Donald William Wuerl
|Cardinal Archbishop of Washington
Chancellor of the Catholic University of America
Wuerl (right) celebrating Mass
|Appointed||May 16, 2006|
|Installed||June 22, 2006|
|Predecessor||Theodore Edgar McCarrick|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli|
|Ordination||December 17, 1966
by Francis Frederick Reh
|Consecration||January 6, 1986
by John Paul II
|Created Cardinal||November 20, 2010
by Benedict XVI
November 12, 1940 |
|Coat of arms|
Donald William Wuerl
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Donald William Wuerl (born November 12, 1940) is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the sixth and current Archbishop of Washington, serving since 2006. He previously served as Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle (1986–87) and Bishop of Pittsburgh (1988–2006). He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Episcopal career
- 3 Public positions on moral and political issues
- 4 Criticism regarding the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- 8 Episcopal succession
Early life and education
Donald Wuerl was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the second of four children of Francis and Mary Anna (née Schiffauer) Wuerl. He has two brothers, Wayne and Dennis, and a sister, Carol. His father worked nights weighing freight cars for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and served in the Navy during World War II. His mother died in 1944, and his father married Kathryn Cavanaugh in 1946.
Wuerl received his early education at the parochial school of St. Mary of the Mount Church in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1958. He then attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he was a Basselin Scholar at Theological College. He there earned a Bachelor's degree (1962) and Master's degree (1963) in philosophy.
He continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He earned a master's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1967. After ordination, he Wuerle was sent to Rome for further theological study. He is an alumnus of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum where he obtained a doctorate in theology in 1974.
He was ordained a priest on December 17, 1966. His first assignment was as assistant pastor at St. Rosalia parish in Pittsburgh's Greenfield neighborhood and as secretary to then-Pittsburgh bishop John Wright, who was elevated to cardinal in 1969; Wuerl was his full-time secretary in Vatican City from 1969 until Wright's death in 1979.
Because Cardinal Wright had to use a wheelchair due to his severe arthritis in 1978, Wuerl, as Wright's secretary, was one of three non-cardinals permitted inside the conclave, which selected Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II.
Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle
Wuerl was appointed titular bishop of Rosemarkie and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle on December 3, 1985, which was controversial, in that he was to take over much of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen's authority by being given "complete and final decision-making power" in several key areas. He was given complete authority over liturgy, the archdiocesan tribunal, seminarians and priestly formation, laicized priests, and issues of health care and ministry to homosexuals.
Wuerl was ordained bishop on January 6, 1986, at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy by Pope John Paul II.
Bishop of Pittsburgh
In 1989, Wuerl merged Sacred Heart and St. Paul Cathedral high schools to establish Oakland Catholic High School (all female-only schools) in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, using the buildings at St. Paul Cathedral High School.
Wuerl launched and hosted a television program, The Teaching of Christ, in 1990 and wrote an adult catechism with the same name. He taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as a distinguished service professor. Wuerl has served as a chaplain since 1999 for the Order of Malta, Federal Association, U.S.A., a division of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, commonly referred to as the Knights of Malta. Wuerl has also written regular columns in Columbia, the major publication of the Knights of Columbus in the United States.
Wuerl closed 73 church buildings, which included 37 churches, and reduced 331 parishes by 117 through merging while bishop of Pittsburgh; he was managing the remaining 214 parishes when he left in June 2006. Wuerl's plan, The Parish Reorganization and Revitalization Project, is now used as a model for other dioceses seeking parish suppression. The mansion that housed Wuerl for over two decades, as well as his four predecessors, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh was sold since the new bishop, David Zubik, decided to live at St. Paul's Seminary. The Jacobethan Revival house along Fifth Avenue, at 9,842 square feet (914.4 m2) with 39 rooms, which include 11 bedrooms, six full baths, and a half-bath, had an appraised value of $1.5 million and is one of the largest homes in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. As of March 2009, the property was listed for sale at $2.5 million; it formerly enclosed an extensive collection of antiques, Oriental rugs, and art during Wuerl's residency. The property was sold to an anonymous private trust for over $2 million.
Archbishop of Washington
Wuerl was installed as Archbishop of Washington on June 22, 2006, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and received the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2006.
In April 2008, Wuerl, as Archbishop of Washington, hosted the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the District of Columbia, which included a visit to the White House, the celebration of Vespers at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Mass at the new Nationals Park, and an address at The Catholic University of America.
Wuerl has been chairman of the board of directors at the National Catholic Educational Association since December 12, 2005. He is also chancellor at the Catholic University of America. In September 2010, Wuerl was appointed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith delegate in the United States to facilitate the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009 to provide for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner. He also heads the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee created for such implementation. Other members of the ad hoc committee are Bishop Kevin William Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, and Bishop Robert Joseph McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts. The committee will be assisted by Father Scott Hurd.
