Cdl. Wuerl Downplays Clerical Abuse Crisis

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  August 9, 2018   

Doubles down on wanting bishops to investigate themselves

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Many people are wondering why Cdl. Donald Wuerl, who replaced former Cdl. Theodore McCarrick in Washington, wants bishops to control the investigation of fellow bishops, who were suspected of covering up clerical sex abuse of adults.

EWTN's Lauren Ashburn on Tuesday asked Cdl. Wuerl about having an independent panel run the investigation. "Many lay Catholics," said Ashburn, "are pushing for an independent panel, not one that includes bishops."

Cardinal Wuerl responded, "It's not who is looking at everything but the goal is, 'will it all become public; will this become an exercise in transparent accountability.' I like the model of the Church that includes all of us, laity and clergy doing this together."

Young Catholics are part of those who are pushing for an outside investigation that's not controlled by bishops. Many such Catholics on Wednesday signed "An Open Letter From Young Catholics" in which they asked the bishops to allow just that:

We ask you to agree to a thorough, independent investigation into claims of abuse by Archbishop McCarrick, both of minors and of adults. We want to know who in the hierarchy knew about his crimes, when they knew it, and what they did in response. This is the least that would be expected of any secular organization; it should not be more than we can expect from the Church.


Ashburn again asked Wuerl, "So you're saying that this panel would include both lay people and bishops?" The cardinal simply doubled-down on his proposal:

We already have a national review board. ... What we want to do is now join that to some of the bishops in the conference and have this national panel to which someone can bring an allegation ... so there is someplace to take it for the initial review of its credibility.

The young Catholics mentioned above say that bishops can't be trusted to investigate each other since many were put in positions of power at the behest of McCarrick himself and kept silent about McCarrick's homosexual predations of seminarians.

Indeed, we are alarmed by reports that Pope Francis acted on McCarrick's guidance in creating cardinals and appointing men to senior positions in the Church. Men McCarrick mentored and lived with are now important archbishops and heads of Vatican dicasteries. We want to know what those men knew about McCarrick and when they knew it, especially since "everybody knew."

Check out our full #CatholicMeToo coverage.

Watch the panel discuss why cardinals reject an outside investigation of themselves in The Download—Wuerl-wind.


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