Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, on Friday, October 12, 2018. The Cardinal originally sent his letter of resignation to the Holy Father in November 2015, at the age of 75, and again asked him to accept the resignation in September of this year.
“I recognize in your request the heart of a shepherd who, by widening his vision to recognize a greater good that can benefit the whole body, prioritizes actions that support, stimulated and make the unity and mission of the Church grow above every kind of sterile division sown by the father of lies who, trying to hurt the shepherd, wants nothing more than that the sheep be dispersed,” said Pope Francis in his letter to Cardinal Wuerl on October 12.
As a condition of his resignation, Pope Francis requested that Cardinal Wuerl serve as Apostolic Administrator to the Archdiocese of Washington until a successor is appointed.
Cardinal Wuerl has faced criticism in recent months, with accusations of his alleged mishandling or cover-up of abuse in the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, previous archbishop of the Washington.
Cardinal Wuerl expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father and asked for forgiveness in a separate statement, saying, “The Holy Father’s decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future. It permits this local Church to move forward. Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon. My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington.”
Listen to coverage of the breaking news on Friday morning from Fr. Gerry Murray on Morning Air: