WASHINGTON — One week after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick over allegations of sex abuse, his successor is asking some tough questions.
Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl is pressing for greater accountability among clergy in reporting abuse.
In an open letter to Washington’s faithful, Cardinal Donald Wuerl wrote, “What is particularly disheartening, certainly for me, is the sense that we had already gone through this traumatic scandal in 2002.”
Reflections among the nation’s bishops 16 years ago led to the church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
“What we are now facing, in the media and from many of our people, is the question: ‘Has anything changed? The answer, I believe, is, ‘Yes.'” Wuerl wrote.
The first public allegations against McCarrick were revealed in June, and while they were deemed credible by the church, he denied anything inappropriate happened. More allegations, and word of some settlements that were made before McCarrick came to Washington, have been made public since then. Wuerl spoke exclusively on WTOP shortly after his resignation was accepted.
In his pastoral reflection, Wuerl praised Pope Francis in calling bishops to greater accountability.
“I think everyone recognizes that words, good intentions and new policies, while important, are not enough,” Wuerl wrote. “We must not only denounce abuse and take steps to stop the abusers. We must remove even the appearance of cover-ups as we investigate and address allegations.”
Read the full letter below.