Is Donald Wuerl really in the running for Pope? An American who sends posses after child molesters, putting the victims rights first? As popes go, that sounds good. But Barbara Dorris, of S.N.A.P. (Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests) says he's "no better than other church officials," and refers to him as the "Teflon bishop," since "little about his poor record on sex crimes sticks to him." He let Fr. Walter Salisbury, convicted twice of abusing children, move to Maine and continue working there. Yeah, she says, he's gone after a few bad guys but in the end prefers the cover-up and silence.
So who is Donald Wuerl? I'll let him speak for himself. He had occasion to do so right after Benedict, in a Christmas speech, defamed gay marriage as a threat to Western civilization. A petition designating the Catholic Church as a "hate group" then went up on the White House's online system that allows citizens to address the administration directly on any cause.
On January 25, 2013 Donald Wuerl leaped to Benedict's defense in The Washington Post:
church has long been criticized as “too dogmatic.” Demands are
constantly made that it change its 2,000-year-old teachings on marriage,
family, sexuality, morality and other matters related to the truth
about human beings. But even if others do not agree, the church
understands that what it proclaims is revealed truth — the Word of God.
Does Wuerl really believe that he has a monopoly on the Word Of God? I'm forcibly reminded of the story of a schizophrenic complaining to his psychiatrist that another patient was claiming to be Jesus Christ. The doctor asked why that was a problem. Outraged, the patient yelled: "But I'm Jesus Christ!" As the Austin Lounge Lizards remarked: "Jesus loves me, but he can't stand you." Well, let's let Wuerl continue:
The church’s teachings are timeless. They cannot be changed, even though
adherence may be upsetting to some. That the church is built on a rock
with fixed beliefs is a positive feature, both because it can withstand
the shifting winds of public opinion and because of the cherished
content of our faith itself, which fosters love among Catholics and
If I were his English teacher and this were a Freshman composition, I'd ask why a "timeless" teaching "cannot be changed." I'd point out that many "timeless" features of the church have already radically altered themselves beyond recognition. Take the calling of the priesthood. Who besides mentally ill persons--many of them child abusers--is entering religious orders today? As for the "rock" of the church, its strength lies not in its inflexibility but in its power to protect.
Is it worth quoting the rest? He says the "fundamental vocation" of the church is to "provide the witness of love and truth to the world" and to "respect the
fundamental, inherent dignity of every person, each made in the image
of God, and to work to establish a just society." That's a lot of fundamental.
So let's define our terms, Cardinal Wuerl. Give gays love and truth as you marry them and provide them with Holy Communion. "Love" is acceptance--of ideas and behaviors that you find uncongenial--and "truth"--well, I like Oscar Wilde's definition of it as "one's last mood." But I hope you don't "love" child abusers, Cardinal Wuerl.
Wuerl whirls on with statistics about all the money his diocese spends on the poor. Maybe so, and congratulations. When you sell those priceless badly-tailored silk robes you wear and give the proceeds to the poor, I'll be impressed.