The bombshell Pennsylvania Grand Jury report just released shows that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former Archbishop of Pittsburgh, was complicit in covering up sexual abuse of children by multiple priests, shuffling around priests who had abused children, and publicly praising priests he knew had abused children. The current Bishop of Pittsburgh was also implicated in these cover-ups. Already, multiple victims and publications have called for the resignation of Cardinal Wuerl, including the Washington Post (“Cardinal Wuerl Must Go”), ChurchMilitant (“Episcopal Sodomy: Cardinal Wuerl Must Go“), and FoxNews.
The current Bishop of Pittsburgh was also implicated in these cover-ups. Just a few examples are below, and the details are horrific:
- In 1996, Wuerl gave his approval for a notorious homosexual priest , Fr. Paone, to transfer to California without adequately informing them of the priest’s 41-year-history of sexual assault against minors.
- Wuerl enabled Fr. William O’Malley to return to active ministry in 1998 despite allegations of abuse lodged against him in the past and his own admission he was sexually interested in adolescents. years later, six more people said they’d been sexually assaulted by O’Malley, in some cases after he had been reinstated.
- Between 1988 to 1991, Wuerl received multiple complaints that Fr. George Zirwas had fondled a boy’s genitals and groped several other boys, but he let him continue in active ministry. That same priest was connected to a priest pederast ring that involved drugs, alcohol and sadomasochistic acts with whips and chains used on two teen altar boys and passed the boys around to other priests in the ring to abuse. The ring manufactured child pornography and forced one boy to remove his clothes and pose naked as Jesus Christ while they took photos of him. In 1996, after Zirwas was removed from ministry, Wuerl increased his monthly stipend in exchange for a statement that Zirwas didn’t know of other predator priest’s illegal sexual conduct. That increased stipend funded Zirwas’s homosexual lifestyle in Cuba, until he was murdered by a gay prostitute in 2001. Cardinal Wuerl and 21 priests presided over his funeral, and Wuerl praised the accused child molester for his “kindness” as a pastor.
Objectively, Cardinal Wuerl did pull some child abusers from ministry, but his record is mixed–in some cases he intervened and removed priests, and in some cases he moved them around and failed to share information either to places he sent the priests to law enforcement authorities. The cardinals and bishops who ignored or covered up criminal acts like these and knowingly allowed priests to inflict physical and emotional harm on others were complicit in the abuse and must resign or be removed. These bishops collaborated in the evil of child sexual abuse, horribly failed to protect the victims and have scandalized the Catholic Church. Explanations that “we’ve learned a lot since then” and “we now have stronger policies” neither undo the damage nor in any way justify the past enabling of these evil, harmful, criminal, and immoral acts.
In Mark 9: 42 Jesus says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe [in me] to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. The Washington Post editorial calling for Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation quotes Mark’s Gospel and concludes, “This must be a time of repentance. Repentance requires accountability. And accountability requires resignations–starting with Wuerl’s.”
Please sign this petition at Change.org. It automatically email all of the U.S. members of the College of Cardinals as well as the U.S. Papal Nuncio and the spokesperson for Pope Francis. Also please spread word to your friends.