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Parishioner Yells 'Shame On You' As Cardinal Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal in Church

Parishioner Yells 'Shame On You' As Cardinal Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal in Church
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Sunday, 02 September 2018 05:03 PM

A parishioner yelled “Shame on you” at Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl as he talked about the Catholic Church's clergy sexual abuse scandal on Sunday, CNN reported.

Another parishioner turned her back on Wuerl in protest.

The cardinal, who faces accusations that he mishandled clergy sexual misconduct while he was a bishop in Pittsburgh, asked the approximately 200 people in the congregation at Washington's Annunciation Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., to forgive his "errors in judgment" and "inadequacies" in a short speech he gave after the Mass.

He also urged that people pray for and remain loyal to Pope Francis, as "increasingly it is clear that he is the object of considerable animosity."

As Wuerl mentioned the Pope, parishioner Brian Garfield stood and yelled "Shame on you!" and walked out.

Wuerl noted the interruption as he continued speaking, saying "Yes, my brothers and sisters, shame. I wish I could re-do everything over these 30 years as a bishop and each time get it always right. That's not the case. I do think together, asking for God's mercy, pleading for God's grace, recognizing that we can move into light, I simply ask you to keep me, keep all of those that have been abused, all of those who have suffered, all of the church in your prayers."

Garfield told CNN after the Mass that he was upset about Wuerl's response to a grand jury report from Pennsylvania, which said that at least 300 Catholic priests had abused more than 1,000 children since 1947 in six dioceses, including Pittsburgh.

"I don't think [Wuerl] is a monster but I wish he would talk less about defending himself and more about his failings,” Garfield said. “It's a little galling to be lectured on transparency by people who are lying to us. I wish he would talk to us as a pastor and not a politician."

In addition, as Wuerl addressed the congregation, another parishioner, Mary Challinor, stood in the choir loft with her back to him and her arms crossed.

"I think he should resign," Challinor told CNN. "I think he should understand that just because you didn't mean to do something doesn't mean that there weren't terrible consequences for lots of people."

However, most of the congregation clapped for Wuerl when he ended his address, and many shook his hand and offered brief sentiments of support as they filed out of church.

Wuerl asked for unspecified “errors in judgment” in a letter he sent to priests on Thursday, according to the Catholic Standard.

“I hope you will sense something of my anguish for those who have suffered and my sorrow for any of my failures to be there for both the abused and all who now feel a sense of alienation,” he wrote. “In my heart, I now ask myself what is the way I can best serve this Church that I, too, much love.”

Wuerl has been under increasing pressure to resign, including calls from prominent Catholics who say that healing in the church requires new leadership, according to CNN. Archdiocesan officials say, however, that Wuerl does not have plans to resign.

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A parishioner yelled "Shame on you" at Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl as he talked about the Catholic Church's clergy sexual abuse scandal on Sunday, CNN reported.
donald wuerl, washington, church, sexual abuse, archbishop, pittsburgh
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2018-03-02
Sunday, 02 September 2018 05:03 PM
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