WASHINGTON - An effort to have Cardinal Donald Wuerl removed as archbishop of Washington by Pope Francis is going viral online as tens of thousands of people have put their names to an online petition.
This comes after a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report looking into child sex assault by priests was released last week, where Wuerl was Pittsburgh’s bishop from 1988 to 2006.
Winnie Obike said she is Catholic, she is baptized and she is devoted to her church. That is why when she saw Cardinal Wuerl’s interview defending his record on preventing child sexual abuse, she found his answer insufficient and decided to take action.
Last week, Obike started an online petition on change.org seeking to remove the archbishop of Washington from office. It started off with just her signature, but has now surpassed 60,000 signatures, with 75,000 as the goal.
“In the church, it seems like nothing is happening,” she said. “I think that is where the emotional reaction is coming from because people are not just signing the petition, they are sharing it. I have no P.R. behind this. In fact, I don’t know why it’s taking off. I have put no money into this at all.”
Archdiocese of Washington spokesperson Ed McFadden said in a statement to FOX 5, "The Cardinal has expressed his sorrow for and regret over the Pennsylvania report. We hope that people will take the time to read the report and see the facts as they are, that he was responsive in removing priests and protecting young people."
Pope Francis issued a letter on the crisis this week, but there is still no word from the pope or the Vatican on Cardinal Wuerl’s status.
Pope Francis will travel to Ireland this weekend where he will meet with victims of child sex abuse.