Pope Praises Archbishop Accused of Covering Up Child Sex Abuse By Priests

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Pope Francis praised Cardinal Donald Wuerl for showing "nobility" in his handling of the recent sexual abuse scandal.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., supplied Pope Francis with his resignation, which the pope formally accepted on Friday, after Wuerl’s past involvement in covering up sexual abuse became public in August.

According to NPR, in a letter to the Archdiocese of Washington, Pope Francis praised Wuerl for his “nobility” in the situation:

> "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," the pope wrote. "However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you."

The “mistakes” referenced by the pope were in fact attempts to cover up abusive priests:

> In one of the most egregious cases cited in the grand jury report from August, Wuerl was found to have returned the Rev. George Zirwas to the ministry even after the Diocese of Pittsburgh received complaints that Zirwas had sexually assaulted several boys. After reviewing confidential files and hearing victim testimony, the Pennsylvania grand jury reported that Zirwas was one of several "predatory priests" in the Pittsburgh area who raped children and took pornographic pictures of their victims.

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> In several other cases in which priests were accused of sex abuse, Wuerl sent them for psychological evaluation but allowed them to remain in the priesthood or approved payments to them for "sustenance" and medical coverage. The grand jury did acknowledge that Wuerl on one occasion demanded that an abusive priest be stripped of his status, even after the Vatican ruled otherwise.

More here.

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