What You Need to Know: Pope Francis

Cardinal Wuerl to meet with pope to discuss resignation

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, will meet with Pope Francis in Rome to discuss his resignation, according to a letter sent to priests on Tuesday.

Wuerl served as bishop of Pittsburgh for nearly two decades. He was mentioned nearly 200 times in the Pennsylvania grand jury report about child sexual abuse. Wuerl is accused of leading a massive cover-up of child sex abuse by priests when he was the bishop of Pittsburgh.

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In the letter, Wuerl says, "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. As a fruit of our discernment 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."

Wuerl mentioned 2015 in the letter because that's when he turned 75 years old, the age a bishop is required to submit his resignation. It's up to the pope, however, to decide when to accept it.

He mentioned no date for his meeting with the pope, but the pontiff will meet Thursday with U.S. cardinals and bishops.

Last month, Wuerl's name was removed from North Catholic High School in the wake of the report.

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 02: Cardinal Donald Wuerl attends a conference on the canonization of Junipero Serra in light of 'Ecclesia in America' on May 2, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis has announced he intends to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra during his visit to the United States in September. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

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