Cardinal Wuerl Apologizes
Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued a letter of apology for not coming forward with information regarding his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Wuerl had recently denied having any knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against McCarrick, even though he alerted the Vatican of the 2004 allegations himself. Wuerl now says his denial was the result of a lapse in memory.
A former priest says Wuerl was informed of McCarrick’s inappropriate conduct in 2004 when he told him about his personal experience involving unwelcome sexual contact. Wuerl passed the information along to the Vatican, however he later said he had absolutely no recollection of the reported abuse. What the Vatican did with the report is unclear, however McCarrick continued serving as an archbishop of Washington for an additional two years.
Others have also come forward with allegations against McCarrick, including two minors and several adult males, most of whom were seminarians and priests under his authority. McCarrick, now the subject of a church investigation, has not commented on this alleged pattern of abuse but has denied accusations that he molested a teenage altar boy on two occasions in the 1970s. The Archdiocese of New York, however, found that accusation to be credible and substantiated; McCarrick was consequently suspended from his public priestly duties.
Trust in the Church Has Been Eroded
A recent Gallup survey reveals that Catholics’ faith in the church and clergy substantially declined in 2018. Just 31 percent reported having a high or very high opinion of clergy members’ honesty and ethical standards, as compared to 49 percent the year before. Of note is the Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August 2018 that publicized the widespread sexual abuse of children by over 300 priests.
According to the report, church officials engaged in a systematic cover-up of clergy abuse that took place for over seven decades. Predator priests were relocated to non-English speaking communities and could remain in active ministry despite multiple allegations of sexual abuse. More victims are coming forward as investigations continue.
The Vatican says it is investigating the allegations against McCarrick. It is uncertain whether the conclusions of the investigation will be made public before the world’s bishops’ conferences with the Pope in February to discuss the clergy abuse crisis. The Vatican says it plans to focus on the three main themes of responsibility, accountability, and transparency.
New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse
If you or a loved one suffered abuse by a clergy member, contact a New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our compassionate attorneys fight to obtain justice and compensation that survivors deserve. You may be entitled to compensation for psychological counseling, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and other damages. For a free and confidential consultation, please contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600.
From our office in Highland Park, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the state, including those in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.