None of McCarrick’s abuse allegations date from his time in Washington.
The revelations about McCarrick’s conduct prompted questions about what his successor in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, knew about the allegations and what, if anything, he did in response. Over the last months of his tenure in Washington, following CNA reports that he first heard allegations against McCarrick in 2004, Wuerl subsequently had to clarify what he knew, when he knew it, and when he, apparently, forgot it.
Wuerl’s resignation was accepted by the Vatican in October 2018. Since then, he has served as the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese. He was present Thursday at the press conference, and introduced Gregory as someone with exemplary pastoral abilities, intellectual gifts, and leadership skills.
In response to a question from the Washington Post, Gregory praised Wuerl, but also acknowledged that his predecessor had made mistakes, for which he has atoned.
“I know [Wuerl] is a gentleman, he works very hard for the Church, he acknowledges he's made mistakes,” said Gregory.
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“That's a sign of the integrity of the man."
Gregory said that if a situation ever arises where he would have to account for a mistake made by Wuerl, he would do that. The archbishop decried a culture of clericalism that resulted in what he called a “circling of the wagons” to protect members of the clergy and prevent accountability by bishops.
“I think this moment has shown the folly of that approach to episcopal governance and episcopal collegiality,” said Gregory.