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WASHINGTON, March 4, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Financial records from the Archdiocese of Washington have revealed that disgraced the former Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, received over $2 million last year for “continuing ministry activities” in his retirement.
The Pillar first reported how Wuerl had received $2,012,639 for what was described as “continuing ministry activities” during the fiscal year 2020. The figure had risen from the previous year, which saw $1,488,059 channelled to the “Archbishop Emeritus.”
Wuerl’s money was allotted to him by the “Central Pastoral Administration,” drawing from the net assets which were unencumbered with any donor restrictions.
The amount was more than double that given to the formation of priests in the same year, which totaled $1,000,481. In 2019 Wuerl’s allowance had similarly outdone the priestly formation fund.
Notably, “Archdiocesan charitable giving” dropped significantly from $651,136 in 2019 to $401,136 in 2020.
To put Wuerl’s $2 million into further contrast with other 2020 expenditures: $3,820,594 was spent on “priests’ retirement benefits and medical care”; $2,364,396 was given in “compensation of clergy and religious”; $3,540,140 was spent on clergy “benefits.” Data from 2019 lists over 280 diocesan priests, 460 religious priests, and 143 extern priests present in the archdiocese, without counting the permanent deacons, or religious brothers and sisters.
In any case, the large amount does not appear to be out of the norm for Wuerl’s lifestyle. In 2015, George Neumayr of The American Spectator discovered that Wuerl was living in a penthouse in Embassy Row, in Our Lady Queen of the Americas parish. The complex itself was valued at nearly $43 million in 2016. Neumayr commented that “in these supposed days of modesty under Francis, he [Wuerl] remains the prince of Embassy Row.”
Neumayr noted how the building was shared with “a nest of Marxists, socialists, and liberals,” observing the similarities between Wuerl and his neighbors: “Like a pampered member of the Red nomenklatura, Wuerl awaits that glorious day when all classes are abolished except his own, the elite of the global Left into whose service he has devoted his decadent, heterodox, and baldly hypocritical episcopacy.”
Wuerl, now 80 years old, was made cardinal in 2010 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He had been made archbishop of Washington in 2006, a post he held until October 2018, succeeding ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Prior to that, he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 until 2006.
Why such a large sum of money?
With the revelation of the archdiocesan finances, questions are being raised about why Wuerl is receiving such a large sum of money every year, with some suggesting that he knows information which requires a substantial pay-out. The question is not without precedent.
When Wuerl disappeared for a time from the public eye in 2018, reports suggested that he had gone into hiding for fear of investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice, and that Pope Francis was worried lest Wuerl would reveal secrets if he were caught.
Wuerl’s eventual resignation from Washington in 2018 was accompanied by a number of allegations that he had mishandled and covered up instances of criminal sexual abuse by priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh. In an extensive and sweeping grand jury report on criminal sexual abuse released in August 2018, Wuerl was mentioned some 200 times.
The report found 301 Pennsylvania priests were found to have abused more than 1,000 children, and Wuerl was accused of knowing about predatory priests and moving them to different dioceses. While he corresponded with the Vatican concerning the liability these priests created for the Church, Wuerl also kept their actions concealed from parishioners.
The report also revealed tactics which had been previously used in diocesan files, in order to conceal the truth about abuser clerics, encouraging secretive and underhand tactics, and advising that “even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults.”
Also in the summer of 2018, former papal nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused Wuerl of lying by saying he had no knowledge of ex-cardinal McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians. Viganò commented that in the U.S., Wuerl would have been “the first to have been informed” of Benedict XVI’s censure of McCarrick, and the nuncio added that he himself spoke with Wuerl about the issue, only to find that “it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it.”
Upon Wuerl’s subsequent denial of knowing about McCarrick’s history of abuse, Vigano stated that the cardinal “lies shamelessly,” adding that Wuerl disobeyed a Papal order, and allowed McCarrick to “reside at a seminary in Washington D.C. In doing so, he put other seminarians at risk.”
When the long awaited McCarrick report emerged last autumn, copious evidence was presented revealing that Wuerl was indeed well aware of McCarrick’s history and the scandal surrounding the ex-prelate.
Archdiocese of Washington’s response
LifeSiteNews contacted the Archdiocese of Washington for a comment about the revelation of Wuerl’s finances, and was pointed to a newly released statement, which attempted to allay any concerns.
“The funds in our Continuing Ministry Activities account are donations made by persons who want to cover Cardinal Wuerl’s expenses and ministerial needs, including living expenses, prior travel for business in Rome, as well as for charitable requests asked of the archbishop emeritus,” the statement read.
Continuing, the archdiocese stated that the funds “accumulated over time,” and were given by donors who “did not want to have the Archdiocese burdened with these expenses.” The remaining proceeds would be “used to support the general purposes of the Archdiocese.”
For the last fifty years, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been taking up an annual collection to fund community organizing efforts across the country under the auspices of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
And for almost as long, faithful Catholics have proved that much of these funds are going to organizations that promote abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and Marxist revolution.
