Archbishop McCarrick is pictured in a 2001 photo in Washington in Washington.
The Wall Street Journal's Francis X. Rocca and Ian Lovett report on Francis' remarks, in which he claims that Wuerl could have mounted a defense against the charges.
Cardinal Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, stated unequivocally October 7 that now-retired Pope Benedict XVI never imposed sanctions on then-Cardinal McCarrick, so it is untrue that Pope Francis "invalidated" them, as Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former nuncio to the United States, claimed.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet issued a letter Sunday six weeks after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed that the pope protected ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Pope Francis says Satan is responsible for the sexual abuse crisis and is asking Catholics to pray every day to God to combat the devil's behavior.
"In response to your unjust and unjustified attack, dear Vigano, I conclude that your accusation is a political setup without any real foundation that could incriminate the pope, and I repeat that it has profoundly wounded the communion of the church", Ouellet wrote.
"You can not end your priestly life in an open and scandalous rebellion that inflicts a painful wound" on the church and divides its people, he ended his letter.
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The cardinal, president of the USCCB, is in Rome for the Synod of Bishops.
The Vatican itself explained October 6: "The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues". "He did not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him and made him his trusted counselor". Wuerl at times acted with authority to deal with abusive priests (more on this below), but in several cases allowed such priests to escape scrutiny and in a few to continue as priests in good standing elsewhere - and to continue abusing others.
"Imagine the enormous quantity of verbal and written information he received that day regarding many people and situations", the cardinal wrote. But it wasn't until past year that it was informed of an accusation that he had molested a minor - a far more grave canonical crime than merely sleeping with adult seminarians.
The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed "The Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of the monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity. However, the cardinal added, "I told you verbally of the situation of the bishop emeritus who was to observe certain conditions and restrictions because of rumors about his behavior in the past".
In the document, the archbishop claimed he told Francis during a meeting on June 23 2013 that Pope Benedict XVI had sanctioned McCarrick to a lifetime of penance and prayer for having "corrupted a generation of seminarians and priests". "After re-examining the archives, I certify that there are no such documents signed by either pope".
He wrote, "In this way, you make clear the intent to put God's Project first, before any kind of personal project, including what could be considered as good for the Church".
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