The Archbishop of Washington asked that a Pittsburgh high school remove his name in light of public outcry over his inclusion in Pennsylvania’s sex abuse report.
The recently published grand jury report on child sexual abuse lists Cardinal Donald Wuerl as having protected priests accused of child sexual abuse, reassigning them to other dioceses during his tenure as bishop of Pittsburgh. More than 7,000 people signed a petition to have Wuerl’s name removed from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School after the report’s release, prompting Wuerl to request that his name be removed from the school Aug. 16. (RELATED: Cardinal Wuerl Defends Himself In Light Of Pennsylvania Sex Abuse Report)
“In light of the circumstances today and lest we in any way detract from the purpose of Catholic education…I respectfully ask you to remove my name from it. In this way, there should be no distraction from the great success of the school and, most importantly, the reason for the school — the students,” Wuerl wrote, according to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Wuerl initially defended his performance as bishop of Pittsburgh. He claimed in a statement issued just hours before the release of the grand jury report that he had “acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse.”
“I sincerely hope that a just assessment of my actions, past and present, and my continuing commitment to the protection of children will dispel any notions otherwise made by this report,” he added.
His statement, coupled with the report’s release, evidently has not had the effect he desired.
The school’s board of directors and the board of Catholic High Schools of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Inc. both agreed to Wuerl’s request to remove his name from the institution the as of Monday. David Zubik, bishop of Pittsburgh, said that while the school had been named for Wuerl in honor of his efforts “to preserve and expand Catholic education opportunities for the children of Pittsburgh,” he agreed to the removal of Wuerl’s name out of interest for those same children, according to The Washington Post.
The removal of Wuerl’s name follows a similar decision from the bishop of Harrisburg, Ronald Gainer, to strike the names of every diocesan bishop and cleric, from 1947 onward, who are listed in the grand jury report from any position of honor.
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