Unfortunately, the CCHD has not improved and, to this day, continues to promote actions and ideas contrary to Catholic faith and morals.
That's why LifeSite and the Lepanto Institute have joined forces in this petition calling on U.S. bishops to permanently SHUT DOWN the Campaign for Human Development.
The response from the CCHD regarding reports that its grant money is going to agencies that attack Catholic moral and social teaching is nearly always the same: deny any wrongdoing and point to its thorough vetting process.
But, it’s vetting process is broken beyond repair!
Since 2013, an organization called the Workers’ Dignity Project (WDP) has been receiving large grants from the CCHD totaling a quarter of a million dollars. In 2017, WDP received $60,000 from the CCHD, and in 2019, it was $50,000.
If the CCHD’s vetting process actually worked, it wouldn’t have taken long for the CCHD to discover that WDP was a “community partner” of Planned Parenthood’s as far back as 2017, or that it sponsored an LGBT pride rally that same year.
In 2020, during the period of its most recent grant from the CCHD, WDP promoted and conducted a series of internet-based interviews promoting Planned Parenthood and abortion.
Please SIGN this petition, then WATCH the Lepanto Institute’s most recent investigation proving this by clicking on the link in the 'For More Information' section, below.
But it’s not just the vetting process that’s broken...the CCHD consistently ignores its own grant guidelines.
Just recently, the Lepanto Institute proved that three other organizations, receiving large grants from the CCHD, are in direct violation of the CCHD’s grant rules.
Receiving its first-ever grant of $45,000 from the CCHD in 2019, Stand Up Nashville is in direct violation of the CCHD requirement that the “organization, and its affiliates, partners and coalition members must not endorse or advocate policies and issues that are contrary to Catholic Social Teaching.”
Two member organizations of Stand Up Nashville have been promoting abortion and homosexuality as far back as 2015, and its executive director and many board members have actively done the same.
Another CCHD regulation specifically and expressly prohibits grantees from being members of coalitions which directly attack Catholic moral or social teachings. The regulation says this:
“CCHD CANNOT FUND groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have, as part of their organizational purpose or their coalition agenda or actions, anything that contradicts fundamental Catholic moral or social teaching” (emphasis original)
And yet, despite this, the CCHD is funding NOAH and MICAH, which are members of the pro-abortion Power Together Tennessee. The stated values and principles, which NOAH and MICAH would have known prior to joining, include this:
"We believe in reproductive freedom ... This means open access to safe, legal and affordable, abortion and birth control for all people ... we can only have reproductive justice when reproductive health care is accessible to all."
These are only the most recent examples of the CCHD’s fifty years of either gross incompetence or willful complicity in the funding of grave moral evils. Whichever the case, what’s clear is that this problem is not going to end as long as the CCHD continues to exist.
DID YOU KNOW 75% of the money collected goes to fund grantees outside your diocese, including the terrible organizations we've profiled? So even if your own bishop does a good job vetting local grants, your money is still flowing to pro-abortion marxist organizations.
For this reason, we are asking individual bishops to completely withdraw from the CCHD, refusing to send in any money for the national collection, and work towards the CCHD being shut down altogether.
Please SIGN and SHARE this important petition today. Thank you!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
WATCH Lepanto Institute's new video, 'Catholic Bishops Give $50k to Abortion Advocates' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24212WlPu08&feature=youtu.be
'US bishops’ charity arm caught funding pro-abortion Planned Parenthood partner' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-bishops-charity-arm-caught-funding-pro-abortion-planned-parenthood-partner
'US bishops’ charity arm caught funding promoters of abortion, LGBT activism' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-bishops-charity-arm-caught-funding-promoters-of-abortion-lgbt-activism
However, this explanation leaves much unanswered. It presents the image of a one-time sum given to Wuerl, made from many donations given over time, when in reality Wuerl appears to regularly receive millions, having received nearly $1.5 million for the 2019 fiscal year, and then $2 million in the next.
An increase of over $500,000 in money set aside for Wuerl in 2020, would also seem to indicate that funds were not finding their way back to the “general purposes of the Archdiocese.”
Washington — the seat of the favored clerics
Such revelations, still unexplained, about such large sums of money going to a retired cardinal supposedly living a quiet life, are indicative of the pattern of favorable behavior, which is consistently shown towards the archbishops of Washington, hinting at the extreme power they wield and enjoy.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Wuerl’s successor, was appointed to the archdiocese, raised to the cardinalate, and then retained in the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life by Pope Francis. Such constant benevolence towards Gregory from Francis came despite Gregory’s history of a pro-LGBT stance, and a long history of opposing traditional Catholic moral teaching.
Wuerl himself has received signal favor from Francis. Despite handing his resignation in to the Pope in 2015, Francis did not accept it until 2018. When revelations were emerging about Wuerl’s time in Pittsburgh, Francis sent a warm letter, saying Wuerl had “the heart of a shepherd.”
Referring to Wuerl’s time in Pittsburgh, Francis wrote: “You have sufficient elements to ‘justify’ your actions and distinguish what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this I am proud and thank you.”