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Cardinal denies abuse cover-up

Cardinal Donald Wuerhl at the Vatican in 2013 Associated Press/Photo by Alessandra Tarantino

Cardinal denies abuse cover-up

The archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, in a statement released Monday denied he was ever informed of the sexual accusations and penalties leveled against his predecessor. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò over the weekend published an 11-page letter accusing senior Vatican officials of knowing as early as 2000 that former Archbishop Theodore McCarrick regularly invited seminarians into his bed. McCarrick was formally removed from public ministry and resigned as a cardinal last month after a man publicly accused him of abusing him when he was an adolescent. Viganò’s letter said Pope Benedict XVI sanctioned McCarrick in 2009 or 2010 but Wuehrl and Pope Francis supported his continued involvement in public ministry during his retirement.

In his statement, Wuerl said he never received information about any document from former Pope Benedict XVI with directives against McCarrick. “Cardinal Wuerl has indicated that during his entire tenure as Archbishop of Washington, no one has come forward to say to him, ‘Cardinal McCarrick abused me’ or made any other like claim,” the statement read. Earlier on Monday, Francis refused to comment on Viganò’s letter as he wrapped up a two-day trip to Ireland.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter and deputy global desk chief. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.


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