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Pope accepts resignation of US Cardinal who was criticised over handling of sex abuse claims

He was blamed for not doing enough to deal with paedophile priests when he was a bishop in Pennsylvania.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
Image: AP/PA Images

POPE FRANCIS HAS accepted the resignation of US Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who was blamed for not doing enough to deal with paedophile priests when he was a bishop in Pennsylvania.

Wuerl, who has stepped down as archbishop of Washington, had announced last month that he planned to meet with the pope to discuss his resignation.

A US grand jury report released in August revealed credible allegations against more than 300 priests and identified over 1,000 victims of child sex abuse covered up for decades by the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

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.

In the report, Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, is repeatedly cited as one of the church leaders who helped to cover up the scandal. He has faced numerous calls for his resignation, including from his own clergy.

In the US capital last month, Wuerl prostrated himself in a sign of repentance at a mass dedicated to victims of abuse.

- © AFP, 2018

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