For Immediate Release:
August 16, 2018
Matthew Nocella, 202.286.1987 -

Cardinal Wuerl should resign in wake of Pennsylvania child abuse report

Washington, D.C. – Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), author of the Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act of 2017, released the following statement:

“There are few actions more depraved than sexual violence against children, and the experience of abuse is one that endures for years. It destroys the unique innocence of childhood and leaves many survivors suffering for years with depression, feelings of guilt, and sometimes difficulty forming intimate relationships.

“The groundbreaking investigation into clerical sex abuse of minors in Pennsylvania forces us to face a painful truth: the Catholic Church has institutionalized sexual abuse by systematically shielding or blatantly covering up the criminal acts of priests and other church officials.

“The Pennsylvania grand jury report is harrowing and revelatory. It raises serious questions about the fitness of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who previously spent 18 years as the bishop of Pittsburgh and now serves as the archbishop of Washington, D.C. Tuesday’s report details several instances of Wuerl covering for abusive priests.

“Just last month, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who previously served as the archbishop of the District of Columbia, and was one of the highest-ranking Vatican officials, resigned amid numerous accusations of sexual abuse.

“What is happening in Pennsylvania is a watershed moment in the Catholic Church child sex abuse crisis. We cannot stand idly by—deliberate action is imperative. Child safety depends on holding institutions, not just individual perpetrators, accountable for their actions.  It is for this reason that I believe Cardinal Wuerl should immediately resign. 

“It is also time that the Council takes action to ensure that both my Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act of 2017 and the Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Elimination Amendment Act of 2017, authored by Councilmember Cheh, become law. 

“Eliminating the civil statute of limitations and creating a two-year window for individuals whose claims of child sex abuse were previously time-barred, enables survivors to go back in time and begin working to heal.

“We cannot continue to allow individuals or institutions to maintain their depraved secrets and, while the resignation would signal a step in the right direction, both the Catholic Church and legislators must go further to protect our children.”


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