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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Cardinal Wuerl acknowledges he knew of one accusation against predecessor

In a second letter issued in mid-January about what he knew and didn’t regarding abuse allegations involving his predecessor, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Washington’s retired archbishop, apologised on 15th January for what he called a ‘lapse of memory’, clarifying that he knew of at least one abuse allegation against former US Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, but he had ‘forgotten’ about it.

In the letter sent to priests of the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl acknowledged that he became aware of the allegation against now-Archbishop McCarrick after receiving a report in 2004 about a different allegation, but the ‘survivor also indicated that he had observed and experienced ‘inappropriate conduct’ by then-Bishop McCarrick’.

The former cardinal is now an archbishop, having stepped down from the College of Cardinals in July 2018 following accusations that he abused minors in the past. Other accusations followed about inappropriate behaviour with seminarians. He has denied the accusations, but the Vatican is reportedly considering whether to laicise him. He now is living in a Capuchin Franciscan friary in Kansas.

Cardinal Wuerl was bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 2004 and he said in the 15th January letter that back then, he received a report from the Pittsburgh Diocesan Review Board, which reviews allegations of abuse, about a separate case and ‘at the conclusion of this report, the survivor indicated the ‘inappropriate conduct’’ he observed by McCarrick.

Picture: In this 2010 file photo, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, now retired archbishop of Washington, concelebrates Mass in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican with then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick. Now-Archbishop McCarrick was removed from ministry last year after abuse allegations against him came to light. He resigned from the College of Cardinals last June and now resides at a Kansas friary awaiting a Vatican trial. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).