Commitment to priestly formation
From 1994 until 2003, as Bishop of Pittsburgh, Wuerl served as a member of the board of governors of the Pontifical North American College in Rome (Chairman, 1998–1999), representing the Pennsylvania-New Jersey Region (Region III) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In 2008, as Archbishop of Washington he was again elected to the college's board of governors, this time representing the Washington DC-Delaware-Maryland-Virginia-West Virginia region of the conference (Region IV).
Elevation to College of Cardinals
On November 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated Wuerl to the College of Cardinals in a public consistory held at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli, (Saint Peter in Chains), in Rome. In December 2010, Wuerl was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Clergy and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Public positions on moral and political issues
Wuerl has been a strong advocate within the Catholic hierarchy for confronting sexual abuse more directly. In September 1988 when he was serving as Bishop of Pittsburgh, he accepted a dinner invitation from a family suing the diocese for sexual abuse by a priest. Although the diocese's lawyers had discouraged Wuerl from attending the dinner, Wuerl became convinced that sexual abuse was a problem in his diocese. Wuerl settled the lawsuit with the family, and the priest involved was laicized and sent to prison. Wuerl told his staff that in cases of alleged sexual abuse, the first concern should be for the victim, the second concern should be for the victim's family, and only third should clergy consider the reputation of the Church.
In the years that followed, Wuerl investigated every priest in his diocese accused of sexual misconduct, and removed several. On one occasion, Wuerl successfully fought to laicize a priest who the Vatican initially had protected.
In 2010, Wuerl argued that the Church has made progress in confronting abusers. He told Fox News Sunday that "we have succeeded in guaranteeing that if a priest is accused, and there is a credible allegation, he is simply removed from the ministry. That is reported to the authorities, and we begin to try to heal whatever was damaged in that abuse." 
Religion and politics
In cases where Church doctrine clashes with government policies, Wuerl has a reputation as a theological conservative, but not an authoritarian. Wuerl supports serving pro-choice Catholic politicians communion in most cases, once saying, "Our primary job is to teach and try to convince people. The tradition in our country has not been in the direction of refusing Communion, and I think it's served us well."
In 2009, the D.C. City Council proposed and ultimately passed a same-sex marriage bill. In November 2009, Wuerl signed an ecumenical statement, known as the Manhattan Declaration, calling on evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion, same-sex marriage and other matters that go against their religious consciences. The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman and that the extension of the civil definition of marriage to same-sex couples undermines the common good of society as a whole. In the debate on the D.C. same-sex marriage bill, the Archdiocese of Washington advocated for religious liberty provisions that would protect the Church's ability to provide social services (i.e. adoption) in accordance with Catholic teaching on marriage. After the Washington Post characterized the archdiocese as giving an "ultimatum" to the city, Wuerl clarified the Church's position in a letter to the Post, stating there was "no threat or ultimatum to end services, just a simple recognition that the new requirements by the city for religious organizations to recognize same-sex marriages in their policies could restrict our ability to provide the same level of services as we do now." In December 2009, on the day of the bill's passage, same-sex marriage advocates still claimed that Wuerl had "refused to alter his official position" to reduce social services in the archdiocese. On the same day the archdiocese, though expressing its view that the bill did not adequately protect religious liberty, nonetheless affirmed its commitment to serving the needs of the poor and its hope for "working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church." However, reflecting the requirements of the newly enacted law upon adoption services in the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington ended its foster care and public adoption program because it would not license same-sex couples for the program.
Criticism regarding the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite
Some traditionalist Catholics criticized a letter that Wuerl issued in response to Summorum Pontificum. The letter stated that "his permission must be received prior to making any permanent commitments by a parish for the public celebration, on a regular basis, of the 1962 form of the Roman liturgy as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite." Wuerl argued in his letter that this restriction is in accord with Article 5 of Summorum Pontificum, which states that "public or regularly scheduled Masses be offered under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church."
The full text of Article 5, Section 1 of Summorum Pontificum is as follows. It contains both the admonition to pastors to establish an extraordinary form when there is a stable group of faithful, and the provision that the pastor act under the guidance of his bishop in the manner Wuerl attempts to establish in the letter mentioned above:
- Art. 5. § 1 : In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
In part to further clarify the interaction of Can. 392 and Article 5 of Summorum Pontificum, the Holy See issued "Universae Ecclesiae" on April 30, 2011. The relevant paragraphs of that document say:
- 13. Diocesan Bishops, according to Canon Law, are to monitor liturgical matters in order to guarantee the common good and to ensure that everything is proceeding in peace and serenity in their Dioceses, always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. In cases of controversy or well-founded doubt about the celebration in the forma extraordinaria, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will adjudicate.
- 14. It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.''
A footnote (#6) in paragraph 13 seeks to clarify what "the mens of the Holy Father" refers to in this case. It directs the reader to the letter to bishops which accompanies Summorum Pontificum. The part of that letter which is germane to Can. 392 is the following:
- In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22: “Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum”).
- Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.''
