Friday, January 18, 2019

Why Did Cardinal Donald Wuerl Lie?

Last summer, when Theodore McCarrick's dirty secret life was publicly revealed, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said that he had never been told that McCarrick was abusing seminarians or minors. 

From a July 29, 2018 article from WTOP:
Wuerl said he has never been approached with allegations of abuse by McCarrick and was unaware of the rumors that have been associated with his predecessor.
We know now that is not true. 

From CNA:
An allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was reported to Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2004, despite Wuerl’s insistence he knew nothing about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct until 2018.
Wuerl forwarded the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday.
The allegations against McCarrick were brought to Wuerl while he was bishop of Pittsburgh.  A former priest had come to Wuerl with complaints about a Pittsburgh priest who had molested him as a seminarian, and at the same time made accusations against McCarrick. 

From the Statement of the Archdiocese of Washington:
The Archdiocese of Washington understands that in 2004 Robert Ciolek, a former priest of the Diocese of Metuchen, filed a complaint in the Diocese of Pittsburgh asserting claims of abuse arising from an adult relationship as a seminarian with a Pittsburgh Diocese priest assigned to the faculty of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, where Mr. Ciolek was studying. In that same complaint, the Archdiocese understands that Mr. Ciolek claimed that years prior, he as an adult seminarian also experienced inappropriate activity involving Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. At that time, the Archdiocese understands that Mr. Ciolek requested confidentiality for the information he submitted.
Wuerl immediately acted upon both complaints.  Since McCarrick was a cardinal and not even in Wuerl's diocese, Wuerl had no authority to personally act against him.  Only the Pope has the authority to act against bishops. 

As noted in the CNA article cited above, Wuerl took the only action open to him, and that was to report McCarrick to the Vatican through the US Papal Nuncio.  It was then up to the Vatican to act upon that report.  St. John Paul II was the pope at that time, and for whatever reason, he did not act upon this report. 

So what's the deal?  Why would Wuerl lie about his knowledge of McCarrick's misconduct?  Wuerl did not try to cover for McCarrick at that time.  He did exactly what he was expected to do by making a report to the Vatican.  Wuerl had nothing to be ashamed of in the actions he took in 2004, and in fact can point to these actions as proof that he acted against abusers on behalf of the victims. 

So why lie about his knowledge of McCarrick's behavior when he was confronted in 2018? 

National Catholic Register gives us four reasons why they think Wuerl lied.  It should be noted that National Catholic Register is owned by EWTN, who just named Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as "Best Person of 2018".  Their bias against Pope Francis and anyone, including Church hierarchy, who supports him is blatantly obvious.  Cardinal Wuerl is in close contact with Pope Francis as one of his advisers.  I will let the reader connect the dots. 

NCR starts out with this statement:
So let’s state the obvious: Based on the evidence at hand, Cardinal Wuerl knew about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with adults at least 14 years ago, and lied about it.

That said, Wuerl’s refusal to acknowledge the truth is even more puzzling, given his past effort to flag McCarrick’s misbehavior. Back in 2004, when Wuerl served as Bishop of Pittsburgh, he informed the papal nuncio about a claim against McCarrick filed by a former New Jersey seminarian.
So far we are in agreement.  Can't argue with the facts. 

NCR gives us four reasons why Wuerl did not reveal his prior knowledge of McCarrick:
1. He gambled that the evidence would not come to light.

2. It was too late to set the record straight.

3. Wuerl believed his record was credible.
4. Wuerl Had More to Hide
None of these reasons hold water.  In 2004, Wuerl acted completely appropriately by going to the Vatican.  He never made any attempt to cover up for McCarrick in any way.  In 2018, Wuerl could have easily told the truth about his 2004 actions, saying he was told about McCarrick and did everything he had the authority to do.  That would have been the end of the story. 

Since Wuerl had no reason to lie in order to protect himself, who was he protecting with his lie? 

The only fathomable explanation is that Wuerl lied to protect the Vatican.  In effect, he fell on his sword, taking the heat for the inaction of Pope St. John Paul II.  We don't know why JPII did not act upon this report.  It is possible that for some reason, he never received it.  Or, as he did with Marcial Maciel, he may have refused to believe these allegations against McCarrick. 

Cardinal Wuerl is still not pointing the finger at anyone but himself.  He now apologizes for his "lapse in memory" as he states in his January 15 letter to Washington priests.   

It is very difficult to believe that Wuerl could have forgotten a report he made to the Vatican about one of the most powerful Cardinals in the Catholic Church.  He could so easily take the heat off of himself by just saying, "I reported it, and it was the Vatican who did not act."  Yet in none of his statements does he ever accuse the Vatican of any wrongdoing in any way. 

Personally, I think Cardinal Wuerl should not protect the Vatican.  He should just tell the truth.  That is the only way any of this can be effectively dealt with. 

But Cardinal Wuerl will not do anything that will bring reproach upon his superiors.  He takes all of the abuse and hatred that is spewed against him without any deflection whatsoever.  He is a loyal soldier to a fault, literally. 

I know most people do not view the Cardinal in this light.  They really get off on hating him and accusing him of being in league with the devil himself.  But an unbiased look at the facts does not support that belief in any way. 

Cardinal Wuerl sort of reminds me of King David, who would not raise his hand against God's anointed even though it could have cost him his life.  Certainly the Vatican, despite the mistakes and even corruption that is found there, cannot be likened to the evil King Saul.  But the common factor is that both are the anointed of God, and we must respect them as such, even when they are wrong. 

