Pope Francis accepts resignation of Washington archbishop in sex abuse crisis

Pope Francis, right, greets the Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl during the pope’s first visit to the US on September 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Pope Francis accepts resignation of Washington archbishop in sex abuse crisis

  • Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been under scrutiny over his handling of sexual abuse cases
  • Wuerl has defended his overall record in Pittsburgh

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as archbishop of Washington, D.C., the Vatican said on Friday, making him one of the most senior Catholic figures to step down in a worldwide sexual abuse crisis.
Wuerl, 77, who was bishop of Pittsburgh between 1988 and 2006, has been under scrutiny over his handling of sexual abuse cases during that period. He keeps the title of cardinal.
In a letter by the pope released in Washington, Francis indicated that he accepted the resignation reluctantly and at Wuerl’s insistence. He asked Wuerl to stay on as administrator until another archbishop could be appointed.
Wuerl has been under fire since the release in August of a US Grand Jury report on sexual abuse found evidence that at least 1,000 people, mostly children, had been sexually abused by some 300 clergymen over the course of 70 years. The report covered six dioceses in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh when it was led by Wuerl.
He has also been accused of knowing about sexual misconduct by his predecessor in Washington, ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Wuerl has defended his overall record in Pittsburgh. He also has denied knowing that McCarrick, once one of the US Church’s most prominent figures, had forced male adult seminarians to have sex with him years ago.
In July McCarrick became the first cardinal in about 100 years to be stripped of his red hat and title of “eminence.”
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 almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.


Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

Updated 3 min 20 sec ago
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Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

  • US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday
  • Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987

MOSCOW: Withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russia as President Donald Trump has announced he plans to do is a dangerous step, Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned on Sunday.
“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS state news agency.
The treaty is “significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability,” he stressed.
Russia condemned what he called attempts by the US to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail,” he added.
If the US continues to act “clumsily and crudely” and unilaterally back out of international agreements “then we will have no choice but to undertake retaliatory measures including involving military technology,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti news agency.
“But we would not want to get to this stage,” he added.
On Saturday, Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987 by the then US president Ronald Reagan.
“We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” said Trump.
But Ryabkov on Sunday denied Trump’s accusations, throwing the accusation back at Washington.
“We don’t just not violate (the treaty), we observe it in the strictest way,” he insisted.
“And we have shown patience while pointing out over the course of many years the flagrant violations of this treaty by the US itself.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday.
“We hope that we will hear from him during meetings, tomorrow and the day after, more substantively and clearly what the American side intends to undertake,” said Ryabkov.
Earlier a foreign ministry source told Russian news agencies that the US move was connected to its “dream of a unipolar world,” an argument that Ryabkov also advanced.
“Apparently the existence of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty creates problems for establishing a line of total US domination and supremacy in the military sphere,” he said.