Catholics at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Northwest Washington met in a town hall on Sunday afternoon and deliberated on how the Catholic Church can move past the child abuse scandal.
The two-hour-long meeting of about 300 parishioners took place inside a school gymnasium.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, has been in the news following the release of a grand jury report investigating child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. It has revealed allegations of sexual abuse by more than 300 priests across the state over a period of seven decades. The report had also mentioned Cardinal Wuerl more than 200 times for allegedly covering up for predator priests.
“He (Wuerl) may be my boss but please resign. Please step aside. This will be the first step in the healing process. We are all hurting. The Catholic church is much larger than one bishop,” said Father Percival D’Silva of Blessed Sacrament who has been an ordained priest for more than half a century.
Wuerl had recently said in his signed letter to the local priests that he would travel to Rome to meet with Pope Francis to discuss his possible resignation. He was criticized in recent weeks over the way he handled the sexual abuse allegations against priests in Pittsburgh diocese. The archbishop had earlier written to priests and defended himself as the 900-page child sex abuse report had questioned his actions as a former longtime bishop of Pittsburgh.
D’Silva said the change needs to start at the top of the Washington Archdiocese, adding that he understands his parishioners’ frustrations since the scandal broke out. “They are angry and so am I,” he said. “I’m mad.”
To meet the need for healing of abuse survivors and the whole Church of Washington, we will begin a “season of healing” with a Mass tomorrow and I will be meeting with Pope Francis about the resignation I presented nearly three years ago. https://t.co/Pf1d91hPvm
— Cardinal Wuerl (@Cardinal_Wuerl) September 13, 2018