Cardinal Wuerl to meet with Pope Francis to discuss possible resignation

FILE – In this Sept. 23, 2015, file photo, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, left, looks toward the crowd with Pope Francis following a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Wuerl wrote to priests to defend himself on the eve of the scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, release of a grand jury report investigating child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

In a letter dated Tuesday, Archdiocese of Washington leader Cardinal Donald Wuerl says he will soon meet with Pope Francis to talk about whether he should resign.

Wuerl has recently been under heavy fire for his past handling of allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic church.

“I intend, in the very near future, to go to Rome to meet with our Holy Father about the resignation I presented nearly three years ago, November 12, 2015,” Wuerl wrote in a letter to local priests.

He is referring to a resignation he offered Francis when Wuerl turned 75, which is the customary retirement age for church leaders in his position.

Wuerl did not say in the letter that his retirement was certain, but did write: “It was clear that some decision, sooner rather than later, on my part is an essential aspect so that this archdiocesan Church we all love can move forward.”

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington would not say exactly when Wuerl will meet with the Pope, saying it is not the practice of the archdiocese to give out details of Wuerl’s schedule.

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