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"Until Pope Francis reverses this emphasis on coddling the hierarchy at the expense of children, the Catholic Church will never emerge from this crisis", he said in a statement. He gave an interview to a local television station, saying that the cases had occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, before the church had developed clear policies on clergy sexual abuse. Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon.

Wuerl has also been accused of knowing that his predecessor in Washington, ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, had forced male adult seminarians to have sex with him years ago. The report accused the 77-year-old of helping to protect several child-molesting priests during his time as the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a loyal ally of Pope Francis, was criticized in a USA grand jury report in August for failing to halt abuse in his previous role as archbishop of Pittsburgh. The report led to protests demanding his resignation. The report is thought to be the most comprehensive to date into abuse in the US church, but while prosecutors have filed charges against two priests, the vast majority of crimes happened too long ago to prosecute under current laws.

It has been widely believed that Cardinal Wuerl hoped to remain in his position at least until the fall meeting of the USA bishops' conference in November.

Francis ordered McCarrick to retire to a life of prayer and penitence after American Church officials said as part of a separate investigation that allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy nearly 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.

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As apostolic administrator, Cardinal Wuerl will continue to lead the day-to-day activities of the archdiocese, but will not be permitted to make any major changes. We are aware of our need for prayers as we prepare for the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, so that we can more effectively respond to the pastoral and spiritual needs of God's people with a firm resolve to live a life of integrity and holiness.

On a personal note, I convey my gratitude to Cardinal Wuerl for the fraternal support he has extended to me from the moment I was appointed bishop and throughout the years.

Kim Viti Fiorentino, the chancellor and general counsel of the Archdiocese of Washington, said in a statement October 12 that the archdiocese has "been profoundly blessed to have this great priest as our archbishop". Pope Francis has asked that Wuerl remain in his role as archbishop of Washington until a successor can be named. He joined the priesthood in 1966, was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1986, and served briefly as auxiliary bishop in Seattle before going to Pittsburgh. The new bishop was charged with special responsibility for five problem areas in the archdiocese: liturgy, the tribunal, priest formation, moral and bioethical issues in Catholic hospitals, and ministry and teaching concerning homosexuality.

"No bishop or cardinal in the nation has had a more consistent and courageous record than Donald Wuerl in addressing priestly sexual abuse", contended Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. He'll be in charge in the DC archdiocese until the Vatican appoints a new archbishop to replace him.