DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Donald Wuerl has withdrawn from the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.
The Irish Times has confirmed that the embattled cardinal-archbishop of Washington, D.C., who was scheduled to give a keynote talk Wednesday titled "The Welfare of the Family is Decisive for the Future of the World," will not be attending the event, where Pope Francis will make a visit. The archdiocese offered no reason for his withdrawal.
The news comes one day after his publisher announced it was cancelling its plans to publish the cardinal's forthcoming book, What Do You Want to Know?
Wuerl has come under withering criticism after the Pennsylvania grand jury report, released Tuesday, exposed Wuerl's practice of reassigning and transferring homosexual predator priests when he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988–2006.
One priest, Fr. George Zirwas, who was involved in a child porn ring that involved sadomasochistic acts performed on teen altar boys plied with drugs and alcohol and passed around among four Pittsburgh priests for sex, was given hush money by Wuerl in 1996 in exchange for his silence on priestly criminal sex abuse.
At his death in 2001 (Zirwas was murdered in Havana, Cuba by a gay prostitute he had picked up the night before), Wuerl gave him a priest's funeral, with another bishop and 21 priests attending, where he praised Zirwas for his "kindness" and assured those in attendance that the priest was in Heaven.
Church Militant reported Thursday that the archdiocese has secured Jones Day, an elite Washington law firm that costs $50,000–$70,000 on retainer per month, to defend Wuerl in the face of public attacks. The archdiocese is not answering Church Militant's questions as to where it is getting the money to pay for the costly representation.
In light of the damning Pennsylvania grand jury report, which exposed 301 predator priests and religious in six dioceses, the New York attorney general, Barbara Underwood, is also outlining plans to launch her own grand jury investigation into Catholic dioceses in New York. The Nebraska attorney general, in direct response to concerns about homosexual predation at a seminary in the diocese of Lincoln, has also put out public calls for individuals harassed by Catholic clerics to come forward.
Washington, D.C. Archdiocese Communications Director: firstname.lastname@example.org