ROME — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Washington, DC, Cardinal Donald Wuerl on Friday but asked him to stay on as “Apostolic Administrator” of the archdiocese until a permanent successor is appointed.
As required by Church law, Cardinal Wuerl had submitted his resignation to the pope on November 12, 2015, when he turned 75 years old, but the pope asked him to stay put.
Wuerl had been implicated in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse, which claimed that he had approved transfers for abusing priests instead of removing them from ministry.
By late August, nearly 80,000 people had signed a Change.org petition urging Pope Francis to remove Cardinal Wuerl from his post as archbishop of Washington, DC.
The Pope noted in his letter Friday that he had received a September 21 request from Cardinal Wuerl that his resignation be accepted and lauded the prelate for having sought the good of the Church.