The Archdiocese of Washington confirmed on Thursday night that outgoing Archbishop Donald Wuerl had been made aware in 2004 about credible accusations of sexual misconduct and pederasty against now-disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
A former priest, Robert Ciolek, who was abused by McCarrick as a seminarian, informed the Washington Post that he was made aware of a document in the possession of the Diocese of Pittsburgh documenting Wuerl’s knowledge of his claims against McCarrick dating back to 2004. Since then, Wuerl was promoted to Archbishop of Washington, succeeding McCarrick.
Wuerl, who planned to retire with the honors afforded to high-level Catholic bishops who preside over sees (jurisdictions) like Washington, D.C, was also forced to submit an expedited resignation in disgrace earlier this year, when a Pennsylvania grand jury report accused him of covering up and ignoring mass child abuse by Catholic priests as the Bishop of Pittsburgh. The grand jury’s report listed around 300 members of the clergy accused of abusing children, many of whom were simply shifted to another parish in response to child abuse allegations.
McCarrick’s repeated pedophilic and abusive behavior, which was unleashed upon altar boys and seminarians, came fully to light earlier this year. The organizational corruption and deception that led Wuerl to remain silent for 14 years in regards to credible allegations of abuse against McCarrick seems to remain a potent force within the Catholic Church’s hierarchy, as church judicial bodies are said to be describing an account of McCarrick abusing a 16 year old altar boy as “consensual activity.”
Wuerl claimed that the revelations of recurring abuse allegations against McCarrick came as news to him. He said in June that “no claim — credible or otherwise — has been made against Cardinal McCarrick during his time here in Washington.”
The document described by Ciolek would expose the retiring Archbishop’s statement about abuse allegations against McCarrick as a red-handed lie.
The need to expose institutional dishonesty and apologism for child abuse within the ranks of senior American Catholic clergy is more necessary than ever.
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