.Resign, Cardinal Wuerl!, OANN, August 22, 2018. In a few days time over 60,000 people signed a petition to Pope Francis to remove Wuerl.Online petition to remove Cardinal Wuerl has more than 60,000 signatures, FOX5, August 23, 2018. In what CNN called a "growing Catholic insurgency," Wuerl faced more calls for his resignation, including from a priest in his archdiocese and many laymen across ideological lines.WEB,weblink Growing Catholic insurgency threatens top cardinal in Washington, Burke, Daniel, Flores, Rosa, August 30, 2018, CNN, August 30, 2018, At the end of August, Wuerl flew to Rome, where he met with Pope Francis. The pope instructed Wuerl to confer with the priests of the archdiocese regarding his next steps.NEWS, September 4, 2018, The Wall Street Journal, Under Pressure to Resign, Cardinal Wuerl Meets With Priests About Future,weblink Ian, Lovett, September 4, 2018, On September 3, Wuerl met with more than a hundred priests of the archdiocese. He told them he knew nothing about the allegations against McCarrick until they became public. Many priests offered their views; some encouraged Wuerl to resign while others encouraged him to "stay and be part of the church's healing process."On September 8, Deacon James Garcia, the master of ceremonies at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, informed Wuerl that he was refusing to serve Wuerl at Mass anymore, due to Wuerl's handling of sexual abuse cases, and asked him to resign.NEWS, September 9, 2018, The Washington Post, Donald Wuerl is a con man under a Cardinal's cap,weblink Julie Zauzmer, September 9, 2018, WEB, September 9, 2018, website, Local deacon at high-profile parish calls on Wuerl to resign,weblink Keara Dowd, September 9, 2018, Garcia also denied that this refusal to serve with Wuerl violated his vow of obedience to Wuerl as his bishop.

    Alleged sexual abuse by Theodore McCarrick

    On August 25, 2018, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released an 11-page letter describing a series of warnings to the Vatican on sexual misconduct by Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Wuerl's predecessor as Archbishop of Washington, and subsequent alleged coverup by the Vatican and senior Church officials, whom he claimed were aware of the allegations but refused to act.NEWS,weblink Ex-nuncio accuses Pope Francis of failing to act on McCarrick's abuse reports, Pentin, Edward, August 25, 2018, Catholic News Agency, August 30, 2018, Viganò stated that he had discussed McCarrick's conduct and the penalties surrounding it with Wuerl.WEB,weblink Wuerl denies he was informed of Vatican restrictions on McCarrick, Flynn, J. D., August 25, 2018, Catholic News Agency, August 30, 2018, Through a spokesman, Wuerl denied that he was aware of McCarrick's misconduct prior to his removal from ministry, which took place on June 20, 2018.WEB,weblink Cardinal Wuerl acknowledges calls for 'new leadership', September 6, 2018, Catholic News Agency, May 30, 2019, However, on January 10, 2019, The Washington Post published a story stating that Wuerl, despite his past denials, was aware of allegations against McCarrick in 2004 and reported them to the Vatican.NEWS,weblink Despite past denials, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and reported them to Vatican, Boorstein, Michelle, January 10, 2019, The Washington Post, January 10, 2019, Robert Ciolek, a former priest who reached a settlement in 2005 after accusing several Church officials including McCarrick of sexual misconduct, told the Post that he recently learned that the Diocese of Pittsburgh has a file that shows that Wuerl, who was Bishop of Pittsburgh at the time, was aware of his allegations against McCarrick and shared the information with then-Vatican ambassador Gabriel Montalvo. Both the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Archdiocese of Washington acknowledged that Wuerl knew about and had reported Ciolek's allegation to the Vatican. The Archdiocese of Washington said that Wuerl did not intend to be "imprecise" in his earlier denials, and that they referred only to claims of abuse against minors, not adults. Days later, Wuerl himself apologized, stating that his earlier denials were the result of a "lapse of memory." Ciolek refused to believe that Wuerl forgot and did not accept his apology.NEWS,weblink Wuerl apologizes to priests, McCarrick victim, says he forgot about harassment allegations, Boorstein, Michelle, January 16, 2019, The Washington Post, January 17, 2019,
    On May 28, 2019, correspondence from McCarrick written in 2008 was obtained by Crux. In it, McCarrick refers to travel restrictions which were placed on him by Benedict XVI that same year after allegations of sexual misconduct. However, McCarrick gradually began to resume travelling. In a 2008 letter to Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., McCarrick wrote he had shared a Vatican letter explaining the restrictions with Wuerl, saying that his "help and understanding is, as always, a great help and fraternal support to me." However, a spokesperson for Wuerl denied that he had any knowledge of the sanctions.WEB,weblink McCarrick correspondence confirms restrictions, speaks to Wuerl and China, May 28, 2019, Crux, May 28, 2019,

