Washington DC

Wuerl, Survivor of Sexual Abuse by a Priest Speak at ‘Season of Healing' Mass

Archbishop confirms he'll ask Pope Francis to accept resignation

What to Know

  • A grand jury report said Cardinal Donald Wuerl allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated.
  • Wuerl started a Season of Healing to bring attention to the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
  • Wuerl plans to visit Pope Francis and ask the pope to accept his resignation.

Embattled Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl and a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest spoke at an emotional Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington Friday.

The Mass marked the beginning of Wuerl’s Season of Healing, meant to bring attention to the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Michael Nugent shared his story of being sexually abused by a priest when he was a teen in Chicago.

“I went to the cardinal; I told him what I had to say; he said it’s perfect,” Nugent said.

Nugent said he was a 13-year-old altar boy when a priest sexually abused him. That priest is now deceased.

“He was a one-man crime wave,” Nugent said.

During the Mass Wuerl asked for prayers and healing for those assaulted by the sin of abuse. He lit a candle of healing with Nugent, who received a standing ovation.

“I think it was concise and powerful to hear,” one parishioner said.

Wuerl has denied allegations in a grand jury report that he moved or reinstated priests accused of abuse when he was bishop in Pittsburgh. This week he said he would ask the pope to accept his resignation.

While Nugent supports Wuerl, parishioner Rachelle Nigro told News4 she does not.

“I hope the pope accepts his resignation,” she said.

“The church will get healed once they start taking care of their survivors,” Nugent told News4.

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