When historians look back on this time, I believe Cardinal Donald Wuerl will be completely vindicated of any wrongdoing other than lying to protect his superiors.  It is those who are hurling hateful accusations and viciously attacking him who will be exposed as the real enemies of the Church. 

Hate and division are never the actions of the Holy Spirit. 


  1. Catholic in Brooklyn, hold your nose and go to the following URL:

    1. Chris, I am not really interested in anything Voris has to say, But I would ask how Voris explains Vigano saying much he loves and admires McCarrick.

      “Distinguished guests, bishops here present, and guests being honored this evening as “Pontifical Ambassadors for Missions”, which is a nice title. First of all, His Eminence Cardinal Theodore McCarrick - “he is an ambassador” for quite some time already, as a priest, a bishop, as archbishop and cardinal and very much loved from us all…”.

      This was supposedly after Vigano told Wuerl about McCarrick.

  2. Did you read the PA Grand Jury report at all?
    Quote: Among the most disturbing details in the 884-page Pennsylvania grand jury report was that then-Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh gave a priest involved in a child porn ring extra money in exchange for the priest's silence. Not only that, Wuerl gave the priest a glowing eulogy at his funeral in 2001, even posthumously restoring him to full priestly status.
    Page 233 of the grand jury report, released Tuesday, reveals that in 1996, "[Father George] Zirwas informed the [Pittsburgh] Diocese that he had knowledge of other Pittsburgh Diocese priests' involvement in illegal sexual activity. In exchange for this information, he demanded that his sustenance payments be increased."
    "In response to this request, Wuerl instructed him to document in writing the names of the priests involved, or, state that he had no knowledge of what he had previously claimed," the grand jury report continues. "Wuerl advised that this action had to be undertaken before Zirwas could receive any additional assistance."
    "After Zirwas disavowed any knowledge of priest involvement in illegal sexual activity in a letter to the Diocese, he was granted an additional financial stipend and his sustenance payments were continued," the report explains.
    That stipend was used to fund Zirwas' homosexual lifestyle in Cuba, where he lived for several years in a Havana apartment with his younger Cuban boyfriend, and served as liaison to foreigners looking to hook up with male Cuban prostitutes.
    It was Zirwas' boyfriend who found his body on the morning of May 27, 2001, murdered by a Cuban rent boy Zirwas had picked up and brought back the night before. The rent boy, Abel Medina Valdes, later confessed to killing the priest by shooting animal tranquilizer into the base of his neck, causing cardiac paralysis. Valdes also confessed to having murdered two other foreigners.
    Zirwas' case is even more bizarre when it's revealed he was part of a pederast ring in Pittsburgh involving four priests who used whips and chains on teen altar boys, who were plied with drugs and alcohol and passed around for sex.
    George, one of Zirwas' victims, testified before the grand jury that when he was 15, Zirwas took him to a parish rectory where three other priests were present:The priests began a conversation about religious statues and asked George to get up on a bed. As the priests watched, they asked George to remove his shirt. They then drew an analogy to the image of Christ on the cross, and told George to remove his pants so that his pose would be more consistent with the image of Christ in a loincloth. At that point, the priests began taking Polaroid pictures of George. As the picture taking continued, the priests directed George to take off his underwear. George was nervous and complied.
    George recalled that either Zula or Pucci operated the camera. He stated that all of the men giggled and stated that the pictures would be used as a reference for new religious statues for the parishes. George testified that this occurred before he turned 18 years old and that his genitals were exposed in the photographs. George stated that his photographs were added to a collection of similar photographs depicting other teenage boys.The teen boys specially chosen for grooming by this group of priests were given gifts of gold chains with a cross. The necklace served as a sign indicating which boys had been picked for sexual abuse."They were a signal to other predators that the children had been desensitized to sexual abuse and were optimal targets for further victimization," the grand jury noted. Wuerl never told police or the prosecutor in the late 1980s any of the information he had learned about the priest pederast ring, Washington District Attorney John Pettit complaining at the time that Wuerl was uncooperative.-end []

    1. Hi Julie. Wuerl did not do everything perfectly, He made mistakes.

      But do you know, or even care, about his proven track record against abusers and how he fought for victims?

      Wuerl was one of the most pro active bishops in acting on sex abuse cases back in the late 1980’s and into the 90’s, a time when all most Bishops did was cover up and move priests around.

      Here is an article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

      From the article:

      “When sex abuse cases did arise in the Diocese of Pittsburgh — the first just a few months after he became bishop — Cardinal Wuerl met face-to-face with victims, led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to create guidelines for accountability and prevention of future abuse, launched a Diocesan Review Board to address accusations, and risked his future in church leadership by fighting an order from the Vatican’s highest court to reinstate the Rev. Anthony Cipolla after he was accused of molestation. Earlier this summer Cardinal Wuerl — he was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010 — proposed that the conference instate a panel to investigate rumors of sexual misconduct by its own members.”

      One of the victims helped by Wuerl says he just does not know what to believe because Wuerl actually put his job on the line in fighting the Vatican against reinstatement of an abusive priest.

      Julie, you do not answer anything I wrote in my post. Is this another instance where you did not read it? Wuerl never covered for McCarrick in any way. When he was told about McCarrick’s abuses, he immediately reported it to the Vatican. It was the Vatican who failed to act.

      Julie, for your own good, don’t limit yourself to reading websites that give only one point of view - a slanted distorted view leaving out anything that might contradict their agenda.

  3. Cardinal Wuerl didn't lie UNDER OATH, did he?

    1. Absolutely not. These are all statements he made to the media, I don’t believe he was deposed for the PA Report. That was put togther from Church documents and other sources.


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