- The Forty Martyrs: New Saints of England and Wales, (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1971)
- Fathers of the Church, (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1975)
- The Catholic Priesthood Today, (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1976)
- The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1976)
- A Visit to the Vatican: For Young People, (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1981)
- The Gift of Faith: A Question and Answer Version of The Teaching of Christ, (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2001)
- The Catholic Way: Faith for Living Today, (New York: Doubleday, 2001)
- The Sacraments: A Continuing Encounter with Christ, (Our Sunday Visitor, 2010)
- The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition, (New York: Doubleday, 2011)
- The Gift of Blessed John Paul II, (Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2011)
- Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith, (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2011)
Pastoral letters as Archbishop of Washington
- "Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision", August 23, 2010
- "God's Mercy and Loving Presence", January 3, 2010
- "Belonging to God's Family", January 25, 2009
- "Catholic Education: Looking to the Future with Confidence", September 14, 2008
- "Reflections on God's Mercy And Our Forgiveness", January 1, 2008
- "God's Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance", January 8, 2007
- Miranda, Salvador. "WUERL, Donald William (1940– )". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.
- Rodgers-Melnick, Ann (May 14, 1994). "Francis J. Wuerl, Whose 4 Children Included A Bishop". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- "Washington, D.C., Archbishop-Designate Donald Wuerl". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 17, 2006.
- "News & Events". The Catholic University of America.
- Duin, Julia (June 12, 2006). "Wuerl a 'teaching bishop' – McCarrick's successor prepares to lead Diocese of Washington". The Washington Times.
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh – History of Bishops Webpage – Retrieved on October 18, 2008
- Almade, Frank D. (September 29, 2008). "1978: With John Paul II, a new era began for the church". Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper. Pittsburgh Catholic Publishing Associates. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
- http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2003-0206-111237/inhoud.htm Conflict in the Catholic Hierarchy: a study of coping strategies in the Hunthausen affair, with preferential attention to discursive strategies – Schilling, Timothy Peter – From 2003 – Retrieved on October 22, 2008
- "History" section – Oakland Catholic High School website
- http://www.orderofmalta-federal.org/chaplains Order Of Malta Federal Association, USA official website – The Chaplains of the Order of Malta, Federal Association webpage – Retrieved on November 10, 2008
- Knights of Columbus. http://www.kofc.org/un/eb/en/publications/columbia/archive/bishop_wuerl.html
- http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/multimedia/s_518443.html Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Newspaper Article – Bishop Zubik will face many obstacles – From July 22, 2007 – Retrieved on October 23, 2008
- http://www.diopitt.org/news_051606.php Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh official website news release – Bishop Wuerl Appointed Archbishop Of Washington – May 16, 2006 – Retrieved on October 23, 2008
- Smith, Craig (November 8, 2008), "Diocese to sell roomy Shadyside mansion", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Tribune-Review Publishing Company), retrieved November 10, 2008
- Pitz, Marylynne (March 14, 2009), "Bishops' mansion was home for precious antiques, paintings", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PG Publishing Co., Inc.), retrieved March 18, 2009
- LaRussa, Tony (September 3, 2009), "Shadyside mansion sold by Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese", Tribune-Review (Trib Total Media), retrieved November 18, 2010
- National Catholic Educational Association – Press Release Webpage – From January 4, 2006 – Retrieved on May 18, 2009
- National Catholic Educational Association – Board of Directors Webpage Retrieved on October 17, 2008
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Press Release
- NOMINA DI MEMBRI DEL PONTIFICIO CONSIGLIO DELLA CULTURA
- Wuerl's tough record on sex abuse spurs speculation of move to Boston, Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 15, 2003
- Archbishop of Washington Talks Sexual Abuse, Don't Ask Don't Tell
- Pope Names Pittsburgh Bishop to Washington, D.C., Post, New York Times, May 17, 2006
- Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Website – Defense of Marriage
- Archdiocese of Washington website – Same Sex Marriage
- Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum
- D.C.'s same-sex marriage bill: Finding the right balance
- Solmonese, J. : Unbelievable (mass email), Washington, December 15, 2009.
- Archdiocese of Washington Website – News Release
- Catholic Standard – Online Edition
- Letter to priests (emphasis added)
- Glenn, Francis A. (1993), Shepherds of the Faith 1843–1993: A Brief History of the Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh: Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, ISBN none
- Catholic Hierarchy website
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh History of Bishops webpage
- Salt+Light TV Interview: Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Witness
- Criticism of Archbishop Donald Wuerl
- Schools Controversy in Archdiocese of Washington
|Ordination history of Donald Wuerl|
|Principal consecrator||John Paul II|
|Date of consecration||January 6, 1986|
|Bishops consecrated by Donald Wuerl as principal consecrator|
|William J. Winter||February 13, 1989|
|Thomas Joseph Tobin||December 27, 1992|
|David Zubik||April 6, 1997|
|Paul J. Bradley||February 2, 2005|
|Herbert Bevard||September 3, 2008|
|Barry Christopher Knestout||December 29, 2008|
|Catholic Church titles|
Marcel André J. Gervais
|Titular Bishop of Rossmarkaeum
William G. Curlin
|Bishop of Pittsburgh
|Archbishop of Washington
|Cardinal-Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donald Wuerl.|