Pope Francis is saying that Cdl. Donald Wuerl's actions in protecting predator priests — actions that destroyed the spiritual lives of many and the physical lives of some — were justified as simply "mistakes" made in good faith.
In his letter accepting the resignation of Wuerl as archbishop of Washington, D.C., Francis said in a letter Friday, "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."
These "mistakes" were in actuality crimes, and Wuerl's name was mentioned 169 times in the Pennsylvania grand jury report published in August. These "mistakes" led to at least two suicides committed by young men sexually abused by a priest under Wuerl when he was bishop of Pittsburgh, and the loss of innocence for scores of minors sexually exploited by priests under Wuerl, as well as the loss of faith of countless people shepherded by members of the homosexual network allowed to thrive under Wuerl.
When Pope Francis says Wuerl can "justify" these moral crimes, which he then writes off as mere "mistakes," he's not aiding Wuerl to make the acts of contrition that are necessary for Wuerl to confess and be absolved from these sins of his. By seemingly downplaying the gravity of these sins and Wuerl's moral culpability for them, he is thereby participating in these sins.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the ways in which a person may participate in the sins of another in paragraph 1868.
Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
The greatest concern of each Catholic is always the salvation of his own soul and the souls of others, which include his enemies. The faithful, therefore, must pray especially hard for the wolves in shepherd's clothing so they receive the grace of contrition necessary to be absolved from their sins before having to give an account to the Good Shepherd of scattering the very sheep they had pledged to shepherd.
Watch the panel discuss the cardinal's resignation that lacked contrition in The Download—Wuerl Out.