August 16, 2018

Global survivors, activists and experts to Pope Francis: break your silence about Cardinal Wuerl.
Is Pope Francis also a part of the “circle of secrecy”?
In wake of explosive US Grand Jury report, organization reissuing their demand that Wuerl step down from his role in papal visit to Ireland.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Pope Francis (Credit: David Goldman/AP)

On Friday August 10th, 2018 Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) a global organization of survivor leaders, activists and experts issued an open letter to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. In the letter the organization urged Pope Francis to remove from their prominent roles in the upcoming Papal visit, three Cardinals apparently linked to covering up sex crimes for their brother bishops and be investigated instead. There was no reply from Martin to the organization’s open letter.

The three were Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga of Honduras and Cardinals Kevin Farrell and Donald Wuerl of the United States.

In the letter to Martin the organization voiced particular concern about Cardinal Wuerl. Along with several former and current bishops of six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, Wuerl was the subject of a two year US Grand Jury investigation. Wuerl was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

According to the Associated Press summary of the report, Wuerl “approved transfers for priests instead of removing them from ministry, oversaw inadequate church investigations and concealed information when priests were reported to law enforcement. The report also says he advised parishes not to publicly announce or acknowledge complaints, and offered financial support to priests who were accused and later resigned.”

The conclusions from the Grand Jury are clear and backed by evidence: Cardinal Wuerl covered up sex crimes. He profoundly failed to protect Catholic children and allowed countless Catholic families to be broken. “That is why Wuerl has no business as keynote speaker at the World Meeting of Families (WMOF 2018) and the papal visit. There is no other reasonable conclusion to reach than that the church’s reputation was more important than protecting children.” said Peter Isely, United States survivor and Founding Member of ECA.

If the Pope remains silent on Wuerl and keeps him in a place of honor and respect during his time in Ireland he continues to be as he said concerning Chile “part of the problem”. He is once again supporting and encouraging what he called “a culture of abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church”.

According to the Grand Jury, Wuerl used the phrase “circle of secrecy” to describe the church’s child sex abuse cover-up. The Pope’s omission on Wuerl raises many questions. Is Francis also a part of the “circle of secrecy”?

Peter Isely
ECA Founding Member, United States survivor.,
+14144297259 (available GMT)

Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) is a worldwide organization of survivors and human rights activists who compel the Roman Catholic Church to end clergy abuse, especially child sexual abuse, in order to  protect children and to seek justice for victims. ECA assembly members represent 15 countries and 4 continents. – @ENDCLERGYABUSE –