Pope Should Move Quickly to Name Wuerl’s Successor and Remove Him From Bishop Selection Process
On Friday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Today, we believe that Pope Francis should finish what he began last week and move quickly to both name Cardinal Wuerl’s successor and to immediately remove him from the Congregation of Bishops, the powerful committee that selects new hierarchs. Given the Cardinal’s connection to the ongoing church sexual abuse scandal, we believe he has no business helping to select any church official for any job.
Cardinal Wuerl was named more than 200 times in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. He himself oversaw the Diocese of Pittsburgh when at least 19 new allegations of sexual abuse arose. The simple fact remains that someone with this record should not be in a position of power, especially one that provides direct oversight on the future of dioceses around the world. If the Cardinal cannot make good decisions about which priests to put in parishes, then why does Francis think he can make good decisions about which bishops to put in dioceses?
If the Church truly wants to turn the page and begin a new era, any prelate who was involved in sexual abuse scandals should not have a role in selecting new bishops. A fresh start is necessary for the healing of victims and the Church itself.
We hope that Pope Francis will move quickly to name Cardinal Wuerl’s successor and to remove him from the Congregation of Bishops. This is a simple step the Pope can take now that will show support for survivors as well as dedication to ending the “circle of secrecy.” The time for swift action is now.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)