    Resignation as Archbishop of Washington

    On October 12, 2018, Pope Francis accepted Wuerl's resignation. Wuerl had previously submitted a letter of resignation in 2015, as is standard practice for any bishop who turns 75.WEB,weblink Pope Accepts Resignation Of D.C. Archbishop Donald Wuerl Amid Sex Abuse Crisis, NPR, October 12, 2018, October 12, 2018,
    Wuerl planned to resign in September and meet with Pope Francis before doing so. This did not happen and the Pope accepted his resignation via a letter. The letter said that Wuerl had sent a new letter to the Pope requesting that he accept his resignation on September 21.NEWS,weblink Pope Francis' letter to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, CNN, October 12, 2018, October 22, 2018, Francis appointed him to serve as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., until his successor was appointed.NEWS, White, Christopher, Wuerl resigns amid papal praise, will stay as interim administrator, October 12, 2018,weblink Crux (online newspaper), Crux, October 12, 2018, Wuerl departed as apostolic administrator when Wilton Gregory was installed as Archbishop on May 21, 2019weblink Francis praised Wuerl as a "model bishop" and his reply to the resignation offered this comment: "You have sufficient elements to justify your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes."NEWS,weblink Pope Francis accepts resignation of D.C. archbishop Wuerl, amid criticism of the cardinal's handling of abuse claims, Washington Post, October 12, 2018, October 13, 2018, A New York Times editorial criticized Pope Francis for the way he characterized Wuerl's resignation and handling of abuse cases.NEWS, October 12, 2018, Editorial board, The Pope Ignores the Damage as Another Prelate Falls, The New York Times,weblink October 12, 2018, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro criticized the Pope's decision to allow Wuerl to resign without facing stronger consequences.NEWS,weblink Pennsylvania AG: Cardinal faces no penalties by resigning, Associated Press, October 12, 2018, October 12, 2018, On October 12, Wuerl wrote to members of the archdiocese and said, "I am sorry and ask for healing for all of those who were so deeply wounded at the hands of the Church's ministers. I also beg forgiveness on behalf of Church leadership from the victims who were again wounded when they saw these priests and bishops both moved and promoted."

    Selected writings

    • The Forty Martyrs: New Saints of England and Wales (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1971)
    • Fathers of the Church (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1975)
    • The Catholic Priesthood Today (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1976)
    • The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1976), co-author
    • A Visit to the Vatican: For Young People (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1981)
    • The Gift of Faith: A Question and Answer Version of The Teaching of Christ (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2001)
    • The Catholic Way: Faith for Living Today (New York: Doubleday, 2001)
    • The Sacraments: A Continuing Encounter with Christ (Our Sunday Visitor, 2010)
    • The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition (New York: Doubleday, 2011)
    • The Gift of Blessed John Paul II (Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2011)
    • Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2011)
    • Faith That Transforms Us: Reflections on the Creed (Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2013)
    • New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today (Our Sunday Visitor, 2013)
    • The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home (Image, 2013)
    • The Light is On For You: The Life-Changing Power of Confession (Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2014)
    • The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics (Image: 2014)
    • Open to the Holy Spirit: Living the Gospel with Wisdom (Our Sunday Visitor, 2014)
    • The Marriage God Wants For You (Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2015)
    • To the Martyrs: A Reflection on the Supreme Christian Witness (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2015)
    • Ways to Pray: Growing Closer to God (Our Sunday Visitor, 2015)

    Pastoral letters as Archbishop of Washington

    See also



    Further reading

    • BOOK, Glenn, Francis A., 1993, Shepherds of the Faith, 1843–1993: A Brief History of the Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

    External links

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